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GIANT ON THE BOX

Gentle Giant

Eclectic Prog


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erik neuteboom
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars It took a while before I discovered the unique prog rock from GENTLE GIANT. I was heavenly into GENESIS, YES and ELP until there was that stunning TV-appearance from GENTLE GIANT on the Dutch television in the late Seventies, the next day I immediately bought the live 2-LP "Playing The Fool". And what a pleasant surprise: that moment, originally a German TV recording in a Belgian studio with audience, has been released as a special CD/DVD box. The CD contains 8 tracks from the 'Sunday Concert' on the German television ('74) including songs like "Cogs In Cogs", "Funny Ways", "The Runaway" and "So Sincere". The DVD contains the German Concert (same as the CD), a US TV Concert ('75) with 4 songs, Szene '74 (3 minutes from the European tour) and some Extras: Baroque & Roll with 22 minutes live footage and interviews from Italian television and a Photo Gallery.

Back to the music from GENTLE GIANT, that sounds far from mainstream or accessible. I used to call it 'conservatory prog': every member plays at least three instruments, the musicians are very skilled and the interplay is breathtaking, for instance an acoustic duet that for sure has inspired SPOCK'S BEARD! The music is very varied with strong vocals: from bombastic keyboards (lots of clavinet) and fiery electric guitar till a classical interlude with three members on flute or pieces with trumpet, violin or xylophone. GENTLE GIANT: a great discovery!

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Send comments to erik neuteboom (BETA) | Report this review (#33600)
Posted Friday, December 24, 2004 | Review Permalink
Menswear
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars One word: WoO-HoO!

This is what I call an essential DVD. Oh man, ANY fan of GG should try to save money and get his chubby fingers on this one. Because this is the ultimate GG experience, but also a fun, complete package of GG's history and to finally get to know them better in interview. It is your only chance to see how awesome musicans (especially Ray Shulmann and Kerry Minnear) they were. John Weathers is absolutely bombastic and unchained on the drums. This guy is acting so strangely, it has to be seen. Apart from the relatively obscure setlist there's a flute collective, a percussion bashing and some radical xylophone solos. Dereck is giving all he can by being....er...himself I guess. He acts 'BIG' and it gives a good show I can tell ya that.

Super extras like photos and rare footage, a live cd of the performance in Switzerland gives this a maximum replay value. It's as simple as that. The perfect package they needed to get new fans and make the old ones go crazy. It's so rejoycing to own such a quality product. It blows my expectations away.

It has to be seen. You won't have ANY regrets. You just can't lose with a package like that.

With Rush In Rio and Glass Hammer Lex Rex Live, this takes place in the classic DVD section.

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Send comments to Menswear (BETA) | Report this review (#33602)
Posted Sunday, January 23, 2005 | Review Permalink
richardh
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars One of my favourite DVD's. Gentle Giant are something to behold live ..the energy and brilliance in their playing is quite startling at times.This concert footage from German and American TV shows captures them at their best without doubt.Can't recommend it enough even if the sound is mono and the picture quality is slightly grainy.

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Send comments to richardh (BETA) | Report this review (#33604)
Posted Sunday, February 06, 2005 | Review Permalink
tothmpsn@yaho
4 stars Freakin' Amazing.

I was too young to see Gentle Giant live when they were at their peak. I've been a Giant fan since the first time I heard "In A Glass House", and I've always been stunned by their pure musicianship, mastery of instruments, and ability to utilize time signatures and insane vocal parts within the structure of some great rock music.

Then I saw the DVD and realized that they could do all of this live and unedited. Wow.

This is a five-star release for any Giant fan and any fan of ultra-complex prog. I can't justify putting a DVD with some song repeats and some questionable camerawork in the same 5-star range as "Close To The Edge" or "Misplaced Childhood", but this is a fantastic live document.

Let's hope all the other classic prog bands release footage of the glory days, not what they are today!!!

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#33605)
Posted Thursday, March 10, 2005 | Review Permalink
wietrie@yahoo
5 stars Whoa ! Just got this yesterday....talk about sheer prog heaven! Been a fan for years but never got to see them live...now I have them in my living room! They were and still are so funky for a prog band!!! Vibes solos by Kerry are absolutely brilliant. Gary & Ray on the acoustic guitars are also a thrill..... but that massive drum piece with all members is what unity is all about. They had so much fun...it is infectious.

A must see...must buy DVD. And Kerry, please release some of that funky clavinet music.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#33606)
Posted Tuesday, March 15, 2005 | Review Permalink
wallclanman@y
5 stars This is soooo simple. It's Gentle Giant at their peak. I saw GG seven times in two different countries, and there has never been a band (outside of the seventies YES or GENESIS w/Gabriel) that had the dynamics , and yes, the POWER and the GLORY of GG. The great sadness is that this band of virtuoso musicians is so unknown by the 90's and 00 generations.Recently I put Free Hand on in the car with my 15 year old son and his eyes lit up. "WHO IS THIS dad?" he exclaimed. I tried to explain the the band and their interactions live on stage, but HOW do you explain the TOTALLY EXTRODINARY experience that was GG live? After much searching I was able to buy this DVD. When I put it on for him, well, he just sat mesmorized. Such was the effect seeing the band live had on on me as a sixteen year old kid in 1972. My heart is still broken that there was never a reunion. Much like an old love that you are reunited with after 20 years, it could never be the same. God bless the Schulmans and their cohorts (Gary Green SMOKES here). I stopped listening to Grand Funk and turned my attention to GG, classical music, and English folk acts. Their music WILL BE REMEMBERED and listened to by generations to come, starting with my 15 yearold kid. He now brings his friends over to turn them on to GG live! BUY THIS! Play it for your teenagers, then put it in a vault!

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#33607)
Posted Sunday, March 20, 2005 | Review Permalink
Bj-1
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars About time this band released a DVD and it surely didn't disappoint. It includes a 50-minute show from Germany, a 30 minute show from Long Beach in California, a few interviews and some photos from guitarist Gary Green's private photo collection. The Germany show was absolutely wonderful and really shows the band at their peak on performing. The setlist mainly focus on the "Octopus", "In a Glass House" and "Power & the Glory" material although a great version of "Funny Ways" from their debut album is performed here too. This track includes one of keyboardist Kerry Minnear's brilliant vibraphone solo's which has to be seen to be believed, it really shows his multi-musician talent. The shows ends with "So Sincere" and the "Drum and percussion bash" which is an entertaining ending climax for the already amazing show! The Long Beach performance was nearly as good and again shows the band's wonderful engagement and usual perfect playing on the stage. As mentioned, this show is shorter but has similar setlist as on the Germany show (although only four songs from it.) The rest of the material featured on the DVD should interest fans of this band, while more causual listeners should get this for the two live performances.

Overall, absolutely essential if you are a Gentle Giant fan. It's very solid put together and the shows are definitely must sees of the highest grade if you are into GG. Check out Kerry's newly composed music on the title menu of the DVD as well, sounds like a modern reincarnation of Giant's "Free Hand" days! Also check out the special edition which features an audio cd of the Germany show! Highly recommended!

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Send comments to Bj-1 (BETA) | Report this review (#33608)
Posted Saturday, April 16, 2005 | Review Permalink
soundsweird
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars I couldn't wait to see and hear this, after reading all of the glowing reviews here and elsewhere. Nowhere had anyone mentioned whether the sound was mono or stereo, so I was holding out hope that, somehow, these live recordings made for television might be in true stereo. Well, they're not. That's the bad news. Once you get past that, and start watching these guys do their thing, it almost doesn't matter. It helps that I saw them at the Armadillo World Headquarters at about the same time these were done (and I can assure you that I consider that concert one of the very best I've ever experienced). Sometimes, the sound quality is a problem in that the performers are playing such fast, intricate music that the whole thing gets muddy and/or distorted. And others have already mentioned that the unprofessional camera work and unappreciative audience occasionally drag things down. It's criminal that this band, who did everything well, is virtually unknown today, except to the "enlightened few".

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Send comments to soundsweird (BETA) | Report this review (#33609)
Posted Friday, April 22, 2005 | Review Permalink
donald.mayo@b
5 stars At last GG releases a dvd. All I can say is that it's been a 30 year wait to see this band in action. One of the greatest progessive acts to ever hit a stage. I really like the way they animate and kick their legs. The drummer is very good with his facial and body movements. Of course GG is a class act. They define music in this genre. I would recommend this dvd to anyone who has an interest in 70's prog.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#35937)
Posted Thursday, June 09, 2005 | Review Permalink
Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This DVD / CD box set is a must have for those who love seventies prog rock music. Having been approximately thirty years listening to the band's music and has never had a chance to see them on stage or through video, the release of this Giant On The Box, presented in DVD (plus bonus CD), has created an excitement for me to enjoy their 70's live performance. The first time I watched the DVD at the first track "Cogs in Cogs" performed on the German TV station ZDF my pulse was racing very rapidly, being amazed by what I saw on my TV screen. I could not believe what I saw. Spontaneously, I shout: "Oh my God . What a fabulous live performance!". I was then hooked to the show, sitting on the couch watching the show until it ends and repeating it again. Speechless. Oh man . this show is really great! I remember vividly when I first listened to their double LP "Playing The Fool" or "King Biscuit Flower Hour", "Out of The Fire (BBC") and some bootlegs, I always imagined how the band played the instruments as I heard so many sounds produced from different musical instruments. And the next question was: Who played that instruments? Other additional musicians? But how come the band did not mention the guest musicians? Yes, this live DVD has answered my question (in nearly 30 years!): each member of the band plays at least four types of instruments!

It's a highly recommended purchase. You will not regret owning it. Even though the picture quality is not excellent. But, what do you expect, it was recorded in the seventies!

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Send comments to Gatot (BETA) | Report this review (#42241)
Posted Tuesday, August 09, 2005 | Review Permalink
c.chiasson@sy
4 stars Thanks the lord we can see Gentle Giant live with this dvd,I am so happy to see them perform and play a lot of great songs and give their best on stage.Look the drum solo with all the guys playing on one drum and rock the place...the vibe solo is wonderful.The only way to see them,run to your local store and buy this dvd and you have a live cd in prime,this guys are genius in the way they used theirs voices and all the instruments tha they play.By the way ,I hope they got more dvd stuff to get out...buy this and you will be surprise and happy to get this dvd-cd of G.G.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#42260)
Posted Tuesday, August 09, 2005 | Review Permalink
pmroche@msn.c
4 stars This is incredible stuff. The musicianship these five guys display here is jaw-dropping. Watch in astonishment as Ray Shulman, Derek Shulman, Gary Green, John Weathers and Kerry Minnear flawlessly play over a dozen different instruments, including vibes, violin, cello and recorders--sometimes swapping them with each other in the middle of a piece. No one man should be allowed to have as much musical talent as Ray Shulman. I almost puked watching him jam away on an acoustic guitar duet with Gary Green, then the next minute he's bowing his fiddle or laying down some nimble bass lines. No band today does it like this anymore, melding virtuosity with musical audacity and juggling every genre from classical and medieval to folk and heavy metal. And the band members were only in their 20's back in 1974-75! Just sickeningly talented, Gentle Giant ply their craft here for the ages. A great video from the progressive treasure chest.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#44746)
Posted Monday, August 29, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars To all the fans of good music, that is an excellent purchase. But to a real progressive fan, this is a must. If you don't know gentle giant yet, you can expect one of most complex bands, along with ELP. Mind blowing, just like almost every prog band should be. A demonstration of how a musician can get to the limit, a show where synchronicity is amazing among excellent and genius folks. If you want something to challenge your mind every time you listen, try Gentle Giant.

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Send comments to Rafael In Rio (BETA) | Report this review (#60980)
Posted Tuesday, December 20, 2005 | Review Permalink
Melomaniac
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars I have been a GG nut ever since I discovered them in 1992 (my eternal thanks to my friend Hugo for allowing me to discover them) and I obviously never saw them in concert. So when I heard this DVD was to hit the market, I was so thrilled. When I viewed the concert, my jaw was wide open all the way through. I knew each of these guys played many instruments, but man, this is crazy!!! Each member is a one-man band! Kerry Minnear's vibes solo in Funny Ways is simply breathtaking to behold and to listen to. What really amazed is that GG managed to make such complex music groovy!!! Even if the performance here is not flawless (though they were a hair close to it) and the sound is not that great (this was filmed in 1974 in a television studio), the mere fact of having this chance to see the most talented band of all time live onstage is worth five stars.

Hail to Power and Glory's Way !!! Hail Gentle Giant !!!

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Send comments to Melomaniac (BETA) | Report this review (#80780)
Posted Friday, June 09, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars This DVD contains all the great GENTLE GIANT song's that fans of this band love so much. It is a pleasure to see how technically good those guys are, just take the bassist RAY SHULMAN: He plays bass, violin, trumpet and he sings, or take GENTLE GIANT's keyboarder KERRY MINNEAR: He plays the keys, cello, recorder and vibraphone (he has an outstanding vibe-solo on "Funny Ways"). The entire band shows its best, GARY GREEN's solos on the guitar are very impressive, JOHN WEATHER's holds all the syncopated beats and I think he is the man who rocks most (it is simply awesome to see how he is a part of the music). DEREK SHULMAN who sings each song (even the parts which on CD are sung by KERRY MINNEAR) plays also bass, saxophone and recorder and convinces in each song.

GIANT ON THE BOX contains two gigs: the first was given in Brussels in 1974 (ZDF-Sonntagskonzert) and the second was given in Long Beach, California, USA at Terrace Theater in 1975.

The first gig is longer and icludes more songs than the second gig, but both are pretty good!

About the first gig: I couldn't believe it as the audience didn't applaud after the first song "Cogs In Cogs". But the giants didn't care and kept on playing. At last, after the two songs "Procalamation" and "Funny Ways" (the band connected both tracks) the audience applauded. The intro of "The Runaway" is as always amazing, Experience rocks a lot, in "Features From Octopus" GENTLE GIANT shows their virtuosity and the dissonant "So Sincere" has a great drumbash (DEREK SHULMAN used to call it "drum insanity") right at the end. Great gig!

The second gig is also very good, though it is much shorter than the first one. The band plays four of the songs they played on the first gig, or, no, actually there are three songs played (though the list tells something else: "Features From Octopus" and "The Advent of Panurge" is the same as "Features Of Octopus" on the first gig). In the song "Funny Ways" KERRY MINNEAR's cello is a bit out of tune, so the band has to tune it up again, but that's not bad, those things simply happen on when playing live. The vibraphone-solo is of course amazing again!

There are some other interesting features on GIANT ON THE BOX like some pictures from GARY GREEN's private photo-collection and there is also a documentation about GENTLE GIANT, admitettly it is in Italian, so you don't understand a word, if your not from Italy.

However, this DVD is a must, not only for GENTLE GIANT-fans, it is a must for all those people who love prog.

Five stars!!!

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Send comments to Badabec (BETA) | Report this review (#89166)
Posted Thursday, September 07, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is one of the best Prog DVD releases ever! It contains two full giant concerts from the The Power and the Glory tour, one shot in a sterile German TV studio and the other in a small Los Angeles Theatre. This is truly the band in their prime days, the glory and confidence each member has while flawlessly making love to each of their instruments is phenomenal. The band play songs from The Power and the Glory, In a Glass House, Octopus and of course "Funny Ways" from the debut. The "Features from Octopus" section is excellent, the band run through a few highlights of the album, and the dual acoustic showdown between Gary Green and Ray Shulman is magnificent. The band adds a few variations and always keeps things fresh.

There are a few bonus features, like the band playing a severly modified version of "In a Glass House" and a Italian interview segment. Nothing to write home about but welcome additions.

The picture quality of both shows is very good, the German broadcast is a little fuzzy and the Los Angeles is very clear, but also shorter. Sound is a little bit congested and sharp but very very listenable. Packaging is solid, with a small booklet and a bonus CD of both concerts.

4.5 Stars, essential for Gentle Giant fans and recommended for everybody.

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Send comments to OGTL (BETA) | Report this review (#115458)
Posted Saturday, March 17, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Simply put, it is a must see. This is the first DVD ever released by the band and it is not disapointing. Two shows are on the DVD and were recorded shortly after the release of The power and the glory. One is in Germany with a really death crowd and one in the US. The only negative point is the image quality of the German show, but it doesn't really bother. There are a lot of extra too, like interviews and a picture galllery.

You know, it's one thing to listen to their music, to watch them play that music is completely different.

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Send comments to JR222 (BETA) | Report this review (#126875)
Posted Tuesday, June 26, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is the first Gentle Giant I've listened to. At first, I thought it was really good, just the recording was bad (FYI, I wasn't quickly aware that it was a live album, since I had it in audio). Then I started listening to more albums and quickly found out that this was a actually a live album. I was starstruck, this had to be the best prog live ever made. Ever... It is composed with all the classic GG work, but better. More aggressive and faster, but not too aggressive, just in a perfect way. Seriously people, every song sounds so much better. It seems that Kerry Minnear, the keyboardist, replaced the original Hammond Organ with an awkward Moog lead. You can hear the difference in the live versions of Cogs in Cogs and The Runaway. I would also add that the performance of the band on video is also perfect, the band just [%*!#]ing cool. You can actually see the band playing with all these crazy instruments you wish you played. Only problem is the crowd, these guys are kinda stiff. First song, Cogs In Cogs is made in a much more aggressive way, the drums are faster and the vocals much cooler. Also I might want to add that the raw production of this live album makes the song much better. Second Proclamation off the same album as Cogs. Still better than the original, sure it's shorter, but there's a much better lead presentation. Then we have the best remake off the album: Funny Ways, starts off with an amazing violin solo, I mean it's perfect, then they remake the song with it's faster, and really better. You really hear the trumpet, and there's also a sweet xylophone solo, just bliss. Then my personal favorite The Runaway, the raw production then again makes it better, and the sound is just crazy mayhem! Minnear's moog gives it a second bass, that he constantly keeps playing all the time. Then the song finishes with the main riff off Experience. I would also like to add that it was a great idea to make Derek Shulman the lead singer of all the songs. Nothing really to add on this one, except that it just sounds better. Then there's the crazy Features From Octopus, primarily featuring the song Knots, off Octopus. And a killer acoustic guitar solo. These guys can really play everything. The two last songs don't have much special addition, they just sound better because of the Hammond -> Moog replacement. But just Advent of Panurge has an insane flute solo, and So Sincere has a crazy five minute drum solo ending.

So yeah, this is a remarkable album, a must have. Anybody that is new or even if they've known them for ever. This is their best.

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Send comments to Grimfurg (BETA) | Report this review (#159006)
Posted Saturday, January 19, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Gentle Giant has released a great document from 1974 and 75. A truly unique band that deserves wider recognition. The band strove to play music which satisfied artistic ambitions but did not gain mass appeal. I like the social comentary they include in the lyrics and as the 70's progressed the band tried to evolve with the changing music scene. This DVD shows GG at their prime. It should not be missed by any fan of this genre.

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Send comments to mayod1 (BETA) | Report this review (#162360)
Posted Friday, February 22, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars For those of us that have been tracking down Gentle Giant live material for years, there is nothing new here, with the exception of finally have a good sounding live version of Cogs in Cogs. Most of this material can be found on Playing the Fool, the King Biscuit live album, Totally Out Of The Woods, and various bootlegs.

But this is the first time (unless you were one of the lucky few to see them live back in the day) we get to actually SEE them perform these fantastic songs. There is no reason any fan of this band shouldn't have this already, but if you are relatively new, don't hesitate to pick this up. Watching them play switch between all the different instruments and play them all nearly flawlessly is enough reason to get this DVD. Absolutely incredible. The dual acoustic guitar in Excerpts From Octopus is mind blowing, as is Ray Schulman's versatility on bass, violin, trumpet and percussion. They all have a go in percussion at the end of So Sincere. On top of all this, they are animated (except for Kerry) and look like they are truly enjoying themselves.

Great performances all around, just as you would expect from such a great band. I would love to give this 5 stars, but I don't the performances are quite up to the excellence that is found on Playing the Fool (which was, of course, recorded 4 years later). But consider this absolutely essential for anyone with even a mild interest in this band.

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Send comments to infandous (BETA) | Report this review (#162361)
Posted Friday, February 22, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars As one of the most original bands of pregresive, Gentle Giant bring us a marvelous experience with this material on stage.

This Dvd is a piece that any fan of the genre must have. The perfomance of the band is great, we can see the develpment of their most popular songs alive, first in a germany tv show when the audience ins a little quiet. The second concert, for the U.S tv is with a more energy.

The changes of instruments, the power on stage, the improvisation with the flutes, the drums, the xilophone and all the aspects in general become this material in something essential.

The sound is not perfect but all the visual aspects is awsome.

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Send comments to FrippZappa (BETA) | Report this review (#171878)
Posted Wednesday, May 21, 2008 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars One of the best DVDs I ever saw and a must have for any GG fan! It was a dream come true when I found it. I remember when I was 17 seeing some excerpts from the Octupus album being played on TV and my friends and I were completely mesmerized by their incredible perfomance. It took me almost 30 years to see the whole concert. But it was worth it!

This DVD is composed of two different shows: one for a german TV in 1974 and the other was a special recorded during a concert in Long Beach, USA, in 1975. Musicly speaking the german shots are better, for it has more songs and the final percussive bashing with all the band members is really jaw dropping. Unfortunatly the film quality is not really good, grainy and with bad coloring, and the camera angles are sometimes very amateurish (it seems they were fascinated by drummer John Weathers). On the other side we have a shorter, but much more professionaly recorded, set for the Rock Concert series. Although the sound is not perfect (just listen to the beginning of Derek Shulman´s vocals in Experience. It is very low in the mix. Fortunaly it is quickly fixed as the song goes on), it is also prog´s delight: Gentle Giant was not only one of the most talented, complex, intriguing and original bands in the world. They were great live, not only capable of playing those intricated tunes outside the studio´s trickery, but also had a strong stage presence. I was amazed by how convincing and exciting they were in person. Certainly Derek Shulman was the right frontman fro the band. And their musicanship (including the swapping of instruments) is something you have to see to believe.

Gentle Giant was one of the most amazing bands I ever heard and this DVD proves they were really one of a kind type of group. I would love to give a 5 star rating for its muscianship and performance. But due the annoying technological flaws on both concerts, four stars is more fitting overall. Still, Giant On the Box is an essential item for any prog fan.

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Send comments to Tarcisio Moura (BETA) | Report this review (#192672)
Posted Friday, December 12, 2008 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk
4 stars One of the two definitive DVD about the proggiest of all 70's groups, , GOTB captures the group around the years 74 and 75, while GGaGG concentrates between 76 & 78. We're catching the band after the release of TP&TG, so we are without Phil Shulman (and so is the group)?. But the group proposed tracks from as early as Octopus in their everyday concerts.

Starting with a 50 minutes German TV concert, the set is magical and we gert to see plenty of individual shots, the multiple cameras catching the players when they're at the start of their solos, which means that the montage was extremely well done. Seeing Ray fill in (no pun intended) for his brother on vocals and regrouping the sax and violin playing gives the band new stage tightness. Weather's madman appearance is almost confirmed with his all-enthusiastic stool dance. Green is his equal self, opposite the stage fro Minnear in his all white outfit keyboards and cello, with only his flute being black. The two Shulman (both sporting white pats and dark shirts) left occupy centre front stage on vocals, acoustic guitar, bass, sax, violin and the other flute. The only two bad points from this broadcast footage is that Ray's sax is inaudible in the mix and weird keyboard loop passage where the band recup at the risk of being thought of play back. The group features tracks from TP, GH and Octopus mainly in that order and the interest of the set is constantly on the rise.

The US TV broadcast of the following year is shorter but carries almost the same second half so the main difference will be the TV shooting and settings and sound, which is . Minnear is not nearly as white (his instruments aren't anymore), Derek's stage presence is a bit exaggerated, Weathers still running the drum stool in the ground et... Most of this 30- mins broadcast is around the Octopus feature, so you'll have plenty to compare. I prefer the German performance

The remaining features are an almost forgettable German tidbit from a single camera and awful saturated sound (they sound like early Rush) while the Italian appearance again featuring the Octopus excerpts and a funny/interesting interview in which they seem to be getting an extremely appreciative welcome.

An excellent DVD that comes coupled a bit needlessly with a Cd of that German broadcast. I find it to be mostly useless because most fans will have the previous posthumous release holding concert from that era (the Woods/BBC releases, for ex.)

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#254048)
Posted Thursday, December 03, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is probably the most deceiving "5" around. The concert is absolutely essential - this band is AMAZING live. And I'm not the type to abuse capital letters. It's only serious deficiency is that the shorter show is completely unnecessary - the longer show encompasses all the same songs and more and the performances are actually superior. But it comes with a bonus audio CD that has both shows on it, and that's just nice of them, so I'll kindly leave it a 5 (though I don't remember if the disc contains "Szene '74" or not - I think it doesn't).

Now, the show. First of all, layout is easy. And the opening music? Awesome, just awesome. I'd have no reservations about the "5" if only that had been put on the bonus disc, too. Then you get four options: the superfluous short show, the full show (about an hour long), some extras that are fine for a quick look, including Derek being interviewed on VH1 (I can't tell if Eddie Trunk is a real GG fan or not - my guess is that he is), and a 3-minute jam where more than one person is playing bass guitar called "Szene '74". It's one of the essential components of the Gentle Giant puzzle - anybody who thinks the band is for wimps because of their minstrelly inclinations can listen to "Szene '74" where GG embarrasses every hard rock / metal band in the world. They really, truly ROCK! Again, notice the caps and remember my usual conservatism about them.

It's amazing how casually this band performs these songs. They're having fun, getting into the music, playing it with more energy and enthusiasm than on the record - it's totally effortless, and they DO NOT MISS A SINGLE NOTE! That probably isn't exactly true, but tell me if you're able to spot one (I am, actually, able to find one - while they're all playing the recorder during "Advent of Panurge". Derek screws up, and thank God the camera is on him, because for about a full second he looks pretty pissed about it). The band's energy is truly fascinating. They aren't hyper nerds who sit around meekly plucking out their puzzle-rock. They're rockstars pumping out their puzzle-rock at mass volume and meaning every lick of it.

There's a good reason Gentle Giant are among the biggest, if not the biggest, cult bands in the world. This stuff just can't be denied by anybody but a record executive (funny aside: in his VH1 appearance, Derek confesses that if a Gentle Giant record had been placed on his desk in the 80s while he was busy making stars out of Bon Jovi and Cinderella, he'd have said, "This is a great little rock and roll band, but I'd never sign them"). Some of their records are essential, but this DVD is absolutely as essential as any of them. And I'm typically not all that interested in concert DVDs. But this one has to be seen to be believed. What an incredible band.

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Send comments to KyleSchmidlin (BETA) | Report this review (#354680)
Posted Wednesday, December 15, 2010 | Review Permalink

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