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2004 live release captures the Afterglow concert tour, including over 20 songs from all of Sarah's hits. For the first time ever, Sarah lets her fans take a glimpse at her personal life with 20 minutes of behind the scenes footage. Includes bonus DVD.
Apart from a director whose relationship with his subject seems skittish--there's a shyness about the DVD, as though the camera was afraid to linger on its subject too long--and the CD's lamentable incompatibility with iPods, "Afterglow Live" leaves little to nitpick over. Nearly two dozen songs, zigzagging across Afterglow, Fumbling Towards Ecstasy, and Surfacing, solidify McLachlan's reputation as a peerless performer on the DVD; the careful attention she layers over these already full-bodied, melodic songs gives each additional shape, as if she were singing them for the first time, and her easy magnetism in front of a mic draws her wholly rapt audience in close enough to feel her guitar strings vibrate. The same likable star quality carries over to the CD, a 15-song sampler culled from the DVD's 2004 Toronto concert. Though fans of less weighty McLachlan material may miss the comparative wispiness of confections like "Ice Cream," her full-throated pourings-on for "Building a Mystery," "Angel," and "Train Wreck," among others, will keep Afterglow Live's bulb burning brightly for years to come. -Tammy La Gorce
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The concert was filmed at Molson Amphitheater in Toronto, Canada and directed by Russell Thomas ("Placebo: Soulmates Never Die - Live in Paris 2003"). I certainly liked the look of this concert film more than "Mirrorball," but part of that was the sense of familiarity since I had seen Sarah when she did that tour, so I was familiar with the way certain songs were being performed and the look of the set. But one thing about Sarah that we have loved from the beginning is that she keeps finding new ways to do some of her songs, and while we will have our favorites (e.g., I like the hard rock version of "Hold On" from her first concert video), she is always presenting us with new approaches. So even when many of the songs remain the same, the singing of them is different, which is why I really liked the intimate arrangement of "Ice."
It was interesting to see who was still around from the old band. You knew that Ashwin Sood would still be on drums, one of the advantages of being married to the lead singer, and is Brian Minato was not on bass it would just be too strange. Luke Doucet is still playing guitars, but Kathryne Rose is the new backing vocalist providing the harmonies, and the big change seems to be having a pair of keyboard players (Vincent Jones and David Kershaw). Included in the bonus features on the DVD are a Photo Gallery, Lyrics for all of the songs perfomed, an interviw with Sarah, and the three music videos from the "Afterglow" album, "Fallen," "Stupid," and "World On Fire" with its pointed political message about the things in this world that you could spend $150,000 that would be more worthwhile than a music video.
Overall the mix of songs from Sarah's albums in the concert is pretty good, although long time fans would wish her to go back before "Fumbling Towards Ecstasy." But that is the first album where she really felt her lyrics made any sense and I think that is why she tends not to go back to the first two. In the end, the fans who want to quibble about such things will be the ones that will most appreciate seeing Sarah McLachlan in another concert video. Ironically, those are the same people who will notice that her voice has changed since the last time around: it is a bit richer and fuller, which results in some different nuances on familiar songs.
My only disappointment was the HORRENDOUS EDITING and frenetic camera work that detracted from her relatively smooth, seamless, and well-put together stage production. (Seems like it was done by a couple teenagers trying to make their first rock music video.)
The concert was BEAUTIFUL, designed to move you & thrill you & blow you away, just from right there in your seat. The DVD didn't need any *dazzling* effects & transitions -- a few well-placed cameras would have served nicely. Despite the video crap, it's a wonderful performance.
I like the CD, too. Slightly uptempo versions of great songs. (*^_^*)
We all know there are audio overdubs on something that sounds this good (and it does sound good), but I'm sure there were lots of oportunities to just show an outstanding live performance instead of flash-scening us to death. I really had to stop watching it out of nausea and frustration that I was never seeing what was really important. Sarah, Luke, bandmates: nice job. Video people: give the band a refund. And shame on whoever made the decision to make this kind of video, it's sort of insulting to the viewer's intelligence.
This is a must have for Sarah Mac fans, very well done, with a CD for the car. Must have.