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
The New Wild West
You Were Meant for Me
Everybody Needs Someone Sometime
Who Will Save Your Soul
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
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.
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.
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."