Review: Live in L.A.
Magazine: Aardschok / Netherlands
Written by: Robbie Woning
Published: October 2001
Shivers down my spine. After months of messages about cancer, refused treatments, chemotherapy and the extremely necessary benefit concerts, the sight of a happily grinning Chuck Schuldiner, conjuring one brilliant solo after the other on my TV-screen, is pretty emotional. It's sad to think that this image may be part of the past forever. Although it's wonderful of course that at least one good concert of the later Death is preserved for posterity. Nuclear Blast states that this DVD/video/CD/double LP was never meant to be released, but that Chuck's current financial problems and the switch over to Control Denied made the label change their minds.

The DVD "Live in L.A." was recorded on December 5th 1998 at the Whisky A Go Go. A venue in Los Angeles where concerts are always to be watched through an internal TV-circuit and, as appears now, are being saved on video. Although the picture at times is somewhat pale and blue and the sound is a little slackened, this almost 80 minute live performance, shot with several cameras paints an excellent picture of the qualities of the latest Death incarnation. The sound was taken right off the soundboard and thus sounds super clean and direct. A little roughnesses in the guitar play show immediately, but are compensated very well by the professional presentation and the impressive performances of the four musicians (what a drummer!).

Compliments for the excellent production: besides Chuck, the other three band members are pictured abundantly. During the solo's the relevant musican is being shot immediately and due to the many close-ups of facial expressions and guitars, the viewer quickly gets the feeling of actually being at the concert. The set during the show is excellent. The band songs musics from every album and with the obstinatly played "Charlie's Angels"- theme in the run-up to "Pull The Plug" there's also room for a less serious moment. Nagging about the sober artwork and the simple DVD-menu seems inappropriate. In the meantime it got around that Nuclear Blast will also be releasing the Dynamo 1998 Death-show this way. More of that later.

Apart from the shortened intro and some shorter pauses in between tracks, the CD version of "Live in L.A." is the soundtrack of the live DVD (which is reviewed elsewhere in this magazine). The CD version is sounding as direct and raw as the DVD. The artwork is as sober. And the music, of course, is brilliant. Personally I prefer the DVD version, because of the visual aspect. Richard Christy's very heavily mixed in, complex drum work and the complicated finger work of the gentlemen Schuldiner, Hamm and Clendenin WITH picture just gives the audio an extra dimension. Those who do not yet have a DVD player will still get one of the most honest and overwhelming live recordings of recent years.



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Translated by YK/MM for EmptyWords-Published on September 22 2001