Reviewed by Phil Thomson
In their long, emerald silk evening gowns, singing acapella and taking four minutes to get through the first verse of "Holy Holy Holy", here's a trio who know how to hold an audience. In a well-considered intro, the camera tracks the girls, capturing each gesture, each expression, framing the shoulders and cropping the top of the head to force us to get involved. That sets the standard; that, and the fact that these singers know their open vowels. This intimate portrait captures the ladies in all their warmth and sincerity, at first a little subdued, but soon in full flight through a repertoire of original songs, working the audience with perfect timing and unselfconscious allure. The power behind the writing throne is Simone Stewart, in collaboration with a host of talent which keeps the material from too much repetition. And the supporting personnel enjoy themselves too: the string quartet, brass section, organist and a clutch of excellent backing vocalists all share the limelight thanks to well-paced cut-aways and sensitive panning - definitely one of the strengths of the filming. Beautifully lit in high contrast, it is infinitely watchable - as much for the way it has been considered - complimentary framing, long shots, timely dissolves, seamless editing. As for the music itself: it is a smooth, fairly low-key outing where latter-day funk and a few jazz-tinged flourishes pep up the blues/gospel. The point is, the concert is captured so well on film, it's a distraction. I can't think of a better reason for giving it to us all again as an audio CD in the same package - twice the enjoyment, and in whatever environment you choose. At its heart, its success is the camera personified; it enters into the spirit of the gig, as witnessed in "Love Is". The song is reprised as the credits track, where everyone in sight is introduced and the camera barely keeps up with the action. The effect is infectious. I watched it, I heard it. I was sure I was there.
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