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on October 13, 2013
Devin Townsend was thinking about this project for years, and it finally came true in 2012, here he can have for prosperity his Broadway musical "The Retinal Circus". This theatrical production has a story that was supposed to illustrate his 20 years career. How the artist can put in a story the music of different parts of his career when every album has his own story? We can think that the story is secondary compare to the music. He wanted to give some entertaining value to the music that is already pleasant to hear. So we got a big production here with costumes, plenty of characters, visual objects, a choir. The musicians had the task to keep their focus on their music while there were a lot of things going on in the stage. Steve Vai, a long time friend of Devin is doing the narration between songs to explain the story of the evolution of man through the mind of Mr. Townsend, which include the invasion of aliens.

The music is intense as usual with 3 different kinds of songs: the complex prog songs, the quiet and dark ones, and the heavy ones; 2 Strapping Young Lads songs, with the original guitar player, Jed Simon. The vocals of Anneke Van Giersbergen are well worth the price of admission here by giving more melodic feel to the music. You can here and see the results of this in the simple song "Ih-Ah!". The set list is well crafted with a balance set of songs of different moods and you never get bored during this 2 hours and forty minutes show.

The final scene is really special with the recreation of a living room where every band members pass through a door and gets a rest while Devin sings his little acoustic piece "Little Pig". It's impressive to know that this big production was done on low budget and that the man is still sticking to his ideas despite the lack of funds. I hope this efforts serve him in the future and help the band to have more recognition because, the man has a lot of others ideas to bring to the world of the experimental metal scene, and need plenty of money if he want to do others big productions! I have to give 5 stars here, because it's the first time we can see a document of that nature and that proportion in the metal world.
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on November 7, 2013
I can't tell the world how much I love Devin Townsend and this Retinal Circus bluray. The guy just makes some of the best music many of you have never heard. Everyone should do themselves a favour and pick up one of his "Project"/DTP albums. I'd recommend Addicted or Epicloud if you are just hearing him for the first time. But anyway, back to the Retinal Circus... it's insane, bizarre, crazy, fun, a few WTF moments all set to Devin's music spannig over his career. I've watched the whole thing from start to finish more times in a month than any other concert I have ever bought on DVD/Bluray.

I never heard any of the Strapping Young Lad stuff before seeing this show. First listen to Deotx and Love and I was onboard. That's how metal is done. Hang on to your hats!

Anneke van Giersbergen singling along with Devin, simply beautiful.

The finale, couldn't wipe the smile off my face. Awesome, awesome, awesome!!! More please DTP!!!

5 out of 5 easily.
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on November 14, 2014
Seriously, this man is one hell of an entertainer. Any of his live shows are top notch (I've been to 6 of them), but this one he especially went all out. It plays out like a musical of sorts and spans music from his whole well rounded career (including two Strapping Young Lad songs!). There are plenty of great musical guests that make appearances and the stage set up and extras are very enjoyable!

Sound quality is good. Devin tends to have a wall of sound approach for his mastering so expect the mix to be heavy and booming. A good sound system is a must as a lesser stereo system or TV speaker will likely be underpowered for the response. The show is in two parts and there is a comprehensive documentary on the making of the whole thing.

Definitely a show you'll want to watch over and over. It's also quite nice to play in the background if you're doing something. Please support an absolutely wonderful musician!
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on March 5, 2014
This is one strange video to experience. I love Devy and his work. His music is amazing and has a depth sonically that is hard to match. I find myself hearing new things in his music all the time. And the songs are masterfully performed on this video.

But I cannot give it five stars. The stage show is presented as it was live and it's just... odd. It somewhat detracts from the performances and the music. I realize that's what Devin was trying to accomplish and it was definitely accomplished, I just don't like it as much as I'd hoped. I'm sure not sorry I bought it, but I think the "Live By A Thread" boxed set is more representative of what I love about Dev and his work.
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VINE VOICEon April 5, 2015
Devin Townsend for a long time was someone I'd heard OF but never actually HEARD. I was much more familiar with him as a producer than as a musician. A friend of mine told me to check out Devin's former band Strapping Young Lad. I did, but I'm not a big fan of Cookie Monster vocals and told my friend as much. Knowing my tastes in music, he perked.

"I am about to make you a Devin Townsend fangirl," he said.

He proceeded to pop "The Retinal Circus" into his DVD player and cued it up. He literally said "wait for it ... wait for it ..." while Steve Vai did a monologue about religion. "Well ... seems inevitable ... guys, if this is what you feel you need to do, how about a good old fashioned--"

Devin screamed WAAAAARRRRRR and suddenly I was banging my head and throwing metal.

"War" is the fifth song on "The Retinal Circus," a mash-up of metal, Broadway, comedy, prog, I don't know what that is, seriously, what was THAT? IS HE ACTUALLY DOING THAT? It basically requires you to suspend all belief--and disbelief--about what's metal and what's not. Devin, with the help of his incredibly tight backing band (guitarist Dave Young, bassist Brian Waddell, and drummer Ryan van Poederooyen) and one of my favorite singers of all time, Anneke van Giersbergen, runs the gamut between slow and lovely ballads to put-your-head-through-the-wall speed metal and throws in so many other elements it'll make your head spin. "The Retinal Circus" is essentially a retrospective of Devin's career--Steve Vai shows up because Devin's first big exposure in music was singing on Vai's "Sex & Religion" album, and Strapping Young Lad guitarist Jed Simon shows up to do a couple of SYL songs.

The easiest way to characterize Devin's music is "imagine if Frank Zappa played metal and had a sense of humor." I have never shown "The Retinal Circus" to anyone who didn't bust out laughing at least twice during it. Devin is clearly enjoying the whole thing and definitely not afraid to make fun of everything and everyone, including himself. In all seriousness, though, Devin Townsend is hands down the most talented metal musician ever. He is an amazing singer, a flat-out fantastic guitarist, and the writer for some of the catchiest metal riffs ever. I don't think you can quite convert a metal hater with "The Retinal Circus," but you better believe you'll catch them banging their heads a time or two.
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on March 22, 2015
Absolute spectacle and a lot of fun, too. Devin Townsend is a man of great talent, and those talents are all on display here. Excellent supporting performers and musicians as well. Very well engineered and produced for a live performance
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on January 26, 2014
I'm only a recent DTP convert and have to say that this is the maddest live performance I've ever seen, and I mean that in a good way.

It goes from the beautiful vocals of both Devin and Anneke Van Giersbergen to some hardcore/thrast style songs - from songs like Ih-Ah to Detox to and everything in between, but it's not like they're trying to cover these breadths on purpose, it actually flows.

Awesome musicianship all the way through. Bend it Like Bender is a riot - like a massive party on stage but the party-goers are the performers. As others have said, the finale on the couches is pretty cool as well.
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on May 17, 2014
I was concerned this would not work in the US due to Blu-ray regional codes. It works, and the content is playable. I don't know exactly what to expect from the sound, but I can say it was not as impressive as some excellently crafted Blu-ray movie sounds. That is a shame, because Hevy Devy knows sound like no other.
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on November 18, 2015
We were looking for this blu-ray for a long time, we had seen just parts of the concert/show before, but it really exceed our expectations, we really enjoyed it. Devin Townsend is the best.
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on June 15, 2014
This is the closest anyone will ever get to being inside Devin's head. Chaotic, loud, beautiful! If you like any of devin's music, you should definitely check this out.
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