When I received this DVD, I must have momentarily returned
to being a 10-year old opening a Christmas present while having an inkling of what was inside. See, I was
at the show where this was filmed (at London's Brixton Academy in 2002) and as well as having wonderful
memories of the performance, I was also wondering if I'd see myself in the crowd. I didn't.
Nevertheless, if you've never heard or even heard of DJ Shadow, this recording serves as a wonderful introduction to his high-class scratch/compositional talents, and if you already know his music or were at the gig, then watching this will bring back fond memories.
Containing both a CD and DVD, the package starts at the beginning of the gig, when Shadow introduces his set in his relaxed friendly manner, then gets behind his decks and starts to create his sublime but most of all intelligent music.
At the time, what I noticed most at the gig were the wonderful graphics showing on three large screens behind DJ Shadow, and these images, which range from scientific shapes to fast-forward journeys through European and American
towns, are transferred successfully on to the recording using both full-screen shots and split-screens showing the man and the videos simultaneously.
What has always been impressive about DJ Shadow are his strong groundbreaking musical ideas, but even more than this, his conviction of getting to a successful result. This DVD shows music unlike and further advanced to what most
DJs and samplers are presenting for the moment, blending hip-hop, trip-hop, trance and soothing instrumentals into a very personal and unpretentious sound.
In addition, the DVD demonstrates that Shadow is more interested in the music itself than in self-promotion and publicity. The backstage cameras don't contain any self-conscious attempts at showing off his fame or the need to have the cameras there in the first place. Rather, we find out matter-of-factly what he does before a performance, including going unnoticed out on stage to feel the "audience's vibe", and checking that all his records
are in the correct sleeves so he doesn't "get any surprises" halfway through the performance.
The DVD contains the full two hour London show (displaying Shadow's absolute commitment to his work), an interview, scratch battles, backstage and tour bus footage, plus a host of other delights, and is all the more interesting in
that it is entirely self-financed. In fact, there's almost three hours of footage on the disc, and if your DVD
player stops working you can even listen to a CD of the set which comes included.
In short, highly recommended.