Classic-period Seal in a neat package...
This DVD captures Seal’s 1991 tour to promote his eponymous debut. He was a rising star back then -yet another success for that knob-twiddling maestro ‘Tricky’ Trevor Horn. But many of Trev’s protégés had difficulty cutting it live (ABC, Frankie) where the studio wizardry simply couldn’t be replicated without a plethora of backing tapes.
And that’s the joy of this DVD - Seal and an excellent backing band don’t try and recreate the studio sound. Instead they strip the material down to its underwear and allow the songs to breathe. Seal’s vocals are mixed well up and the sound is uncluttered, alternating smoothly between soul, funk and rock.
The set features the bulk of Seal’s first album but supplements it rather than trying to emulate it. And it works magnificently coming across as relaxed and confident. There are no duff tracks or fillers, although there are only 12 in total -either from a shortage of material, or more likely (I suspect) this was originally heavily edited for TV.
The Dolby 5.1 sound is excellent and the visuals alternate between sharp stage footage and grainy camcorder like audience shots. It works well in keeping your attention on what, in truth, is fairly limited visual entertainment (that is, unless a half clad, sweaty black guy with the physique of a boxer does it for you).
The footage has been on TV and available on video in the past, but the bonus here is six studio acoustic tracks filmed and recorded at Church Studios, London (most of which have been available on the acoustic ‘Violet’ EP or as single b-sides) plus the promotional videos for Crazy, Future Love Paradise, The Beginning, and Killer. The latter have, however - Crazy apart - dated pretty badly. But nevertheless they complete a neat package.
So, all in all, pretty impressive. If you ever liked Seal -then or now - you won’t be disappointed if you buy this.
Review by Pete Whalley