I would deduct a star for the lackluster quality of the video production and editing, but this disc doesn't deserve less than 5 stars.
This band has gone so far beyond its component parts, its roots and influences, that they are shining a big bright spotlight into the future. It's a future where any genre, any sound, any ethnicity, any technology become simply part of an overarching musical language that the Flecktones have mastered and speak fluently.
This snapshot of the band is a complete and satisfying experience, musically transcendant and sonically gorgeous (excellent 5.1 surround), even though is barely scratches the surface of what these musicians have done and continue to do. Nobody who appreciates this band should be without this DVD.
It's too bad there weren't enough cameras. It's too bad the director never figured out how to point a camera at Future Man. It's too bad there are so many instances where the video crew couldn't seem to figure out who was soloing. It's too bad the disc has no option to skip the documentary segments between the songs. But these things simply make the video quality average for this sort of production. Fortunately, Bela was the music producer for the project, so it sounds perfect, and all of the performances are complete.
I have a hard time imagining any music lover who wouldn't be stunned and amazed by this DVD.
This is an early Christmas gift for music lovers!! This DVD concert was as great as I'd hoped it would be! Fleck and the 'tones are joined by some fantastic musicians who joined them in recording "Outbound", the most recent BF&TF CD. This DVD leaves no doubt that they are some of the most talented and versatile musicians alive today. Most of the material in this concert is from "Outbound", but that is a good thing! Would've been nice to get a performance of "Stompin' Ground", a perennial concert favorite, but that's why I have the "Live Art" double CD. Introduce yourself and your friends to the magic that is Bela Fleck and The Flecktones. Regular music fans don't even DESERVE music and playing this good!
on March 11, 2003
I had never been exposed to Bela Fleck and the Flecktones before one of my friends sat me down and made me watch and listen to this amazing DVD. Now, I'm a die-hard fan with more than a few of their live performances under my belt. If you're a fan of jazz, bluegrass, or incredible musicianship, this DVD is for you.
Bela Fleck is one of the most effortless banjo players I have ever seen. He is able to use those skills to fuse together an amalgamut of sounds into over an hour of interesting and unbelieveable music. Victor Wooten proves time and time again that he is the worlds' greatest electric bassist and if you don't believe me, just any one of his many solos on this DVD. Jeff Coffin... is just amazing. Have you ever seen a man wail on a clarinet? I haven't, and I never thought it was possible before Jeff came along.
The guest appearances are all outstanding as well - a basoon with some snazzy electric effects, a deepthroat singer, an oboe, and a man on the steel pans... All these sounds blend together into what is most definitely the most spectacular audiovisual experience I've had the pleasure of enjoying in years. By this DVD, you will not regret it.
on February 17, 2006
I've tried to explain Bela Fleck and the Flecktones to folks for years. Sure, I can play an iPod full of tunes for them and they either dig or don't dig the music, but to prove to them that they're hearing an electric banjo that looks a bit like a Fender Stratocaster. Or that the drummer is standing up with the rest of the band tapping his fingers on something that vaguely resembles an electric guitar. Or that's really only one person playing bass...now that takes some convincing.
Now I can pop in the DVD and say, "Take a look at this!" No one will think I'm making it up anymore.
Sure, the video production could've been better in places, but there's no mistake that these amazing musicians are really playing this incredible blend of jazz, classical, Celtic music, bluegrass, newgrass, World music, and... did I say "jazz," yet?
While some reviewers here tired of the dialogue, to me it helps fill in "the rest of the story," how these guys met, how they relate to each other as musicians and friends, how they write music and improvise, and in the bonus interviews, what else they're involved in.
I've always thought of Bela Fleck as a virtuoso who keeps pushing the limits on what can be done on the banjo, but here you also get a taste of what makes him such a successful band leader. I've been a fan of the Flecktones since their first recording (we miss you, Howard Levy!), but I thought the band would be short-lived and these all-star musicians would move on. It's a tribute to the chemistry that Fleck has put together that the band continues to evolve with members coming and going, as well as an impressive array of diverse visiting artists.
This is a most enjoyable DVD for the music and for the direction this music continues to take.
on January 8, 2004
I did buy this dvd the other week because of Victor Wooten but I had never heard nothing from Bela Fleck prior to the music contained here, in this dvd. I knew Wooten and his virtuosity because he's been in Scott Henderson and Greg Howe records. I didn't know what to expect but I thought that if Wooten was in the band, it should be a band that at least I had to know. In the end I discovered a monster band. These guys are truly amazing. Bela is a top musician and composer such as Wooten. He really can make a banjo sounds modern and vibrant outside the classic bluegrass context. But apart from the technical chops Bela surely has plenty of (he displays them fully here) the compositional side of music is the best part here. It is a sort of fusion of genres, Jazz, bluegrass, pop, world music, a new sonic magma which is really something of the highest caliber. The music has a sort of sense of naturality in itself, it is really virtuosistic but does not sound virtuosistic (at least in some points). It is fantastic music. The guests are great too, Paul McEndless of Oregon fame above the rest. The only complaint I can move to the project regards the awkward idea to have so different musical identities on the stage at the same time. From a musical standpoint sometimes it seems almost a circus. I was expecting to see the gun woman at some point!! =) A little bit of coherence lacks in my opinion. But it is not a serious complaint. In the end the music here speaks for itself and it is great music. This dvd is so convincing that soon I will buy Flecktones 's cds too.
on February 25, 2002
I believe this is the video that had been shown on Direct TV out here on the East Coast. There is such deep perspective in this music. Before you know it, it will hit you when you least expect it, as when I walked into a Borders Books, and heard tracks of Bela and the Flecktones playing in the store....a Track from Outland, just incredible. I didn't know who this band was, then had the chance to see them live on Direct TV, and I was stunned......Just when I thought nothing really new and non-commercial was being produced out there, I don't know how I could have missed Bela....There is a good documentary on this DVD of the Band, gives you some good info on the innerworkings of how the band develops ideas into completed music. I really appreciate the way they have involved guest musicians onstage and on recording. An Excellent DVD....Pure Music, Pure feeling...
on September 30, 2005
What a pleasure it was to view this DVD - it is beautifully produced, if a bit unimaginative.
The best part, of course, is the music. For some reason Fleck became fascinated with "picking" and took it to a whole new level.
There are some here in East Tennessee who disparage Fleck for having "commercialized" or "adulterated" bluegrass. Well, some of them don't like running water, either.
Fleck's contribution to music (and culture as a whole) will last long beyond his lifetime.
on July 10, 2004
This DVD is fantastic - I received it as a gift (because it was on my Amazon wishlist!) and watched almost as soon as the disk came out of the shipping box. I was blown away, and I've been a Flecktones fan for a few years. I was able to see them live only once where I found myself grinning the entire time in sheer joy at the beauty and effortless ease of the way these guys produce such incredible sound. As I watched this DVD for the first time, on a regular old TV set, from a cheap DVD player, I was just ... groovin'! Grinning and rocking and just having a ball.
That night, when he got off work from a late shift, I convinced my son to watch it with me - this time on his surround sound system. So, at 1 am, there we were, and YES!! My son is a new fan - he was just as blown away by the sheer virtuousity of each and every member of the 'Tones, by the effortless blending of the many styls and sounds.
Another reviewer mentioned the quality of the video production, and yeah, I guess that's true, but honestly, I didn't notice it. I was too entranced by what I was hearing, and seeing to care. At a live performance, there is an electricity between the members of the group that zings through the auditorium. Somehow, that's present in this DVD, when you watch Bela and Victor catch one another's eyes and just buzz off into a place where fantastic musical things happen. You go along!
I agree about Futureman, too - he was definitely not given the kind of video coverage he deserves! When I saw them live, I could barely take my eyes off of him. He's doing so many things at one time, loving every minute of it, and underpinning the solid sounds coming from the rest of the group with that strange looking drumitar thing he's created, not to mention the rest of the percussion instruments he's surrounded with. (Which is why the cameramen couldn't get good angles on him, I'm sure.)
Finally, the thing that is so amazing about Bela is how he collects musical styles and genre to combine and complement one another. Throat singing? Who'd a thunk to bring that into this kind of "western" cutting edge sound besides Bela? Fantastic. And the thing that electrifies audiences, I think, is that it's clear that everyone on that stage is having a ball - they're creating incredible sounds and loving it. And that shows.
Buy this DVD. Buy anything Bela, Victor, et al, have recorded. SEE THEM LIVE!!
on November 8, 2003
I have been a Bela Fleck fan for a long time. I've been with these guys since the beginning. So, when I hear that a DVD is coming out of this great band, of course I'm thrilled.
Well, I wasn't disappointed! Amazing in everyway! Great sound, great blend, great feel, great picture. These guys never cease to amaze me. From beginning to end, trust me, you will feel like you got your money's worth.
I have one complaint. I don't know what it is about music DVD's, but this one is no exception. Can someone PLEASE talk to the editors of these DVD's. It is very distracting to be watching someone playing on stage - cut to audience - cut back to stage and they are obviously not playing what you are seeing on your tv screen. MATCH THE PLAYING WITH THE SOUND PLEASE! Maybe I'm being a little picky, but please tell me that you guys had more then 10 audience shots to choose from. I see the same audience reactions to different things in the show all throughout the performance. I'd rather just watch the musicians on stage and that's all, then the same repeated shot of the guy in the blue shirt and dark blue vest pumping his fist in the air after Vic's, Bela's, Jeff's, and Future Man's solos. Very annoying. Or the kids trying their best to dance to 11/8 and 7/8 meters (you'll get a kick out of that). When I buy a music DVD's, I want to see the band LIVE (not with all the strange editing issues).
Ok, all that aside, I really couldn't give this DVD any less then 4 stars, the music deserves more then 5! The editing is a minor complaint. Some people might not even notice it. I guess this is just a vent from so many bad music DVD's I have due to editing problems. Thanks for the great music guys! Enjoy!
on August 14, 2003
I first heard of Bela Fleck & The Flecktones in 2001, when I met a friend who was listening to Sinister Minister & Magic Fingers. From then on I was hooked. The man's the best banjo player you'll ever hear (no disrespect to other banjoists, but this is an opinion many would share).
He's a pioneer in the use of banjo in music other than bluegrass/country (for instance, classical music!)..
You'd have to see the band to believe it.
This DVD is a compilation of a gig they did in 3-4 days. They had guest players in Paul Hanson (bassoon), Sandip Burman (tabla), and Congar Ol'Ondar (Tuvan throat singer). Ol'Ondar's the most amazing, since he sings from his throat which enables him to produce three notes at the same time. Again, see it to believe it.
This DVD's a celebration of music, where influences of pop, bluegrass, folk, jazz, latin are all mangled, dissected, blended and trickled by the band in an outstanding form.
And now I'm wishing of seeing them perform in person...