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Gentle Giant - GG At The GG CD (album) cover


Gentle Giant

Eclectic Prog

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Man With Hat
Jazz-Rock/Fusion/Canterbury Team
5 stars What a show! The live power of Gentle Giant comes through in this DVD. They really give new life to some of the featured songs, especially the poppier "The Missing Piece" songs. First off, all five are spot on with every instrument played and singing. Stunning! Now on with the show.

The first (and main) part of this DVD was recorded live at Golders Green Hippodrome in London. All songs are fantastic renditions of old favorites and new songs. The ones off of The Missing Piece seem to be given an extra kick to make them better then the album versions of the songs. The video and sound quality are top notch, and there are points were you really feel you were at the show. The Highlights: On Reflection. I was very happy to see this one performed live. I first heard a live version on "Playing The Fool" and was astounded by the intracate vocal harmonies that they were album to produce on a live stage. Now, actually seeing it, makes it that more incrediable. All five members singing at! Truely someting to see. Memories Of Old Days. To be honest, i wasn't a fan of this song when i first heard it. But seeing it performed live made me appreciate it. Simply incredable. Funny Ways. This is perhaps my favorite version of this song. First off, it is preluded by a hilarious Weathers "monolouge". A great intro, IMO. Anyway, to the song. A great feel to it, better than on other live releases of it. But on to my favorite part...the vibe solo! Astounding! Words can not describe the power and complexity of it. And Minnear plays it perfectly! Incredible. The other songs are good, but these ones stand out.

On to the bonus features. Some great stuff. My favorite parts are the videoes for the Interview tracks. The only problem i have with this is that there was some unfortunate lighting choices, and sometimes the lights reflect and make veiwing difficult. But everything is played greatly. Again, i was happy to see some Interview tracks. Next up are the videos from three songs from Giant For A Day!. Not as good. The quality is slightly inferior, as are the songs. But its nice to see those songs played. Finally, there is an "Old Grey And Whistle Test" of Octopus medley (cause what GG live experience is complete without this one?!) The quality isn't that good, and its not my favorite rendition, but it doesnt take anything away from the DVD. The photos are nice to see, and some of them can provide a chuckle. And the bonus CD is a great touch. Very much appreicated.

All in all, GG fans can not pass this up. In reality i would give this a 4.5, but with all the bonus features i feel comfortable awarding it that extra half star. Highly recommended!

Report this review (#74191)
Posted Wednesday, April 5, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars This DVD basically consists of four sections:

1) Concert from early 1978 (The Missing Piece tour) 2) Videos (3 from 1976, 3 from 1978) 3) Picture gallery (1973-1978) 4) Concert footage from 1974-75

The last one (4) is of rather poor quality, and doesn't add much to the disc. Material from the same period appears on the first DVD, and is better represented there.

It's hard not to compare this DVD to the first DVD "Giant On The Box". That DVD captured the band in an earlier period (1974-75), and showed what most fans consider to be "the real Gentle Giant", featuring complex interwoven instruments and melodies. This DVD shows the band in their later years (1976-1978) when the band shifted to a simpler style of music, and songs that are more straightforward rock. The band also looks more "plain" and "modern" on this DVD, less like the early 70's avant rockers with longer hair, etc.

The main feature of this DVD is the 1) Concert. Though the focus is on songs from The Missing Piece, some older tracks are featured, including Funny Ways, Playing the Game, and Free Hand. Some of the songs really rock, such as For Nobody, and Betcha Thought We Couldn't Do it. Memories of Old Days has all band members on guitar (even drummer John Weathers and keyboardist Kerry Minnear pick up the instrument). Singer Derek Shulman plays the small, strange, homemade "Shulberry" guitar on Playing the Game. The concert has better picture and sound quality than the abbreviated concerts on Giant On the Box. The downside is, again, that the music is not as progressive and interesting on this DVD. One song that is particularly not in the Gentle Giant style is Mountain Time. Who took over their bodies for the playing of this song?

The videos are typical lip-sync stuff. Three songs are from 1978's Giant For a Day, and don't really represent what the band was about. Luckily, three songs from 1976's Interview are included. These show the band farther back in time, and closer to their "golden years". The picture quality is quite good too.

The picture gallerys are interesting. Though small, there are even a few pictures with original 6th member Phil Shulman. One of the galleries is set to music, and is sort of like another video.

Overall, this DVD is a must for die-hard Gentle Giant fans. For the general prog. community though, it would be better to check out the other DVD first (i.e. Giant On the Box), which better shows what Gentle Giant was about. I'll admit, this one kind of grows on a person over time, making it easier to appreciate.

Report this review (#74885)
Posted Thursday, April 13, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Just like Giant on the Box, this DVD is a must have to any Gentle Giant fan. It has been filmed in the 'The Missing Piece" era, which most of you don't seem to appreciate as much as their previous outings, but I find is still up to par.

On with the DVD.

It kicks off with a VERY, VERY groovy rendition of Two Weeks in Spain. Great track. Free Hand is simply amazing. The studio version was already complex enough, they were able to make it even more complex AND more groovy. Definitely one of the strong moments of this DVD. On Reflection is, in my opinion, THE best song here, from the first note to the last. Finally seeing this song being played live is jaw dropping to say the least. I'm Turning Around is ok, I personnaly prefer the original studio version. Just the same is great, Playing the Game is another matter. Ray Shulman picks up the guitar in this one and the bass is actually an ugly synthetic bass sound, which causes the song to lose all kick and punch. Definitely better on The Power and the Glory. Memories of Old Days is a unique Gentle Giant piece, and is breathtakingly performed here, with everyone playing guitar (even John Weathers!!!) except singer Derek Shulman playing bass and singing. A great song. Betcha Thought we Could'nt do it rocks, but it has sound issues. Kerry Minnear plays rythm guitar and his guitar overpowers Gary Green's guitar. Derek Shulman apparently forgot some lyrics, as he repeats the same verse all through the song ! Funny Ways is introduced by a hilarious John Weathers (I would like to thank Preparation H, without which I would not be performing here tonight!!!) and is as good as the Giant on the Box version. Again, Minnear's vibraphone solo is a majesty to behold. For Nobody is the hardest rocking track here, and the vocal harmonies in it are very well sung. Mountain Time closes the show in a feel good vibe. The videos, well, are videos, on which the band play and lip synch to the studio recordings. Nothing groundbreaking but fun to watch a couple of times.

All in all, an excellent addition. If, however, you had to choose between this one and Giant on the Box, go with the latter. The song selection contains songs from Octopus and In a Glass House, need I say more ?

Report this review (#83893)
Posted Sunday, July 16, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Finally GG at The GG got home here in Argentina, i already saw the show in some lost low quality file that was around the net some years ago, we always tried to convince BBC to edit this show cause it's awesome.

The first six songs are worthy enough to buy this DVD two times, i also own the origianl Giant On The Box Deluxe edition, and the main difference is that this one sounds more focused on the sound than the previous one were they show what some call "the real gentle giant" wich was mainly a wank fest of instrumental going anywhere, wich is awesome but might get some people bored(especially non-musicians).

Wah Wah solo on Free Hand is just mind blowing one of my favourite original soloing on video/live plus the song is amazingly breath taking.

Anyone that ever appreciated GG, doest matter if you like or dislike Derek's vocals must get this DVD, and the previous one.

The extras arent amazing but theres this photo section with a more relaxing version of Mountain Time that is enjoyable.

Stay Classy

425/5 (Cause there are some weird Punk ramones meets Symphonic Rockish england pop band that sounds weird) at least sounds kind of funny though.

Report this review (#83895)
Posted Sunday, July 16, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is a BBC recording, the sound quality is pretty good and the camera-settings are even better than on GIANT ON THE BOX because you can always see whenever someone of the members is playing a solo. It was a pleasure to see "On Reflection" and many other Free-Hand songs, "Playing The Game" and the outstanding "Funny Ways" live. I was also pretty surprised that "Two Weeks In Spain", "Mountain Time" and "For Nobody" were that rocky. But the song which sweeped me out off my feet was "Memories Of Old Days" where the entire band is playing the guitar (DEREK SHULMAN is playing the bass-guitar here). Just amazing! The order of the songs is sometimes a bit strange: For example "Betcha Thought We Couldn't Do It" seems to be a little bit missplaced because it is played after the calm "Memories Of Old Days" and the also calm "Funny Ways", but it doesn't really fit to the GENTLE GIANT set anyway. Though the vibraphone solo on "Funny Ways" (played by GENTLE GIANT'S keyboarder KERRY MINNEAR) and the entire arrangement of "On Reflection" are really impressing, the freaky solos and parts are somehow a bit missing. However, this is a great DVD!
Report this review (#88311)
Posted Monday, August 28, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars Filmed at Golders Green Hippod, such an interesting "Sight and Sound Concert" footage - even with a commentary track - is worth checking out at least...the music menu is composed by Kenny Minnear and his support is precious as usual (not for his creativity and talent only...)...The first disc represents a 1978 concert and sounds quite fascinating, instead their look is quite forgettable; anyway never mind - in my opinion - cause the present historical document witnesses an important era for G.G ...even though some songs are taken from the album "The Missing Piece", which for me is a bit uneven. After all the picture/quality sound works quite well, especially by appreciating the rare videos inside, but their approach sometimes is not convincing,above all when Derek Shulman plays the bass guitar in a different contest (in comparison to their normal standard), which seems a bit forced by their exigency to capture the attention of the's a minor question, being the emblem of such a great versatility of this strange band.

Add an half star at least!!

Report this review (#94612)
Posted Sunday, October 15, 2006 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
Prog Folk
4 stars Second DVD release from the proggiest of groups, but from the main piece of footage present here, it is clear that the band's better days were behind them, although they still give a good performance, but this proghead can't seem to getting into it as much. It must be said that inferior The Missing Piece album is part of the set and if memory serves they also feature a track from the catastrophic GFAD .album. Minnear's keyboard assortment has grown the equal the caped keyboard avenger Wankerman, Derek's vocals and gesturing are often a bit too much (why didn't GG play more instrumentals to keep his hands busy??) and his intervention on a dumb mini instrument (an electric dysfunctionning ukulele?) in Playing The Game is unworthy of the group. But then again, Derek makes it up in the excellent Memories Of Old Days, where he plays the bass while the two acoustic guitars arpeggio away. As Minnear himself gets on the electric guitar. After such a delicate moment, they feel they must go punk and feared not in playing the noisy Betcha You Thought, which is not the last surprise either. Ray now plays a trumpet (albeit a bit briefly to judge on his skill) on the excellent version of Funny Ways and Minnear proves to be a superior vibes-player than Weathers. Still a good footage and worth having for all fans.

The 76 videos from the In'terview album (my fave without Phil with GH) are abit deceiving because the footage doesn't correspond to the music (the harpsichord is not played and the sax is not heard, but seeing GG play reggae is fun. However the 78 videos are much less enthralling since they feature the awfully AOR-ish Giant For A Day, where we get a shot of the group in its (short) decadence. In the extras we get an Old Grey Whistle Test performance from 74 and featuring (again) the Octopus extracts/medley, only a medium quality shoot and we'll pass on commenting the German Super 8 footage

The same remark can be made on this DVD than the previous package? was there a need to feature a Cd of the main performance?? Most fans would have Playin' the Fool. Nevertheless despite taking place in the later part of the Giant's career, this DVD is almost as good as the GOTB DVD and actually fairly complementary as well. Now all we need is a DVD for their first four albums with Brother Phil in the line-up to make it complete. If tyou're gonna dream, you might as well do it in colour, right??

Report this review (#254049)
Posted Thursday, December 3, 2009 | Review Permalink

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