I was a Jamiroquai fan back in 1997, when the song “Virtual Insanity”, off their CD Traveling Without Moving, was everywhere, propelled by a memorable music video of lead singer Jay Kay dancing around a constantly moving floor. His Stevie Wonder-like voice perfectly complemented the band's acid-jazz-funk sound. Although I was into their music at the time, subsequent releases failed to impress, and as time went on the band dropped off my radar. That was a mistake on my part. After seeing Jamiroquai smoke the stage on a 2007 episode of the BBC show Live From Abbey Road, my interest was once again piqued. The band had shed a few members and tightened up their sound. Their performance on that BBC show was explosive.
Now the band has released a DVD of their 2003 performance at the Montreaux Jazz Festival. Jamiroquai – Live at Montreux 2003 captures the band in front of a large and enthusiastic crowd.
“Virtual Insanity” was not performed that night, but its absence was not really missed. The excellent “Cosmic Girl” and “Traveling Without Moving”, from the CD of the same name, are two highlights. The band also performs the song “Canned Heat”, made famous in the movie Napoleon Dynamite – that was the song Napoleon used for his pre-election dance performance. During the Montreaux show, Jamiroquai introduces a new song “Shoot The Moon”. Usually that’s the cue for a beer run at the show (or refrigerator break from the TV), but this one is worth staying around for.
The crowd really get into the show which gives it that excitement that is sometimes missing from overproduced live DVDs. Kay and the band give it 100 percent and genuinely look they are having fun. That being said, the set-list drags about two-thirds of the way through. The longer free-form jams drag the show down just when it needs to be hitting another level. It’s not really the music as much as it is the creation of the set-list. The songs could have been shuffled better.
The audio and video are top notch. The sound is clean with the bass playing a prominent role. The video direction captures the band from a variety of angles, but wisely keeps it focused on Kay, the mastermind of the band. This DVD is recommended for fans, and might be a great re-introduction to the band for people who haven’t thought about Jamiroquai in a while.