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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Jewel: Live At Humphrey's by the Bay
Jewel: Live At Humphrey's by the Bay
Eagle Vision // Unrated // March 23, 2004
List Price: $14.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Holly E. Ordway | posted March 29, 2004 | E-mail the Author
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The movie

Filmed just before the start of her 2001 "This Way" tour, Jewel: Live at Humphrey's by the Bay gives a nice selection of songs from the Alaska native's repertoire. The low-key setting and emphasis on the music, not the atmosphere, meshes well with Jewel's style, with the result being an enjoyable concert session that will appeal both to devoted fans and more casual viewers who aren't as familiar with Jewel's work.

The concert starts off on an unusual note: Jewel's a capella performance of "Per la Gloria D'adorarvi." I'd hazard a guess that this decidedly traditional-sounding piece is intended to showcase Jewel's singing voice, apart from the pop/folk context of her typical songs. And if that's what she was aiming for, it works: it's abundantly clear that Jewel has a "jewel" of a voice that sounds great in whatever style she chooses to sing.

After that, the 56-minute program moves through an enjoyable play list that includes both her hits like "Hands" and "You Were Meant for Me," and lesser-known songs like "Rosy and Mick." It's a nice combination of simple pieces, with just Jewel and her guitar, and band-backed pieces.

One of the things that makes Jewel: Live at Humphrey's by the Bay fun to watch is Jewel's excellent stage presence and audience rapport. The feel of the Humphrey's setting is a relatively intimate one; in part, this is because the lighting focuses just on the stage, with the audience left in complete blackness, and in part because the audience is a well-behaved and generally adult one, without a lot of teenaged screamers. And so we get to see some nice back-and-forth between Jewel and the audience, like her dry comment "What a bunch of dorks" when she gets whistled at for taking off her jacket; she's clearly able to laugh at her own celebrity status, which makes her come across as an approachable human being. Jewel also shows a good touch with the audience; whenever she gets some audience involvement, it's always related to the show (like when she gets an audience member to help her with the lyrics to "Kiss the Flame"), it's entertaining, and it's not dragged out too long. She's clearly enjoying herself and is comfortable up on stage, but she also knows how to balance her introductory comments and audience participation with the real meat of the show (her songs).

Overall, Jewel: Live at Humphrey's by the Bay is a down-to-earth performance that offers more than just a live version of songs from Jewel's albums; it's an entertaining show. The play list is as follows:

Per la Gloria D'adorarvi
Near You Always
Kiss the Flame
Rosy and Mick
Everything Breaks Sometimes
Sometimes it Be That Way
Grey Matter
Break Me
The New Wild West
You Were Meant for Me
Hands
Everybody Needs Someone Sometime
Who Will Save Your Soul

The DVD

Video

Jewel: Live at Humphrey's by the Bay appears in its original 1.33:1 aspect ratio. It's a reasonably attractive presentation, with close-up shots looking clean and fairly sharp. Colors sometimes look a bit odd, but a lot of that is most likely attributable to the lighting used on the set. Longer-distance shots don't offer a lot of detail, but contrast is handled well, and the print is clean and free of flaws.

Audio

I was somewhat surprised to find that, despite a DTS option, the audio quality here is only a notch above average. The default track is a Dolby 2.0, which is unsurprisingly rather flat. However, the DTS and the Dolby 5.1 options don't really take the music to the level I'd expect. The sound is very front-focused, with hardly any use of the side channels at all. The DTS track is slightly richer than the Dolby 5.1 option, but it's not a major difference. Both the DTS and the 5.1 soundtracks do offer a clean, natural sound.

Extras

Four bonus music videos are included: "Standing Still," Love Me, Just Leave Me Alone," "Do You Want to Play?," and "Jesus Loves You." Apart from these additional songs, viewers will be most interested in the 11-minute interview with Jewel, which is fairly interesting.

There's also an odd "jukebox" feature, which allows you to select the order in which the songs will play; a photo gallery; a discography; and a weblink.

Final thoughts

Jewel: Live at Humphrey's by the Bay is an enjoyable concert for viewers who enjoy Jewel's music; she focuses on her music, but also incorporates a good amount of interaction with the audience. The image and sound quality are reasonable, but they didn't really impress me, either; viewers will find this DVD enjoyable to watch but not a knockout listening experience. Devoted Jewel fans should consider this DVD to be strongly recommended; for viewers in general, I'll give it a "recommended."

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