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Lady Sings the Blues
on December 10, 2012
I'm reviewing the CD + DVD set. And yeah, I got ticked when I found out that the UK version has two DVDs. Why cheat Winehouse fans from across the pond?
Firstly, the CD is taken from various BBC appearances. Amy's in wonderful voice and also on the accompanying DVD. But I don't think she's performing with the Dap Kings on the CD, and that's a major disappointment. The arrangements are very slick in a traditional jazz way, and the Dap Kings had a more textured and funky feel that was way more appropriate for our Amy. Also on the DVD performances, Amy's only accompanied by a bassist and guitarist. So, while the minimal setting allows the listener to fully appreciate that magical voice with minimal distraction, I just wanted to see her with the Dap Kings! With those guys behind her, Amy Winehouse was at her jaw dropping best.
Another problem I have with the DVD is the distracting camera work. While Amy's performing, it often zooms in on her hands completely, whether she's gesturing or pulling on her strands of hair. But if the performer is singing, isn't it just basic to at least show her face all the time? It's like filming a pianist and zooming in on their feet pumping the pedals, while the hands out of the picture frame are actually playing the music. Some say this release comes much too soon, and it looks like it was orchestrated by the foundation created by Amy's parents in her memory. Of course, Amy fans will enjoy the work - it's certainly not sub par - but it could have been so much better. Just for reference, free for all the world to see are a couple of live performances on youtube that blow all of this out of the water completely. For reference, check out live "Back to Black" and "Me and Mr. Jones." It don't get "bettah dan dat"!
As part of the package, there's a booklet with some memorials from people (like Naz) which feels like an unnecessary add-on. What fans like me want are details about the various performances and musicians who accompanied her. However, no such information is afforded. Perhaps, this was partly due to contractual restrictions?
Here comes the big problem. I do have an old DVD player, and this DVD would only play with much visual and audio distortion on my television. On the other hand, it works with no problem on my desktop Mac. What's up with that?