Focus guitar master cranks it up in Holland ...
For many years there wasn't a definitive commercial video featuring exclusively the music of Jan Akkerman, enthusiasts had to piece together multi-generation footage from a variety of sources. Needless to say, "Live In Concert' will not fill that still gaping void but it does bring his story more up to date and moves it on from the previous 'Live' package released in 2003.
The gig was filmed in May 2007, not as you might expect at the Northsea Jazz Festival (where Akkerman has appeared on several occasions). No, this time it's a smaller gig in that festival's shadow, almost a fringe event.
It probably benefits from the greater intimacy, an hour long summary of his electric work in the millennium. With an excellent band in support, Jan features tracks from the dance-beated "CU" and time-worn favourites such as 'Hocus Pocus' (this time the "U.S." version). There is also the surprise inclusion of an abbreviated "Anonymous" and the (commercially) unavailable track 'You Do Something To Me'.
If there's a slight criticism of this recording, it is the film production. Given that most viewers will want to revel in Akkerman's nifty fingerwork there are times when the camera cuts too much to the band. A good example is during the extended jam "Dance The Blues Away".
This makes the main concert on the DVD more of a band effort, focusing on all members rather than the frontman. A generous approach, maybe, but one that might frustrate guitar nerds.
A couple of tracks seem to be overdubbed, but that might have more to do with technical blips on the day than anything more sinister.
Bonuses include a CD of the concert, an outdoor jam session where Akkerman steers the assembled multitude through the 'Pietons' chords and a more extended solo performance in Amsterdam.
On the basis that there is not enough Akkerman available on DVD, this is a welcome release and should satisfy the faithful. A definitive DVD career overview is still awaited.
Review by David Randall