Monday, June 9, 2008
Roma, Italia - 14 July 2007
June 10, 2008 marks the United States and Canadian release date for When in Rome 2007, a 3-disc DVD set chronicling the "Turn It On Again" Genesis tour of 2007 that includes a documentary of the entire tour process as well as the final gig of the European portion of the tour - a free concert that Genesis played in Rome for 500,000 fans at Circo Massimo. (And while I get why they probably picked that particular show to release on DVD, I also laugh because you know that most of the people who were at that concert are *so* buying the DVD, especially since there are a lot of crowd shots, so many of them will be able to see themselves in the video. I can't imagine how long many of them would have had to wait to get into the concert, especially the ones at the front with the great views. And there were no seats - it was all standing room only.)
In conjunction with the release of the DVD, screenings were held in a number of theatres across the United States of the concert portion of the DVD.
Luckily, there was a screening in Los Angeles at The Bridge, so I went to see the show tonight. Yeah, I was going to be able to see the concert footage once I bought the DVD, but it wasn't going to be on a giant screen with awesome picture and sound. I wasn't sure how much of a crowd to expect, so I was pleasantly surprised that the theatre was about a third full by the time the screening started.
First of all, it was really cool to see the amazing stage set-up. Most of the concerts on the North American portion of the tour were indoors and so used the indoor setup, and while the Hollywood Bowl is outdoors, there's the shell and limited space to contend with. One of the tour drivers that I ended up talking to for several hours in Hartford on the afternoon of the first concert I saw was telling me about the massive outdoor stage, and he was trying to convince me that I needed to go to the East Rutherford, New Jersey concert at Giants Stadium, where they'd have the set-up. I'm wondering if the setup used in Rome is what they used there, and if so, I'm sorry I didn't take his advice and somehow arrange to go to that concert as well. That would have been amazing to see in person.
Overall, it's a very good concert film. It gives you a lot of balance between the bigger shots, so you can see the stage and projections and the like, and the closeups of the band members. I did notice quite a bit of distortion during "The Cinema Show" and "Duke's Travels", and while I like being able to hear the music really well, I think they had the sound turned up too loudly, not realizing how loud those two songs are. It was almost painful to listen to for that length of time, but it wasn't a problem during other instrumentals, so I'm not sure what the problem was.
It was funny that Phil told a translated version of the intro story to "Home By The Sea". In some of the other countries, he didn't necessarily give any of the intro because of the language barrier, but using a combination of English and Italian (usually in the same sentence, which I laughed at), he told most of the beginning of the story. It stopped after he talked about the scary people living in the house, so I don't know if he didn't tell the rest of the story about the scary people being in everyone's houses or if they cut that out of the video. In "Second Home By The Sea", it was nice that there was so much footage of Tony on the keyboards. It was also cool to watch Daryl doing his solos on "Firth of Fifth".
During "I Know What I Like", I liked being able to see some of the montage pictures/video that they showed on the screen. It was also fun to see Phil playing with the audience - they seemed really receptive, and he seemed to have a great time with them.
I happen to love the album version of "Mama" anyway, but the live version they did on this past tour was just amazingly incredible. I was really surprised when I heard it was on the setlist because I can imagine how much it tears up Phil's voice to do some of what he needs to do in the song, but he sounded great, and the rhythms of the song were just amazing. And followed up after that was "Ripples", something I never thought I'd be able to see them perform live. Yes, the album version is terrific, but with the full sound and maturity, it's really an incredible experience to see and hear, especially since Phil sings just amazingly on this one, so sweet and sincere. Even though musically and thematically, "Mama" and "Ripples" are almost polar opposites, it's really a good match having the two songs together, and I think it's the most powerful section of the entire concert, with the pervasive sensuality of "Mama" followed by the movingly beautiful innocence of "Ripples". Yeah, I know, I'm gushing, but I know I'm not the only one who feels that way about "Ripples". In all of the concerts I went to, that was the one song (during the chorus portion) where you could hear the most people singing along to a song.
I was a little surprised that Phil did do the "Domino" intro, which he did need translated in parts, and boy, when he talked about the "tiny people in the back" (I also laughed when he said the Italian translation), they were seriously tiny, given the spaciousness of the venue.
And then came the part where I realized I must be the biggest idiot on the face of the planet. With as many times as I saw the show, I never realized that at the beginning of the drum duet, or "Conversations with Two Stools" as they call it, that it was actually two stools that they were initially playing on! I had just thought they were two different drums. But it was nice to be able to see close-up shots of both Phil and Chester during that entire segment.
I have to say that I just laugh at the people who are so shocked when Phil drops an f-bomb during "Invisible Touch" - NEWBIES!!!!! But the fireworks at the end of the song in this venue were INCREDIBLE!
I had loved that the last song of the concert was a re-done version of "The Carpet Crawlers". What a terrific song to end the night with, something that's so classic Genesis.
And how frickin' appropriate is it that during the end credits for the concert DVD, they have "Fading Lights" playing over them? That was so awesome because that's what they played as the exit music in the venue when the concert was over and the people were leaving, and it was the perfect song to play in that instance as well.
I can't wait to get the DVD to see the documentary and other special features.
If you're interested in reading my full report of the "Turn It On Again" tour, click here.