With the proliferation of good concert DVDs coming out over the last few years, it has become increasingly difficult to narrow these lists down to just ten choices. I started by excluding historical compilations like AC/DC's Plug Me In, and special edition DVD's of older videos like Led Zeppelin's The Song Remains The Same or The Beatles' Help. I focused on recent performances that were released on DVD for the first time in 2007.
Budget and time constraints have also keep me from purchasing and reviewing all of the concert DVD's I would have liked to, so I do realize that many great ones have slipped through the cracks. I will let the readers point these out. Here are some of my personal favorites that still get heavy rotation at my house:
1. David Gilmour – Remember That Night: Instead of doing another mediocre Pink Floyd album and mammoth world tour, David Gilmour recorded an intimate little album called On An Island and embarked on his own short tour that featured the new album performed in its entirety. Remember That Night was filmed over three nights in May 2006 at London's Royal Albert Hall, and showcases why Gilmour is still considered one of the greatest guitarists on the planet. Even if you weren't crazy about the new album, Gilmour also gives some of the best Pink Floyd performances I have ever seen, including an astounding 23-minute performance of "Echoes" which was worth the price of the DVD alone.
2. Eric Clapton – Crossroads Guitar Festival 2007: After watching the first Crossroads Guitar Festival DVD back in 2004, I had been counting the days until the next one came out. Who would Clapton invite this time, and would it be as good as the first? Well, inviting the camera shy Jeff Beck to perform again, and then tearing through half of the first Blind Faith album with his old bandmate Steve Winwood for the first time in almost 30 years certainly didn't hurt the cause. Crossroads Guitar Festival 2007 is an extraordinary two-disc set that features over four hours of performances from some of the most legendary guitarist in the business. I am already counting the days until the next one.
3. Yes – Live At Montreux 2003: In the summer of 2003, Yes finally graced the stage of the famous Montreux Jazz festival and gave one of their best performances of the decade. Live at Montreux 2003 was recorded during the band's Full Circle tour, which was billed as "Together Again…Classic Yes." With the quintessential lineup of Jon Anderson, Steve Howe, Chris Squire, Rick Wakeman, and Alan White firmly back in place, classic Yes was exactly what you got too, with a set highlighted by an almost entire performance of their legendary 1971 album Fragile.
4. Heaven & Hell – Live From Radio City Music Hall: In 2006, the Ronnie James Dio-led version of Black Sabbath, with Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, and Vinny Appice, got together for the first time in almost 15 years to record three new songs for a new compilation album, Black Sabbath: The Dio Years. Things obviously went so well that they decided to follow up with an extended world tour the next year. Because of the projected continuation of the band's original lineup with Ozzy Osbourne and Bill Ward, Iommi decided to call the touring group Heaven and Hell, after the name of their debut album together. Lucky for us one of those shows was brilliantly captured on DVD.
5. Jethro Tull – Live At Montreux 2003: This excellent DVD captures the current incarnation of Jethro Tull (and it is a good one) performing for the first time at the famous Montreux Jazz Festival in 2003. Tull founder, Ian Anderson, looooong-time guitarist Martin Barre, and handful of other superb musicians, who have all been with the band since the mid-'90s, threw down an amazing 19-song set that covered everything from their 1968 debut album, This Was, on up to their 2003 Christmas album. An amazing forty years after their debut album was released, Jethro Tull is still going strong.
6. Queensryche – Mindcrime At The Moore: Ahh, the rock opera. Queensryche certainly hit a home run with their first foray into the genre with 1988's Operation: Mindcrime, and then pretty much struck out with their 2006 follow-up, Mindcrime II. Mindcrime At The Moore captures the band in front of an enthusiastic hometown Seattle crowd performing the Mindcrime saga in its entirety. Returning once again was the superb Pamela Moore to reprise her role as Sister Mary, along with a small cast of supporting actors to flesh out the plot. Even though the second set performance of Mindcrime II was a real anti-climax, the incredible performance of the first Mindcrime album was enough to earn a spot on this list.
7. Blackfield – NYC: Live In New York: If I couldn't get a new Porcupine Tree video out of Steve Wilson this year, then this new Blackfield DVD was certainly the next best thing. Blackfield is the collaboration between Porcupine Tree frontman Steve Wilson and Israeli pop star Aviv Geffen, and the music is a lighter, more melancholic, pop-rock version of what you may be used to from the Tree. Live In New York City captures this marvelous new band during their NYC gig while on last year's tour in support of the band's excellent sophomore album Blackfield II. This is definitely a band to watch.
8. Elton John – Elton 60: Elton John's 60th birthday celebration at Madison Square Garden last year certainly proved that, although he doesn't quite have same power in the voice he can still deliver the goods. Elton plowed through an incredible 33-song, three-hour, set that was highlighted by several rarely played gems from his early 70's masterpieces like Honky Chateau, Tumbleweed Connection, and Madman Across The Water. If you still need convincing, this two-disk set is also loaded with tons of great live, rare, and unseen footage that makes it an absolute steal for the asking price.
9. Heart – Dreamboat Annie Live: After not being overly impressed with Heart's last concert DVD, 2003's Alive In Seattle, I was much more satisfied with the effort that the Wilson sisters turned in for this special occasion. This DVD marked the debut of a new "Legendary Albums Live" series from Shout! Factory distributors, and also marked the 31st anniversary of Heart's 1976 debut album, Dreamboat Annie. The performances were exuberant and the album has never sounded better. You also get a few killer Led Zeppelin and Who covers to top it all off.
10. (Tie) Megadeth – That One Night: Live In Buenos Aires and Iron Maiden – Death On The Road: In 2004, Dave Mustaine recruited three new bandmembers and reformed the mighty Megadeth in time for a new album, 2004's The System Has Failed, and a headlining spot on the massive Gigantour. The band followed up the Gigantour with a short tour of their own that took them through such places as South America and Puerto Rico. Mustaine and his new band, sounding like they had been playing together for decades, instead months, gave an inspired performance in front of the 25,000, rabidly enthusiastic, Buenos Aires, Argentina fans that showed up to see them. Death On The Road captures a supercharged Iron Maiden performance from their 2003 Dance of Death world tour. The DVD barely made my list, only because the U.S. release date was delayed for over a year until January 2007. After more than 30 years together, the band is still putting out some of the best albums and tours of their career.
Pendragon – Past and Presence
Paul Rodgers – Live In Glasgow
Foreigner – Alive & Rockin'
Damn Yankees – Uprising Live!
Al Di Meola – Speak A Volcano
Glenn Hughes – Live In Australia