January 22, 2012 by torqdog
The much anticipated release of Black Country Communion’s “Live Over Europe” concert video arrived on my doorstep back on November 18th, 2011. A concert disc featuring shows from various stops on their tour across Europe last summer, most of the shows on this disc were filmed in Germany.
This, as many of you know is the supergroup comprised of Joe Bonamassa, Glenn Hughes, Jason Bonham and Derek Sherinian. Many JB fans who visit this blog were eager to hear just what these four musicians from different backgrounds might produce and I know in my case, I was not all that impressed with their first CD titled Black Country Communion (I didn’t bother with their second offering). One of my main complaints was how abrassive Glenn Hughes voice sounded. Probably more to due with the mix, it just grated on me. But being a fan of the visual concert experience, I figured why not give the blu a shot. After all, concert settings can sometimes have a completely different vibe from the studio offering and that being said, this blu totally rocks. BUT, it did take me a couple of months with numerous listens to come to this conclusion as it didn’t reach out and grab me at first.
So what’s inside the case besides a nice little booklet complete with photos and liner notes? First off, if you think that this is a project headed up by blog fav Joe Bonamassa, fuggetta bout it! Glenn Hughes is clearly the star, or at least he’s definitely the man in front with the microphone. For his age, he still displays allot of energy onstage and is clearly seen having a blast. His stage antics are a hoot as well though start to get old near the end with his mouth wide open most of the time. Most of the songs seem to have a notable Hughes influence going back to his Deep Purple/Blackmore days with the exception of a couple of tunes Joe wrote such as “The Ballad of John Henry”. They even do a pretty nice version of the classic DP tune “Burn” at show’s end. Joe takes some turns with his own solos though I found them too short and fairly predictable as is usually the case with any 4 to 5 or so minute tune. Joe’s performance here is completely different from his Albert Hall show where he was able to showcase his blues roots. This is NOT a blues band…….. just good old Rock and Roll. Jason Bonham is a rock solid drummer. No flash, just a consistent drive that shows how much his style was influenced by his late father, Led Zepp drummer John Bonham. Derek Sherinian comes from a Prog background. A notable resume that includes Dream Theater, Planet X as well as many solo albums with appearances from many “name” musicians. The problem here is, just like his appearance on Billy Idol’s “In Super Overdrive” concert vid, he goes largely un-noticed, both visually and audibly. I guess you could call his contribution on this disc as one of mostly background “color” with a few solos thrown in.
As far as the video and audio quality of this concert (I’m reviewing the Blu-ray version), let’s just say the audio is awesome, the video sucks. Excepting the poor mix of Sherinian’s keys, the audio is a well mixed and forceful sound experience. I’ve read a few complaints here and there that some find the bass midrange to be slightly lacking that results in Glenn’s bass lines somewhat hard to hear but that was not my experience. Joe’s guitar is always in the forefront and is dynamic and well placed in the soundstage as are Bonham’s drums. The video for the most part, just sucks. Directed and edited by Phillippe Klose, he uses some sort of out of focus vignetting that renders everything outside of the center 20% fuzzy and the result is that it’s VERY distracting. I’m all for highlighting the person who’s the center of attention for that particular moment but not at the sake of basically eliminating everything else taking place on stage. Don’t get me wrong, the video IS watchable but it goes down as THE worse concert vid I’ve ever seen. Whadda shame!
In closing, this concert vid is fun. The songs are catchy and the sound is good. You won’t find soaring solos such as what made the Bonamassa Ft. Wayne vid so appealing but this blu-ray is entertaining and it seems to grow on you with every listen. I recommend adding this concert to your collection but if you wish to see and hear it before you buy, they’ve been running this video on Palladia lately. Check it out!