James D. DeWitt | Fairbanks, AK United States | 07/08/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I'm a big fan of Carpenter, who has developed a nice mix of fine interpretations of other artist's songs and a substantial number of her own. She is a fine live performer and her studio work is high quality. It's not like you have a lot of choices on Mary Chapin Carpenter DVD's, but this DVD has some defects that might give you pause.Let me say first that there is nothing wrong with her performance or the band. When it's MCP's music that is on screen, it's a lot of fun. But there are three things wrong: (a) it's too short, (b) it's chopped up by interviews, commentary and nattering, and (c) there are segues that make no sense.Too short: this is a moderately old concert (c. 1995) and the focus in on songs from "Come Con, Come On." There's nothing wrong with that, but a number of fine songs from earlier albums aren't touched, and, of course, thee's nothing from "Party Doll" or "Time * Sex * Love". It's not a ridiculously short playlist, but it's mighty short.Too chopped up: The DVD seems shorter than it is because it's mixed with interviews, commentary and annoying nattering. It comes across more like a TV special than a concert. Not all of the interviews and commentaries are bad; some is even insightful. But listening to it during a song is doubly annoying.Bad segues: A specific example - There's a bit with Joan Baez where they talk about songs they've done and you can just sense there's going to be a nice duet. And they talk some more, and Baez shuffles lyric sheets in her laps. And they cut to a song -- and it's just Carpenter. Huh? What? But as annoying and frustrating as these lapses may be, the DVD still does a fine job of showing MCP in concert, having fun, and making excellent music with a fine band. It just could have been better. Too short, bad mix, too bad."
Jubilee- a little missing
Richard Askenase | Boston, MA United States | 01/06/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"A great performance by a great singer-songwriter, singing terrific songs. How can it miss? Well there are some signifcant drawbacks to this disc, though the acual performance and music are terrific.First, the positives: This undated (why?) 1995 show at Wolf Trap in Washington, DC, near her home in Maryland, shows Mary Chapin Carpenter in perferct form. The band is terrific, her singing i outstanding, her stage presence commanding and entertaining. She's probably the top singer-songwriter of the 90's, her album "Come On Come On" deservedly won some Grammy's, and some of the best songs on it are here as well as "Down at the Twist and Shout." The sound is excellent but NOT 5.1. There is no separate track for the rear speakers. (I suspect, since this was filmed in 1995, that surround sound on concerts wasn't important. There probably were no mikes in the rear of the crowd.) All in all, the filmed performance (not complete) is worthy of 5 stars. But there are some negatives that can't be overlooked, and should have been corrected.The biggest draw back are the voice-overs at the beginning of each song, interview clips between songs, and voice-overs even during some songs. That's inexcusable!! In addition, the extra appearances of Shawn Colvin and Joan Baez (hardly a negative) are not part of the concert itself but extras. However, instead on placing them as bonus tracks, they are included right along, severely interrupting the flow. In fact, there is no flow, since the voice-overs/interviews appear between every song. This should have been avoided. I believe that this show was taped for PBS fund-raiser telecast, which clearly accounts for the interruptions between songs. Television loves the overlapping voice-overs/music and interview footage. And it appears that they just copied that tape for the DVD release.But couldn't they have taken a little time and re-edited the tape to remove all interruptions and put the interviews and bonus tracks at the end (or on a separate special features section?) That is what should have been done. As a result, it seriously detracts from the show.However, at the heart of the matter is a great performance by Ms. Carpenter which I do recommend. Strongly. Maybe next time, they'll get the DVDrelease right."
An engaging performance
James D. DeWitt | 11/29/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Thoughtful lyrics, singable songs, very good backing, packaged with tasteful and informative connecting conversation, makes for superb entertainment. This is in some ways better than a live event. On repeated showings the discussions get a bit tiresome, but I think it is important for them to be included. Maybe future DVD's can be offered with the option - music only - for those viewers who have memorized the interviews. Still, it gets our family vote as one of the best music concert videos."
Great whenever you need a Mary Chapin Carpenter fix
Mary G. Longorio | Eagle Mountain, UT | 06/16/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This captures Mary Chapin Carpenter at her best. In beautiful surroundings, MCC is relaxed and loose, laughing and telling stories and interacting with the audience. Watching her perform adds another layer of integrity to her music. There is a good selection of her music and the performance itself is a delight. Interspersed with the music are clips of behind the scenes preparation and interviews with other singers. I think MCC's greatest gift is her ability to connect with those who listen to her; this video makes it all the more evident."
The next best thing to being at the concert in person
James D. DeWitt | 08/29/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This video is an excellent representation of Mary Chapin Carpenter in concert. I know, because I was present at the concert where the video was filmed at in Wolf Trap National Park! Practice sessions, interviews and duets with Shania Twain and Joan Baez are interwoven with the live concert material. Songs include favorite ballads such as I am a Town and Only a Dream and more upbeat numbers such as Down at the Twist and Shout. Mary Chapin tells stories throughout the video that provides the viewer with background information on creative inspiration for some of her songs. Watching this tape is the next best thing to being there in person: I feel transported back to that evening every time I look at the video."