Let's face it, Travis aren't what you might call the most visual of bands. Not for them the theatrics of a Kiss or Marilyn Manson, rather the the old-fashioned virtues of great songs and exemplary musicianship. The value of this DVD lies, therefore, not so much in any camped-up vaudeville of the Alice Cooper or Britney Spears variety, but in seeing a band, on top of their game, at close quarters. Or, if you were actually at the concert in question, a great souvenir of a memorable night out.
Nothing can substitute, of course, for the excitement of a live performance, which is perhaps why concert films have always tended to pass me by. Thanks to advances in technology bands can offer note for note renditions of their greatest hits live, meaning that concert films can end up as little more than extended promo videos, with all the one-dimensional shallowness that implies. You can have all the 16:9 widescreen format with 5.1 Surround Sound you like (this DVD has both), but, let's face it, it's not the same as actually being there.
With these caveats in place, this film of Travis's sell-out concert, in front of 8,000 people, at London's Alexandra Palace last Christmas is certainly a treat for the fans, and, indeed, anyone with more than a passing interest in one of the more surprising, nay heart-warming, success stories of the past few years. Naturally, you get pretty faithful renderings of the hits such as Why Does It Always Rain On Me?, Driftwood and Sing, as well as the more recent singles Re-Offender and Beautiful Occupation.
This particular concert marked the end of a hectic, but triumphant year for the band, which included tours of Europe and America. Rather than appearing exhausted, however, they seemed tighter than ever, offering fine versions of Turn and Coming Around, to name but two.
Other high points, and there are many, include a beautiful rendition of Writing to Reach You and the anthemic (but mercifully lighter-free) All I Wanna Do Is Rock. There's even room for an encore of Last Christmas yes, Travis covering a Wham! track.
The icing on the cake, as it were, is a bonus featurette called Inside Travis At The Palace, which follows the band pre- and post-gig, and includes some fascinating soundcheck footage.
Ultimately, how many times this disc actually occupies your DVD player will depend on how much of a committed Travis fan you are. If you are one, it's unlikely that you will be disappointed.