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TRAVIS Travis At The Palace (Warner Music) (2004)
Billy Connolly banter punches the right buttons at the Palace...


This DVD is beautifully photographed. It starts with the audience shot from the drum riser as it pulses to the rhythm of an unaccompanied bass drum, the camera then switches to the audience view of the stage as the message Happy To Hang Around? scrolls across the stage screens and the band kicks in. An excellent start, followed by the equally excellent Re-Offender.

This 22 track live DVD which captures a whole Travis gig, and was filmed (as it says on the label) at Londonís Alexandra Palace in December 2003. And itís an object lesson in how to film a concert and how to keep the couch potato viewer engaged. The trick it seems, is never to hold any one shot / angle for too long - constant switching between camera angles and subject - the audience, the band, the stage and plenty of Ďartyí shots taken at obscure camera angles. Iíve only seen it so well employed once before - on the truly wonderful Sheryl Crowís CíMon America 2003 - and it makes such a difference.

At the other end of the scale, unimaginative editing can Ďdestroyí a performance. Take the The Pretenderís Loose In LA (please) which is too visually boring to be true - I still canít bring myself to watch it all the way through.

So, a visual feast, or eye candy as they like to say in the States. And presented in 16:9 widescreen format. A pity frontman Fran Healy isnít as good looking as Sheryl. He comes across as a younger Marty Pellow wearing Ben from Curiosity Killed The Catís headgear. And between tracks close your eyes and youíd swear it was Billy Connolly up there.

I have to confess, Iím not a Travis Ďfaní, but even for the non-converted this is pretty decent stuff. And of course, it features all their Ďhitsí - Why Does It Always Rain On Me, Sing, Driftwood, Re-Offender, The Beautiful Occupation, and Love Will Come Through.

My only gripe would be that all the songs tend to sound much the same. But to be fair, name me a band that doesnít have a distinct Ďsoundí. I guess it all boils down to whether it punches your buttons. In my case, I wonít be rushing out to bolster the T section of my collection, but if you like Travis I would strongly recommend you invest in this - itíll have you salivating with pleasure.

And if the full concert isnít enough, you also get a behind-the-scenes film flowing the bandís arrival, back-stage footage, sound check and departure. Now thatís what I call value for money.


Review by Pete Whalley

***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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