One Night In Europe is the first double-DVD plus double-CD containing live recordings of the Australian prog band Unitopia. The images have been recorded at Cultuurpodium Boerderij in Zoetermeer, The Netherlands on October 15, 2010. This concert was part of the first European tour called 'The More Than A Garden Of Dreams Tour 2010'. This tour brought the band in The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and Great Britain. Since I witnessed the live concert myself, it's always nice to see how it looks like on TV. For my review of this show (see review) I wrote: 'hopefully the DVD of this fabulous concert gets a quick release, because I certainly would like to see the whole show again in a comfortable chair and in 5.1 surround. Turning the lights down, a drink and something to nibble on the table and go with the show. Life sometimes can be beautiful.' Well, it didn't get a quick release because it took the band a year to get everything on the four discs. Unfortunately I couldn't get a copy of the CDs, but instead they sent me a promo of the DVDs. I won't go into detail of this performance, because that would mean that I'm writing the live review of that show again. Instead I will give you an idea of how things look and sound plus a detailed review of the second DVD.
During the performance in The Netherlands, Unitopia consisted of Mark Trueack (lead and backing vocals), Sean Timms (keyboards, backing vocals), Matt Williams (guitar, backing vocals), David Hopgood (drums), Craig Kelly (bass, backing vocals), Tim Irrgang (percussion) and guest musician Ian Ritchie (sax, flute, tin whistle, backing vocals). The entire performance can be watched on the first DVD. At the beginning you see the band backstage getting ready to perform. It's easy to see that the musicians are rather nervous for they had two goals: entertaining the audience and playing the songs making as few mistakes as possible. It just had to be perfect! Well, and perfect it is while watching and listening to the footage and audio of this live show. However, you never know how much has been corrected afterwards in the studios. They already restored two songs during the actual gig: The Great Reward and the intro for The Garden. They felt that the first versions were played a bit too slow, so they played them again. The band managed to integrate these second versions into the show as if it were the first ones.
When I'm watching a DVD two things have to be high-leveled in order to get a high rating in the end. First of all the quality of the audio should be perfect and secondly the images must contain quite a number of close-ups of the musicians. Fortunately One Night In Europe meets both aspects. Thanks to the excellent sound and vision you almost get the impression to be on stage with the musicians watching them to play good live versions of their album tracks. They were probably aware of the fact that some additional images would give the show something special. Maybe they were afraid that the fans had enough of watching only musicians. Therefore they included many images that tell a bit more about some songs. Good examples are the addition of the voice and images of the Serbian-American inventor Nikola Tesla in the song Tesla and the well-chosen images of an African desert on the intro of Angeliqua together with some Arabic sounding music. Pictures of the moon and images of nature are a good way to tell more about Justify. Maybe they should have included images of The Beatles on Nothing Lasts Forever, because this song deals with the fab four. Anyway, even without these pictures and images the entire concert looks rather stunning.
Less stunning but still worthwhile watching is the second DVD that contains all the usual extras. Unfortunately they forgot to mention the content of this disc in the booklet, but I will inform you instead. First you see a 22-minute long acoustic performance that was shot live for the local TV station TV Limburg, The Netherlands. In a minimal setting, Mark Trueack (vocals), Sean Timms (piano), Matt Williams (acoustic guitar), Tim Irrgang (percussion) and Ian Ritchie (sax, flute) play acoustic versions of Angeliqua, More Than A Dream, Nothing Lasts Forever, One Day and Reflections. The next feature is 'inside Unitopia', a seven-minute impression of Unitopia's visit to the city of Beaconsfield, Tasmania. The eleven-minute long section of 'behind the scenes' gives you an inside view of things that could happen on the road during a tour. Footage of other live shows and rehearsals are also included. For lovers of real live music the bonus live material is off course the most interesting part of disc two. Here you can enjoy footage shot at The Spirit Of 66 in Verviers, Belgium. A fine version of Slowdown was shot with only one camera from the balcony. This time the musicians are casually dressed, because they didn't have to look good for a video shooting. The Great Reward, filmed at the Nieuwe Nor in Heerlen, The Netherlands finishes this fifteen-minute long additional live material. This footage looks better than the images shot in Belgium. Some of the people who filmed in Heerlen were responsible for this clip as well and therefore it looks more professional. The bonus disc last almost one hour and it certainly adds something to this release.
After watching both discs I can only conclude that Unitopia released a very strong product that can be seen as a true document showing what happened music wise to the band in 2010. The main course certainly is the two-hour performance in Zoetermeer. This course tastes very delicious and the extras contain some tasteful desserts that you might enjoy after the main course. The whole package is like an excellent meal that one would like to consume on a regular basis. All people involved in making this double-DVD did a fantastic job. Therefore only the highest rating will do for One Night In Europe! This DVD undoubtedly belongs to one of the finest releases of 2011!
***** Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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