The irresistible rise of Norah Jones has taken some people by surprise. Just a few years ago, the idea of an album full of smoky jazz ballads being one of the biggest sellers of the year, as Come Away With Me was, would have been ridiculous. The fact that Jones then repeated that success with Feels Like Home has led some critics to denounce her act as aural wallpaper, polite music for people who don't like music.
All of this is patently ludicrous, and smacks rather of musical snobbery. The fact is that Jones is damn good at what she does, and is the possessor of one of the most beautiful voices in modern music - warm, rich and capable of lifting even her less memorable material to impressive heights.
Having said all that, the Norah Jones live experience possibly isn't the most thrilling of spectacles. This DVD was recorded in Nashville during her 2004 tour to promote Feels Like Home and is a pretty faithful souvenir of a Jones concert. It's all very professional, very polished and the standard of musicianship is exceptionally high. The songs are note perfect renditions of the studio versions and Jones is in fine voice throughout. It's just not that exciting, with only a terrifically gritty version of The Band's Life Is A Carnival offering a glimpse into a more satisfying live performance.
With her long brown hair and big eyes, Jones, it has to be said, is rather easy on the eye, and her voice is just as attractive here. Her delivery of the first line on Sunrise is enough to send goosebumps down your spine and Come Away With Me (rather oddly hidden here in the 'outtakes' section') is as dreamy as ever. Jones' backing band, the rather ill-named Handsome Band, are rather less beautiful, consisting as they do of balding middle-aged men (with the exception of backing vocalist Daru Oda) with a curious penchant to making pre-orgasmic faces at every guitar solo.
There are a variety of special guests at the concert too, including Gillian Welch and David Rawlings who make up a spell-binding duet of Townes Van Zandt's Loretta, and Dolly Parton, who steals the show by displaying real star power during her rendition of Creepin' In.
The concert is filmed in a typically smooth manner, with the camera gliding over the band and often panning back for audience shots. The sound too is terrific, being remastered in glorious 5.1 Dolby which shows off the band's sound to full effect.
Special features include three behind the scenes documentaries - 24 Hours On The Handsome Bus, a biography of the members of the band and a guitar tour from guitarists Adam Levy and former Pretender Robbie McIntosh, which will probably only be of interest to hardcore fans. There are also two music videos, a very odd but effective Those Sweet Words, which features Jones at a karaoke bar and a more traditional 'live footage' version of What Am I To You.
It's hard to say anything critical about this DVD, but it is difficult to imagine who would rush out to buy it. Jones is immensely talented but a live DVD doesn't really add anything that you can't gain by listening to her two albums. All in all, this is a pleasant if not essential purchase for Jones' multitude of fans.