This document is fucking astonishing. Breathtaking. Just when you think the music has disintegrated beyond repair, it surges back to powerful life, like a gust of wind that steals the breath from your lungs. Buckley uses his voice like a paintbrush on the canvas of the air. Like a mischievous breeze that swirls round your ankles transforming into a mighty storm surge that can knock you flat, this music is alive. Not to be cheesy, but Buckley truly is "so real". He's realer than anything else in the room and it's fantastic. Get this DVD and you might just fall in love.
2 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
Just like St. Joan
M. Fantino | San Francisco, California USA | 08/11/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Jeff Buckley fans are very lucky to have this sort of a DVD release. It took me a while to really become a Jeff Buckley fan (and now there is no turning back). I remember first borrowing an advance copy of Grace back in 1994 and being seduced by the easily loved Hallelujah (who didn't?) and also So Real, but the rest of that album proved I was unready for such a unique singer. Later on, after Sketches for My Sweetheart the Drunk came out, I became much more interested. Mystery White Boy further solidified my fascination for his way of doing things, and now, with this Live In Chicago DVD, I am completely convinced. A little late, I admit. I wonder, while writing this review, if this is the best place to start, for the new-comer. I think it is. Some might initially be turned off by his fluctuating vocals, but later, I guarantee, that will be precisely what you love about him. His compassionate yodels range from a pigeons coo, to a hyena's laugh, to a goldfish burble, to a puma's roar. And his guitar playing can trigger memories of This Mortal Coil, The Mission, and Johnny Marr (he makes two Smiths references on this DVD, one of which is a parody of a Morrissey-style song about policemen! And on Mystery White Boy he welds I Know It's Over to Hallelujah). Whatever hints of influences glisten through his songs, they are undoubtedly his, meaning: It sounds like Jeff Buckley. He and his band bleed through their instruments to produce a dizzying sonic sweep through the central nervous system. And to see this is amazing. His lyrics are the type that take you a while to realize he is lamenting a certain part of your own life (or at least that's how it feels). Lines like, "My Kingdom for a kiss upon her shoulder" are so intimate and so precise, you wonder why nobody has come up with it before. And I can't help but wonder when he sings "Father do you hear me, do you know me, do you even care?" (What Will You Say) if he is singing to his father, Tim Buckley, who he did not know. If you are like me and you enjoy hearing different interpretations to songs you already like, then you will love this film. Notable spots are the strange and hypnotic rendering of Big Star's 1975 hit Kangaroo where he ferociously barks, "You're just like Saint Joan..." with sweat dripping from his hair (on Mystery White Boy he barely whispers the same line, mind you), then after the song is pretty much over, he jams wildly unlike any way you can imaging being appropriate for such a song and does this for some time, ending up by the speakers, playing to them creating the type of feedback you'd expect at a Crazy Horse audition. Then there is the surprise Kick Out The Jams, featuring a goofy guy named Crazy Dave (or something) sharing the vocals then doing the un-Grace-ful bellyflop into the front three rows (I think that sort of stunt is always better witnessed on film than in real life, for obvious reasons). Then again, the audience deserved that sort of hurl. They spend most of the time between songs begging for Jeff to play Hallelujah, and he seems bothered by it. He eventually gives them a piece of his mind (which I will not describe) and seems to play most of the remaining set behind closed eyes, as if, for himself.The DVD is coupled with a documentary/interview that is captivating. He speaks so tenderly about music, like some do about love. And throughout are performances that are equally haunting. Not to mention the two acoustic versions. It's good, get it."
Intense, cathartic, and compelling
Christa Burch | Irvine, CA | 05/10/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Jeff Buckley was a consumate improviser, reknowned for his inspired and wayward explorations onstage - a habit which might have swamped a band comprised of lesser musicians. Buckley was blessed by the presence of Michael Tighe, Matt Johnson, and Mick Grondahl, who not only possessed the considerable gifts needed to follow him around every twist and turn, but whose intuitive and symbiotic playing helped push the music and the moment to dizzying heights. Those already "converted" Buckley fans will find this live-in-its-entirety concert film a breath-taking and jaw-dropping ride from start to finish. It will leave the "uninitiated" transfixed, and give pause for reconsideration to those who may have already assessed and dismissed Buckley's music. Recorded in Chicago during the support tour for "Grace," the film captures Buckley and Band near the apex of their creativity, and the DVD format lends the sound an incredible richness and resonance. The music is potent, immediate, and compelling. The subtle and complex interplay between the band members is impressive to witness. Watching Jeff lose himself to the music is awe-inspiring and humbling; watching Jeff crack jokes and goof around with the audience dispells the notion that he was some sort of moody, wounded angel. I was lucky enough to catch Jeff and the Boys in concert twice; while this film can't quite capture the essence of being present and participant in the feedback groove between performers and audience, it's a close second. It raises memories of what was, leaves questions about what could have been, and above all pays testament to the tremendous technical prowess and artistry these men possessed. Jeff often spoke of music as a spiritual pursuit. This film is a document of a man, his peers, and his supplicants communing with and channeling God - and it is a powerful moment."
Transcendent, glorious live performance
Strobe Lights And Blown Speakers | Louisville | 09/29/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Where to start? I'm sure most of you know the Jeff Buckley story. In short, Buckley was an amazing singer and musician who only had the opportunity to release one full-length album before his life was taken away. But fans, followers, and mourners rejoice - Live In Chicago captures him at his peak, and shines like a beacon of light into our darkened souls. Yes, that's right - this concert is magical, transcendent, and just absolutely gorgeous. Jeff Buckley had a penchant for writing amazing songs, and they are on display full-force here. It is just magical to hear (and see!) him sing these songs that I thought were inhuman and impossible to sing outside of the recording studio. The ethereal beauty of "Hallelujah" had the live crowd, as well as me, sitting in a stunned silence at the perfectness they were witnessing. But this magnificent display is somehow outshined by some of Buckley's other songs. The song "Grace" stands as a milestone in my music listening experience. Jeff's voice is just perfectly original and absolutely BEYOND COMPREHENSION. I really can't describe it, and I literally sat in awe for minutes after seeing this. Let's make this simple on you (and me, since I honestly cannot describe this up to the standards it deserves) - if you are a Jeff Buckley, fan, this is a no-braier: Buy it now. If you are a singer, and want to see and hear something amazing, definitely buy this. If you simply want to hear the most amazing thing ever, buy this. Jeff Buckley may be gone from Earth, but his music, spirit, and beauty will live on forever with this DVD."
MUST SEE !!! (this is my 1st 'caps' offense ever...)
Viktor Rodenburg | Amsterdam, The Netherlands | 12/16/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Well, where should I start... This DVD (or video i presume) has literally changed my life. I bought it a couple of months ago and haven't stopped watching...
If you're looking for pure music and passion - this is it.
I'm quite a music & movie fanatic - you name it, I saw it or heard it, but this concert beats everything hands down.It is truly the most exciting, moving, genuine thing I have ever experienced in music. It is far, far better than any live concert or studio-recording I have ever heard or seen.
You - reading this - must know 'Grace' and probably like it a lot. Well - This concert will KNOCK YOU DOWN !!! It's really too good to be true - yet it is (True).GO SEE IT - NO WAY YOU WILL BE DISAPPOINTED !!!PS: I am not drunk, not on drugs, in no way affiliated to Jeff Buckley and will not benefit from increased sales of his works.
This is simply so good I want too share it with everybody !greets, Vik"
INTENSE like no other DVD
Michael R. Lachance | Maine, USA | 12/23/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I was a big Jeff Buckley fan before Grace was released, the Live at Sine' EP CD was so great i was primed and ready when Grace hit the shelves. I turned at least several friends on to Jeff and for a while felt I was the only one who had even heard of him. When Last Goodbye hit the radio I was ecstatic. After all this i passed up at least 2 opportunities to see him live during his tours in 1995 and 1996. This DVD made me regret those decisions even more. As has been stated, THIS IS THE WAY A CONCERT DVD SHOULD BE. Live in Chicago blew me away. I thought I knew what to expect. I knew it would be a good concert. I bought the Mystery White Boy CD that was recently released, and thought THAT was an eye opener. This DVD leaves the CD WAY behind. All i can say is if you never saw Jeff in concert, you owe it to yourself to experience something like this. He was not a "star" or an "icon". Jeff Buckley was a life. So Real."