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Franz Ferdinand Live (2-Disc Set)
During the next two years, Franz Ferdinand's first official collection of recordings---the Darts of Pleasure EP---was released through Domino, while gradual word-of-mouth helped their self-titled debut LP become a slow-burning international smash. Their sophomore album, You Could Have It So Much Better, was released in the third quarter of 2005 to generally positive reviews from critics and fans alike. I didn't care for it as much as the first LP, but there's a drive and energy found in Franz Ferdinand's music that really makes it hard to hate. If you're a fan of catchy, guitar-driven rock with sharp lyrics, you'll certainly find much to enjoy.
That's enough for today's history lesson, though; after all, any fans eager enough to purchase a live DVD release should know this stuff already. Cutting right to the chase, Franz Ferdinand Live is a 2-disc release containing roughly 3 hours of the group's performances from around the world, though it looks like nearly all of the included material is from the self-titled debut. This, of course, leads to some serious overlap: many of the same cuts are played during all three "sets" (a miscellaneous collection plus two complete concerts), so you better really love these songs. Combine this with last year's re-release of their debut LP (which added a few bonus tracks) and you've got the most milked catalogue of modern songs since Maroon 5's Songs About Jane. Below, you'll find a complete list of included content on this release, while bonus features will be covered later.
(45 live tracks on 2 single-sided discs)
Disc One - Miscellaneous Performances
1. Michael (Brixton Academy, London)
2. Tell Her Tonight (Pianos, New York)
3. 40ft (The Regency Grand, San Francisco)
4. Take Me Out (T in the Park, Scotland)
5. Cheating on You (Rock Wercheter, Belgium)
6. Love & Destroy (The Avalon, Los Angeles)
7. The Dark Of The Matinee (T in the Park, Scotland)
8. Van Tango (The Regency Grand, San Francisco)
9. Auf Asche (Brixton Academy, London)
10. Come On Home (Barrowlands, Glasgow)
11. Darts Of Pleasure (The Regency Grand, San Francisco)
12. Shopping For Blood (Rock Wercheter, Belgium)
13. Jacqueline (Barrowlands, Glasgow)
14. This Fire (The Avalon, Los Angeles)
(17 tracks, 51:01 total)
Disc Two - Two Complete Concerts
Live At Brixton: Michael / Tell Her Tonight / 40ft / Your Diary / Take Me Out / Cheating On You / Dark Of The Matinee / I'm Your Villain / Van Tango / Auf Asche / Come On Home / Love & Destroy / Darts Of Pleasure / Shopping For Blood / This Boy / Jacqueline / This Fire (17 tracks, 68:08 total)
Live In San Francisco: Cheating On You / Tell Her Tonight / 40ft / Van Tango / Auf Asche / Dark Of The Matinee / Jacqueline / Love & Destroy / Take Me Out / Michael / Darts Of Pleasure / Shopping For Blood / Come On Home / This Fire (14 tracks, 56:16 total)
Even with the overlap, it's tough to complain: for less than $20, you're getting roughly 180 minutes of concert footage and a few nice bonus features. The songs are played with raw energy and the crowd seems to love every minute of it. It certainly doesn't offer anything new to the world of concert recordings, but it's a solid collection that shows why Franz Ferdinand is so popular.
With that said, this disc would've received a higher rating if it were more condensed: whether it's music, movies or any other medium, too much padding always drags the main feature down. Even so, it's more of a go-to disc best viewed in smaller chunks; in fact, I wouldn't imagine anyone but the most ardent fans of Franz Ferdinand to watch it the whole way through every time. Pound for pound, though, it's a nicely packed 2-disc set that's great for those on a budget.
Any fan of concert DVDs knows that the technical presentation is the most important factor, and Franz Ferdinand Live shouldn't disappoint. The 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer looks good, but a small amount of pixellation and murkiness are present due to the lighting conditions (though the outdoor venues looks great). Overall, it's a solid presentation that gets the job done nicely.
All live footage is presented in Dolby 5.1 Surround Sound or uncompressed PCM Stereo, both of which sound very good. The 5.1 mix actually sounds a bit less punchy in comparison, though the live atmosphere is preserved more faithfully. No optional subtitles (or "lyrics", if you will) have been provided for the concert footage, but they're available during one of the bonus features.
Yeah, it's a bit of overkill, but at least Franz Ferdinand Live offers fans plenty of bang for the buck---in fact, this release only provides more proof that CDs are way too expensive in comparison. The technical presentation is solid from top to bottom, while the assortment of bonus features only sweetens the pot even more. Those new to the band may want to grab a proper album first, but anyone who enjoys Franz Ferdinand's brand of music simply can't go wrong with this one. Overall, it's a solid 2-disc set that's easily worth your time and money. Recommended.
Randy Miller III is a cartooning instructor based in Harrisburg, PA. He also does freelance graphic design projects and works in an art gallery. When he's not doing that, he enjoys slacking off, general debauchery, and writing things in third person.