Popping in this particular DVD gives you 20 tracks in just over an hour and a half, presenting some solid rock n' roll by one of the most consistent groups to hit the scene in the past ten years. There's nothing about this bar band done good that stands out, but it doesn't mean you won't find yourself sitting through their entire show without noticing the time going by. And, if you're of the persuasion, you can take also take advantage of staring at pretty boy frontman Rob Thomas. But that's all your getting. The most action in this show comes from Thomas moving from standing in the middle of the stage to the catwalk to sitting at his piano and back again.
Musically, the highlights are the handful of hits that the band has crafted over three albums, including "Push," "3AM" and "Disease." Matchbox Twenty's greatest strength is its ability to put together songs that straddles the line between soft and arena rock, and that strength is on display here. Halfway through the show, the band seems to finally get comfortable, and really begins to rock out, getting their guitars wailing. Unfortunately, the pacing can be a pain, as soft ballads slip in often, killing the musical momentum.
The concert is directed by Hamish Hamilton, a veteran of concert videos for superstars including Peter Gabriel, U2, Madonna and the Beastie Boys. Hamilton does a good job of giving a somewhat mundane show a sense of motion through the use of good shooting angles and editing that falls just short of bringing on epilepsy. The lighting is nice, but without anything of interest to illuminate, it somewhat goes to waste. The band looks like the least likely rock stars you've ever seen, but, considering the amount of good-looking girls in the audience, they've got something going for them.
If only the same thing could be said for the sound. There are two audio options, stereo and 5.1, but neither delivers the way it should. In fact, the stereo track is more balanced, as the surround soundtrack gives too much weight to the audience, filling the exterior speakers with their screams and applause, while burying the music and lyrics in the center channel. Often, Thomas' voice was competing with the crowd, making for a muddy experience.
On disc two, you'll find a trove of bonus materials, including a behind-the-scenes documentary, directed by Gillian Grisman (director of Grateful Dead documentary Grateful Dawg), that runs around 50 minutes. The featurette includes interviews with the guys in band, as well as a look at the technical work that goes into putting on a major concert. If you're a fan, or want to know more about Matchbox Twenty, you'll find out plenty here. I found myself thinking the entire set could have been better though, if they found a way to blend the on-stage and off-stage parts into one all-inclusive concert film.
A 32-photo gallery provides another look at the band, while the Lyrics section will help decipher the songs and help you sing along. Also included are a pair of songs presented in multi-angle format, "Soul" and "Bright Lights." Each song has six angles, one main feed and one iso camera for each member to the band, enabling you to play director, or just focus on Rob Thomas if you like.
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