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Music DVD Review: Jimmy Buffett’s Scenes You Know By Heart

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Growing up, I was a dyed in the feather Parrothead, one of thousands of Jimmy Buffett fans.  The bright yellow cover of my copy of Songs You Know By Heart (his first greatest hits CD) faded to white from too many days sitting on the dashboard.  That album has been and always will be a great entry into the Buffett canon, and so it was with a certain excitement and bias that I opened the new DVD Scenes You Know By Heart.  While there are a few things to enjoy here, it wasn't quite what I hoped it would be.

The concept is a simple one and a good one: recreate a classic Buffett album in video form. The DVD serves up the same set list, using film from a variety of concerts ("Cheeseburger in Paradise" , "He Went To Paris" , "Fins" , "Son of a Son of a Sailor" , "A Pirate Looks at Forty" , "Margaritaville" , "Come Monday" , "Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes" , "Why Don't We Get Drunk" , "Pencil Thin Mustache" , "Grapefruit-Juicy Fruit" , "Boat Drinks" , "Volcano").  It also drops in two bonus songs, "Hey Good Lookin' " and "It's Five O'Clock Somewhere."  In what amounts to a tour retrospective of the last few years, you get to see songs from the Tiki Time Tour (2003), Wrigley Field show (2005), Live in Anguilla (2007) and others.  While the internal variety of the DVD is nice, the choice of concerts also caused my biggest complaint.

In recent years, Buffett has taken to releasing DVDs with his live albums.  The 2007 effort, Live in Anguilla, is excellent and really gives you the flavor of what he has been about his whole career.  However, since Scenes uses film from that concert for four of the fifteen songs, it made the whole thing superfluous.  I had already seen most of the DVD before even opening the cellophane.  For long-time fans, owning Scenes is a bit redundant, and even for fledgling Parrotheads I think there are other discs which do a better job of showing of the carnival atmosphere at a Buffett concert.  That said, there is at least one diamond in this rough.

Track two is "He Went To Paris", and is what the whole DVD should have looked like.  Instead of rerunning a clip from a big concert, the song is played in a small club in Paris.  You get to see the fans, street scenes of the city, and Buffett and the Coral Reefers doing what they do best in an atmosphere most people don't have the chance to enjoy.  Genuine emotion and craft shines through here, and is what I was hoping to see in the other songs.  Had the producers gone in this direction the whole time, or even taken new video expressly for this DVD, I think the product would have found a much more honored place in the library of old and new fans alike.

Scenes You Know By Heart has a running time of 1 hour and 5 minutes.  It is listed at $12.98 and is a Wal-Mart exclusive release.  

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