Reviewed by Steven Whitehead
While we are certain that this CD / DVD package will delight Jonathan Veira's many fans there are some "buts" that may deter the casual listener. As it says on the tin, to coin a phrase, this is a live recording with all the plusses and minuses thereof. As the CD and DVD follow basically the same programme it seems sensible to review both as a whole. The opening "Percussive Prelude" is interesting. On CD I assumed this was drummer Nick Veira paying homage to Steve Reich's "Drumming" but when I saw it on the DVD it was actually a clever opening where the band come on one by one, each playing a different item of percussion until they are finally joined by the main man, Mr Jonathan Veira, who leads into the opening song, "Joy To The World". There is, of course, plenty of applause along with the usual banter between the star and his band which soon becomes repetitive. This is best illustrated by two segments on the DVD that are not on the CD: before singing the comic operatic aria "La Vendetta" from Mozart's 'Marriage of Figaro' JV tells a long and amusing anecdote about performing this suspended from the ceiling of a German opera house. It is a good story - but not one that I will want to hear too often, now I know the punch line. Later JV enters into a long and rambling discussion of the clichés of country and western music, accompanying himself - very well, it should be said - on guitar. Again, it was amusing. Once. It was during this C&W section that I got something I was looking for. I wanted a comparison of what Jonathan Veira sounds like. Yes, he is an operatic bass-baritone with a penchant for escaping the genre and giving songs from the shows (Gershwin's "I've Got Plenty Of Nothing", Howard's "Fly Me To The Moon") as well as Christian classics. I was going to say he reminded me of Phil Harris (Baloo the bear in Disney's Jungle Book) but Veira's impersonation of Jim Reeves is so spot-on that I will leave it at that. The concert - filmed over two shows at London's All Souls Church, Langham Place - included plenty of spiritual content. Highlights for this reviewer include Curtis Mayfield's "People Get Ready" and Stuart Hines' "How Great Thou Art". There is a good mix of accompaniments, including The Veira Boys, Jonathan's three sons on drums, bass and lead guitar, as well as the house band of the All Soul's Orchestra conducted by the redoubtable Noel Tredinnick. Another musical highlight, only on the DVD, is Veira's boogie-woogie battle with his pianist Mark Edwards which illustrates both his showmanship and musical versatility. This release deserves 10 squares for and from JV's committed fans but is not essential listening for the rest of us, although it is very entertaining.
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|Over two nights in February 2013 at All Souls Church, Langham Place, London, over 1,000 people enjoyed an amazing evening with Jonathan Veira, the fabulous Veira boys, Noel Tredinnick and the All Souls Orchestra. Truly a family affair, they were two nights to remember and this is the DVD/CD recording for you to enjoy. Listen and watch and relive these concerts again and again.|