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DVD Review: Hootie & the Blowfish Live in Charleston

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For the dedicated fans of Hootie & the Blowfish, they know the group has been on fire lately. Their latest album, Looking for Lucky, was a superb way of bringing their unique sound back. Along with the new album comes a tour, and Hootie is rarely more alive than in their hometown in South Carolina.

That's all the reasoning you'll need to snap up their latest DVD, a fantastic live performance in front of an energetic crowd. With 20 songs, there's plenty of room for old favorites and soon to be favorites. Lively takes on Hold My Hand along with first runs for their latest hits like One Love and catchy Get Out of My Mind keep the show moving briskly.

Editing is superb here, at times moving with the music to add to the experience. The number of cameras used to film the event were numerous, bringing some variety to the video. At around 90 minutes, you'll rarely be bored.

Sadly, unlike their previous concert release, Summer Camp With Trucks, Live in Charleston stays completely on stage. The only time the band is featured not performing is in the opening minute and a brief clip backstage during the breather before the encore. Trucks was a fun personal trip that brought fans close to the band. This latest disc ignores that part entirely.

Regardless, the show is enough to carry the disc for the targeted fan base. The song list is roughly the same as it was throughout the recent tour, but the available audio-only downloads from their website cut covers like Tom Waits' I Hope That I Don't Fall in Love With You. They're included here in their entirety. That's worth the cover price alone.

The increase in DVD quality over the years means this disc looks stunning compared to Hootie's previous digital offerings. Clarity, sharpness, and detail are gorgeous. The only noticeable issue is some heavy compression, especially during close ups. Long shots generally do a fine job of keeping it hidden. Still, unless you've met him face to face, you've never seen Darius Rucker like this.

As expected, the disc is fantastic in the audio department. While Dolby 2.0 is an option, the full-on 5.1 experience is the only suitable way to listen to the concert. The recording quality is nothing short of perfect as the band plays. The use of the surround channels is natural and immersive. Oddly, they're almost inaudible when speaking to the crowd. A few lines are completely lost forever. Given their usual rants, stories, and general goofiness that add to the show, that's a shame.

Aside from a decent menu system, there are no extras. (No stars)

For those long trips, the concert is also available on CD. All 20 tracks are included, and the disc art and liner notes are the same. You can buy both in a set directly from the band's website.

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About Matt Paprocki

Matt Paprocki has critiqued home media and video games for 13 years and is the reviews editor for Pulp365.com. His current passion project is the technically minded DoBlu.com. You can read Matt's body of work via his personal WordPress blog, and follow him on Twitter @Matt_Paprocki.
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