Larry Norman - The Elsinore Rehearsals

Published Wednesday 2nd November 2011
Larry Norman - The Elsinore Rehearsals
Larry Norman - The Elsinore Rehearsals

STYLE: Jesus Music
RATING 7 7 7 7 7 7 7
LABEL: Solid Rock SRVX001
RRP: £15.99

Reviewed by Dougie Adam

If there is a question mark over this DVD it would be, why bother releasing a separate DVD of rehearsals for an excellent concert which is already available on DVD? In most cases the five songs featured here are available on other live albums and DVDs with better vocals from Larry. Having said this, the 'Elsinore Rehearsals' DVD is actually a very enjoyable fly-on-the-wall's eyeview as Larry rehearses with a great band comprising of his brother Charles' group Guards Of Metropolis augmented by award winning blues guitarist Mark Lemhouse, Gary Pomeroy (guitar player on the live 'Israel Tapes' album from 1974 and 'Copper Wires' 1998), Dan Cutrona on sadly inaudible piano (Dan recorded with Larry and played in various live line ups with him from 1978-2005). The 30 minute film shows the band discussing how they will start and finish songs in the set and captures some of the laughter, boredom, tiredness and discussions that went on. Visually there are a lot of close ups of the band as they practise and fool around in between takes and the sound is excellent and appears to have been mixed from a digital multi-track recording. The band are in good form too, and during this behind the scenes footage we hear the band explore and get a feel for the songs and in a few cases they come close to nailing great versions but because these are just rehearsals there are also moments where the band hit a peak and then take the foot back off the gas and since Larry is trying to preserve his vocal chords for the concert itself there are times when he skips a few lines or doesn't go for the notes he would go for in concert. Hours of footage was recorded on one roving hand held camera as the band rehearsed in the studio the week before the concert and this footage has been edited into 30 minutes of visual highlights and synched over the best audio performance of each song. Enjoyable but not essential, visually one of the better quality Solid Rock DVDs with some pretty solid and loud band performances. It's interesting to watch Larry at work and to eavesdrop on the decision-making process with the band. My highlights would be the take of "Twelve Good Men" with a fine slide solo from Mark Lemhouse, and the energetic stab at the Rolling Stones arrangement of "The Last Time" which manages to pull off the trick of being a surprising and fun cover and carrying an air of poignancy as Larry sings, "I'm sorry girl but I can't stay/Feeling like I do today/There's too much pain and too much sorrow/Guess I'll feel the same tomorrow" and "I'll be gone a long, long time" while being fully aware of his declining health. A nice companion piece to the Elsinore concert DVD which also featured a solo set from Larry, and him re-emerging in full evening dress to sing the standard "September Song" accompanied by Dan Cutrona on piano, a guest spot from an African choir and then Larry duetting with The Pixies' Frank Black on "Watch What You're Doing".

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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