VISUAL SOUND THEORIES: REVIEW THREAD

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MikeJem
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#61 Post by MikeJem » Sun Nov 11, 2007 8:21 am

Hello!

I've got my copy for about 2 weeks and I've watched it for about 10 times now. It is a masterpiece of the music. I recommend this DVD to all the people who likes melody and virtuosy. You can see very well the guitar technic and the melody ear that posesed Steve!
I've cryed during watching this concert!
Thank God for Steve Vai!

On the beginning of "Behinds the Scenes" is a funny thing that Steve shows his wife and "tells": she is a great women!

Regards,
Mike

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Samuele
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Visual Sound Theories

#62 Post by Samuele » Sun Nov 11, 2007 10:15 am

I wanted to share with you a brief summary of my first week of watching Visual Sound Theories. I tried to be as much sincere as I can be, wearing my heart on my sleeve. Hopefully, Steve too will read this at some point.

The Artwork – Mikey, you really hit home run with it. To me, this DVD has the best cover and artwork concept ever. I find myself staring at it, like a true work of the finest art. Like you guys mention on the commentary track, all of the images that make up the artwork for the CDs and DVD are very much visually and conceptually cohesive. My favorite pics from the menus are the main one (where Steve is holding the G clef) and the bonus features one (where Steve is “weaving the Sound Theories”). Hat off to you man, I am enthralled.

The Performances – Oh boy, what do I begin with? To say that the songs (any one of them) sound fresh and captivating is a huge understatement. I enjoyed every single nanosecond of the whole show, I couldn’t get my eyes off the tv screen. The sound is very clear and well balanced, I think I can hear every instrument even just with the TV’s speakers – imagine listening to that with a good set of 5.1 surround sound speakers.

The editing is also very nicely taken care of (thanks Jason!). Obviously Steve gets most of the footage time, but you notice how every orchestra section gets some good shot too, especially when there is a particular part which highlights it. Like Mikey says in the commentary, you become aware of instruments (e.g. the triangle) you might not have noticed before. The overall use of the camera is clearly at the service of the music, which is how it always should be, I daresay. Then there’s the footage of the percussionists, which is way interesting and funny – like the beating of the garbage can, or the breaking of the bassdrum’s skin at the end of The Murder. The camera angles on Steve are also (if possible) better that on the Astoria DVD, capturing equal times of him as a whole, his hands, and his facial expressions. Very balanced, should I say, and probably the best live footage of Steve so far (even without the uplights, Steve!).

I watched the show along with the commentary track in its entirety twice, and very often found myself thinking things like “gosh, that’s so true!”, when a particular remark came up. I very often found myself laughing, too – like when Steve mentions Robert Fripp’s comment on The Murder, or when Jason points out a particular shot as being the 97th take! I think I enjoy watching the show with the commentary track just as much as with the “regular” audio. It’s so enjoyable, insightful, funny and deeply moving in both ways that I can’t decide what I prefer - right now. Well, of course the music is what the video is there for, and therefore is the most important (and most enjoyable) thing.

I love every song performed, but if I really had to pick a favorite among the ones that feature Steve, that would be Lotus Feet. The sun, the moon, the stars, the whole creation echo in that song. It’s a very well rounded piece of music and the one that moves me the most here. It feels to me like every single note and articulation has a meaning, even though I could never explain to anybody that meaning. My favorite section of the song has always been the last part of the solo, where Steve tells his fingers to just “shut up and relax” despite the speed of the notes. On the other hand, I'm Becoming brings a tear to my eye, too.

Among the orchestra-only compositions, my favorite would be Frangelica – particularly the second movement, the parts that feature the whole orchestra and also the final lydian cadenza with the contrabass clarinet solo (love Steve’s comment on the last harmonic!). I sometimes find adjectives like beautiful, impressive, stunning or mesmerizing to be so inadequate to convey the true feelings I get from watching these performances. Other songs I really dig are The Murder (with body language), I’m Becoming, Salamanders In The Sun, For The Love Of God, The God Eaters, The Attitude Song, Answers, Liberty, Gentle Ways, Shadows And Sparks… but wait, wait a moment, I am mentioning all of them!

One more thing - the performance of Shadow and Sparks (especially with the commentary audio in the background) made me think of how Steve wanted this show to NOT be just what you see at “classical” classical concerts – an audience just looking at the orchestra perform the music. I daresay he really wanted it to be an all rounded show to be experienced at more than just one level. I think of Steve conducting the audience and then passing the baton on to Dick Bakker, or even his wish that the 1st violin player could dance and spin while playing among the audience as approaching to the stage. I love this concept.

The Bonus Tracks – Please forgive me for the expression, but this really is the icing on the cake. Watching Bledsoe being performed had me pay more attention to the orchestra members and their visual reactions to what they were playing. You know, you look at the faces and realize how much they are enjoying what they are playing. There are people smiling, raising their eyebrows, even laughing (yet still maintaining their high-profile composure) so that by now you should understand Steve when he says he can’t help but let his body speak when he plays. In the same way, Chris Opperman at the piano during Bledsoe also comes to my mind – I love his parts on this piece.

Since I’ve been so fortunate to take part to this summer’s Evo experience, I already had the “Behind the Scenes” featurette, but it’s cool to have a spare official copy of it. Steve handing a strawberry to a little child is one of the images that stuck in my mind since the first time I saw this video – very sweet (and funny joke after that!) The footage from the rehearsals is very cool too, especially Steve giving directions as to how the compositions should be performed.

The interview at the Oosterpoort starts out nice and simple, but ends up very insightful and inspiring. When the last couple of answers came up I thought (again) “that’s so true!” – particularly when Steve says we need music as much as we need food or sleep as it’s our birthright. Great stuff, and very nice to see Steve a little more at ease (for an interview) because of Co.

“Steve speaks” is probably the sweetest part of Steve talking to the audience. At certain points it almost looks like he has tears of joy in his eyes, and that’s beautiful – this tells you how dear the Aching Hunger project was to him. The moments where the orchestra plays Happy Birthday to Pia and when Steve calls Tom Trapp up to the stage are very special and meaningful. Talking about that in greater detail would spoil the magic, so I suggest you just watch and enjoy them.

I know I say this at every new release, but… Steve, how am I going to properly thank you for this beauty you (yes, with the help of some great people – big thanks to all of them, too) made available to us? I absolutely can’t. I’d also like you to know that – as silly as it may sound – whatever happens in my everyday life, when I go back watching this DVD (or listening to the CDs) any misery is washed away and life is good again. It’s really sort of a safe haven for me to escape to when I need it. Thank you for that, and remember what I told you last July in Rome? Whatever you do, I’m gonna like it – I can’t help it.

See you next time on tour.

- And it’s not over yet! - :)
Last edited by Samuele on Wed Feb 06, 2008 1:56 am, edited 1 time in total.

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#63 Post by theriddler14 » Mon Nov 12, 2007 3:22 pm

gentle ways is a good song and all but, the version with the orchestra is pure awsomness with a cherry on top

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Re: Visual Sound Theories

#64 Post by mroppy » Thu Nov 15, 2007 5:25 pm

Samuele wrote:The Bonus Tracks – In the same way, Chris Opperman at the piano during Bledsoe also comes to my mind – I love his parts on this piece.
In the interest of giving credit where it is due, I did not play at all on any of the tracks on the DVD. But thanks for the kind words anyway. :)

Chris

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#65 Post by pjaydee » Sun Nov 18, 2007 2:35 pm

Ive just got my copy and well what can i say..this is one of the best things i have EVER seen, fantastic from start to finish. When Steve plays The God Eaters and the Murder Prologue...well just awesome, i thought "hendrix is alive" totally incredible. Talent does what it can Genius does what it must!

Im off to watch again....WOW!

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#66 Post by fp77&ep7owner » Mon Nov 19, 2007 2:03 pm

This DVD is now my favorite Vai DVD. I truely hope this is just the beginning of some great things to come. I enjoy Steve Vai "the composer" even more than Steve Vai "the guitar player." (and that's saying alot) Steve is a complete musician which really sets him apart from any other famous guitar player that I can think of.

I'm also very impressed with the project as a whole. Steve was really lucky to work with so many great musicians who were willing to spend the time needed to make this project successful. As a member of an orcherstra, I know exactly how some musicians view non-classical music. Most of today's modern music is simply ignored by some orchestra's and that is truely sad. Grats to Steve and to everyone involved with this unique progject!!!

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#67 Post by killerqueen » Tue Nov 20, 2007 1:25 pm

WOW!

I really really like this one..
Just a shame I've gotten to know this man a bit too late to enjoy this concert!


One question though: is it just my TV or is it normal that I don't hear the little jokes and comments in between? Didn't he wear a mike?
Just curious..

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#68 Post by Ekim » Tue Nov 20, 2007 4:04 pm

I am too lazy to read all these pages or to type much right now.

Bottom line: It's great. Buy it.

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#69 Post by chingue » Thu Nov 22, 2007 10:58 am

excellent DVD, i bought it recently and its really amazing to see what Steve does with the orchestra, "For the love of god" sounds great and "Lotus Feet".. OMG! that song really touches my heart. The art also is very beautiful.

Great Job

Best regards from a big fan from Chile

Thanx and blessings for all of you

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#70 Post by fineweather » Mon Nov 26, 2007 4:54 am

I was too busy to see the DVD...finally I could see it.

Steve's music is awesome.
He is so lucky to do his own music...

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#71 Post by Gulliver » Thu Nov 29, 2007 1:40 pm

The 5.1 mix is outstanding. Period. Every time I watch the DVD I feel like I am sitting in the orchestra! This DVD is a MUST HEAR in surround setting! I am not even talking about the performances... they are excellent as always! Biggest surprise - the orchestral arrangements. To my ears they are very best among those others (numerous) attempts at merging rock aesthetics with symphony orchestra, at least till this very moment...
One "major disappointment" though... The audience is too loud!!! :lol: At least in surround mix that is (you know, the 5.1 stuff sounds so freakingly good, that I even didn't check the stereo mix! :roll: ).

Well, still my verdict is - the best music DVD of 2007 (and I saw quite a lot of them already...)!

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#72 Post by FireComa » Thu Nov 29, 2007 8:56 pm

This is an excellent concert. But, I'm still waiting for the Minnesota Tour DVD.........I went to the show in Anaheim and that concert and meeting Steve is one of the greatest experiences in my life. I'm trying to pile up the "Sound Theories" merchandise to keep these memories intact.

Overall, if you read my review of "Sound Theories," it's the same as my review for these tracks. They are all great, save for "The God Eaters" (Never liked the original). My two favorite pieces here are "Gentle Ways," and the epic, amazing "Liberty." This version of "Liberty" is the best rendition for it and a top ten Vai song. Seeing it performed only makes it more amazing.

A lot of people might laugh at his facial expressions during his performance (Most likely no one on this forum), but I think they show how much emotion and experience into this. It's brilliant.

I was glad to see some of the orchestra-only pieces. "Bledsoe," the more-notes-per-square-inch-than-the-population-density-of-China epic that it is, is awesome. And of course, my favorite song on the entire "Sound Theories" album; "Shadows and........." (It's paired with "Sparks" here.) (Note: What happened to the "Bangkok" section in "Shadows and......."?!?!?!?!)


Definitely a must-buy for any Vai fan.

I wish I had more hands......so I could give this four thumbs up! :D

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#73 Post by budt » Wed Dec 19, 2007 10:06 am

Even though it makes sense to have Steve play with the orchestra for the second part of the concert, it really works better on DVD to switch the two sections. Brilliant! But I will comment on the "orchestra only" part first.

Its a shame that there isn't more interest in modern music (we can't call it "20th Century Music" anymore). Imagine if we could go out and hear a live orchestra play Varèse and Webern all the way up through Boulez, Ligeti and Zappa on a regular basis. Shadows and Sparks belongs in a program like that! Its such a great piece, (awesome violin solo btw) and thanks to Steve we can own and operate that one forever. OK, for a lifetime.

As for Steve playing with the orchestra, the video helped me appreciate it even more. I found the audio CD a little too percussion heavy. I know that could be the intent (with a piece like Ionisation for instance), but please please don't take offense. I know how much Mr. Vai cares about the sound. One just has to be careful when combining classical and rock. Having a rock drummer keeping the beat all the way through an orchestral performance would just sound obnoxious.

All in all its an incredible DVD by an incredible musician (and the whole team). An insert would have been nice.

RE the bonus material ... I always love interviews with the artist. But I'm wondering why Steve needs to keep reminding us that he's a "rock star". We know!

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#74 Post by saxonsmum » Sun Jan 06, 2008 7:13 am

Santa Claus gave Saxon the dvd and I must say it was the perfect present. When he opened it he was so excited he jumped across the room. He watched it alot over christmas but because he likes to skip tracks it was New years day before he found For the love of God. For two whole days we heard that song endlessly, nothing else. By the end of the second day he moved onto Shadows and Sparks. He totally loves conducting the orchestra in front of the tv. I asked him what his favourite songs were and he told me:

Kill the guy with the ball,
Liberty,
For the love of God,
Shadows and sparks,
and Salamanders in the sun, he sang the melody because he didn't know the name of Salamanders.

Then he asked me what my favourite Steve Vai sound was and before I could answer he said "Feedback harmonics" was his favourite. I have no idea where he comes up with this stuff.

The door has been opened to orchestral music for Saxon and we are going to have to find more soon. Any suggestions?

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guitar stuff

#75 Post by traxxis » Sun Jan 06, 2008 1:16 pm

hi my name is luke and id really like the opportunity to meet steve and jam with him. :D

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