Gentle Giant - Giant On The Box

Year of Release: 2004
Label: Alucard
Catalog Number: ALU-GG-003
Format: DVD
Total Time: 109:40:00

Seeing as how Gentle Giant has no plans to re-unite, this DVD comes along at just the right time. This disc contains the classic 1974 German ZDF TV appearance that has been going around as a video and .mpeg file, and the band's 1975 Long Beach concert that was filmed for ABC's In Concert series. Two short pieces are also featured, "Szene," a clip from German television and "Baroque & Roll," a short Italian documentary in B&W that contains footage of the Giant performing "Features From Octopus" and a band interview. All this footage is from the 1970s and, as such it is somewhat grainy and it is recorded in mono sound. Since all of this is over thirty years old, what else would one expect? Nevertheless, the quality of the band's music and the spectacular level of the performances make all of the technical shortcomings irrelevant.

The first surprise found on this disc is the new intro and menu music recorded by Kerry Minnear. Heavy on clavinet (big surprise, huh?) this is great stuff, and evidence that Kerry needs to get a solo recording out. The next surprise is how good most of the film used for this presentation really is, considering its age. In the age of HDTV it may seem a bit grainy but it certainly looks better now than it did when it was originally broadcast, and that is a fact (I saw the ABC broadcast as a teenager) I can attest to. The ZDF broadcast is of the Giant's 1975 tour promoting The Power And The Glory and it makes up the bulk of this disc with eight songs in about fifty minutes. The group starts with "Cogs In Cogs" and continues with "Proclamation," "Funny Ways," "So Sincere" and "Features From Octopus," among others. The Long Beach show recorded for American TV features only four tunes and all of them are also included in the ZDF broadcast. The Italian short "Baroque & Roll" features a band interview, but unless you speak Italian it won't do much for you. The questions are asked in Italian and the voice over translation of their answers to Italian makes most of their English language answers near impossible to hear.

The really important (and obvious) reasons that this disc is so welcome are that, unlike most of their peers, Gentle Giant have never performed a reunion concert or tour, none of the members have been in the public eye for near thirty years and there has been little or no video of the band available until now. The other reason is more basic. The Giant was one of the finest bands ever to set foot on stage and after thirty years of obscurity a lot of prog fans have no idea of how amazing, how talented, how important Gentle Giant really was. Folks who are unfamiliar with the band are floored when they see the band members playing two or three different instruments each, sometimes switching in the middle of a song. The stunning virtuosity of the five members of Gentle Giant is even more impressive now in this age of samples and lip-synching than it was in their heyday and the incredible synchronicity of the band members is unlikely to be matched in today?s world.

As an added bonus, a CD of the ZDF performance is included, making this release one hell of a deal. This DVD is very, very highly recommended to all fans of 1970s prog and even more so to anyone who hasn?t heard, much less seen Gentle Giant before.

German TV 1974: Cogs In Cogs / Proclamation / Funny Ways / The Runaway / Experience / Features From Octopus / Advent Of Panurge / So Sincere // US TV 1975: Experience / Features From Octopus / Advent Of Panurge / Funny Ways // Szene 1974: Guitar & Drum Solo From In A Glass House // Extras: (1) Baroque & Roll, Live Footage And Interview / (2) Photo Gallery, A Collection Of Photos From Gary Green?s Private Collections, 38 Photos

Derek Shulman - vocals, saxophone, recorder, bass, percussion
Ray Shulman - bass, violin, acoustic guitar, recorder, trumpet, vocals, percussion
Gary Green - guitars, recorder, vocals, percussion
Kerry Minnear - keyboards, cello, vibes, recorder, vocals, percussion
John Weathers - drums, vibes, tambourine, vocals, percussion

Gentle Giant (1970)
Acquiring The Taste (1971)
Three Friends (1972)
Octopus (1973)
In A Glass House (1973)
The Power And The Glory (1974/1990)
Freehand (1975)
Interview (1976)
The Official Live Gentle Giant: Playing The Fool (1977)
Pretentious (1977)
Civilian (1980)
Missing Piece (1977)
Giant For A Day (1978)
In Concert (1994)
The Last Steps (1996)
Out of the Woods (1996)
Under Construction (1997)
King Biscuit Flower Hour Presents... (1998)
Out Of The Fire (1998)
Live (Playing The Fool)/Civilian (1999)
Totally Out Of The Woods (2000)
Live in Rome 1974 (2000)
Interview In Concert (2001)
In A Palesport House (2001)
Experience (2002)
Endless Life (2003)
Artistically Cryme (2003)
The Missing Face (2003)
Way Of Life (2003)
Playing The Cleveland (2004)
Prologue (2004)
Part Of Their Past (2004)
Scraping The Barrel (4CD) (2004)

Giant On The Box (DVD) (2004)
GG At The GG - Gentle Giant Sight & Sound In Concert & Other Antiquities (DVD) (2006)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin UK

Added: May 29th 2006
Reviewer: Tom Karr
Artist website:
Hits: 2203
Language: english


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