Live 2019 – Red Bazar
Having not been blown away or that impressed by the Red Bazar albums Tales From The Bookcase and Things As They Appear, I can tell you that things are definitely not how they appear when it comes to the bands live DVD. To be honest I was going to include my review of this DVD in my previous review of the bands 4th studio album but things got even more BIZARRE! as I delved deeper into this release it gave me, even more, to speak about though unfortunately more bad than good so to speak.
Although I should also stress that the bad points are mainly aimed at the product itself and not the actual concert which I will go into more detail about in this review. But before I do so I thought it would be a good idea to finish off the final part of the bands history in this final part of this three-part mini-series of reviews of the band.
With keyboardist Gary Marsh now out of the frame, the band went on to make a 5th studio album. However, it’s not exactly what you call a new album and for some reason, they decided to do a remake of the bands instrumental debut album Connections.
To be honest I have never heard the album and instrumental albums made up of tracks are not really my bag at all hence the reason why I decided not to purchase these albums of theirs. I am not saying I completely dislike instrumental albums but I generally stick to those that have some concept behind them such as Tubular Bells by Mike Oldfield or The Snow Goose by Camel.
Speaking of Camel I remember Andy Latimer doing a remake of that iconic classic album of theirs right after a spell of illness he had for a decade. I actually thought it was a stupid idea and I would have preferred to have seen a new album, you simply cannot better a classic like that by remaking it and poor ole! Peter Barden’s must have been turning in his grave.
As you can see, I have that classic album on display on my wall and no way on this earth would I put the 2013 remake there, it simply does not speak to me in the same vane. The only other instrumental album that was not made in the same way as those albums I mentioned and is made up of individual tracks I can think of that I like would have to be Surfing With The Alien by Joe Satriani.
I am sure there are others as well but it’s very rare that an instrumental album that is made up that way is going to rock my boat so to speak. As to if the new version of Connections is better than the original I am sure most purists will not see it being better though I am not one of them either and I actually prefer Oldfield’s 2003 remake of Tubular Bells to the original. But that would be down to the recording more than anything else plus the 5.1 mix.
I did however take a bit of time to listen to both versions of “The Meet” to compare the differences between them and what I will say is that the original sounds very BLAND! to me and lacks life in the recording department. It does also have keyboards though I can see why Mick Wilson wanted to bring in another keyboard player and the keyboard on the original sounds like a cheap Casio and is not the best at all.
The video above shows you the band playing the newer version of the track to promote Connections 2021 and it’s quite evident that the keyboards have more of a role, it’s also quite evident that here they are played by a PRO! and not someone who likes to have a tinkle on them every now and then. There is no doubt to my ears that the newer version has been given more emphasis and breathes life into the track.
Getting back to the bands live concert DVD it does appear that I got more than I bargained for with this release, although the extras turned out to be more of a nightmare in relation to anything good about the product. So let’s now take a look at how it comes.
Packaging & Artwork…
The DVD is very much homemade and to be honest, its price point of £12 is well over the odds of what one would expect to pay for a DVDR. It’s not the best packaging and even the quality of the picture they used for the cover is not the best either.
I can understand that Red Bazar is a band that’s far from in the limelight and like many bands will struggle to make a buck to survive. But if you are going to be selling a product at this price point it really needs a better presentation than the amateur job that has been done here.
Red Bazar Live In Review.
As far as I can make out the bands one and only Live Concert DVD entitled Red Bazar Live was released on the 4th of December 2019. It captures the now new 4 piece band at the Cultuurpodium Boerderij in Zoetermeer in the Netherlands. It’s a popular venue with both Pete Jones and the band and they have played there several times. As a matter of fact, the live CD/DVD release of A Visit to Zoetermeer by Tiger Moth Tales was captured at the same venue and at the same time as the DVD we have here.
However, when it comes to quality and value with how both packages are presented, I am sorry to say that the Red Bazar Live DVD is a bit of a RIP-OFF! and no way is it worth its price point of £12.
To be honest the band do not exactly go out of their way for you to find their live DVD and the only way I could find it was to google it. The Digital Download of the live concert (Audio Only) is on their store page with the rest of their discography, it even tells you that you can get the digital download free if you purchase the live DVD but no link to the DVD is on there.
It is however on their merchandise page along with the T-Shirts they sell which is perhaps a silly place to put it in my opinion. The reason why I stated that the DVD is a bit of a rip-off is down to it being homemade (as you can see in the pictures below) it looks totally unprofessional in relation to how Jones put out the package of his concert for the same price. Not only that his package comes with a CD and not some poxy digital download 😊😊😊.
You can plainly see that it’s a DVDR by the purple-coloured tinting coated on the surface of the disc and they could not even be bothered to spend a bit more money on a silver-coated disc to at least try and make it look a bit more professional. From my own personal experience, these types of discs do not last long and you will find that after a few years you will be lucky if the disc plays at all. No way is this product worth £12 and it should be sold for about a FIVER! (£5) at the most.
So far I have only touched on the negative points about the DVD’s presentation and no doubt things were done on the cheap, especially in relation to the quality product Pete Jones gives you for the same money. Anybody would think that Red Bazar was the support act at the venue and the way they have gone about this presentation is like chalk and cheese when you weigh up the two acts.
However, there is a plus side regarding the actual quality of the video footage you get here and that is that it was filmed and edited by the same crew. Although I did get the GREMLINS! with this product that much that I was frightened to play it again after my first experience with it. I will go into more about that later but first, let’s take a look at the DVD or in this case the DVDR.
Just like the Tiger Moth Tales DVD the disc only comes with a single menu and is very basic and simple to navigate your way along. The picture they have used for the background is also a damn sight better than the one they chose for the DVD case and is of much better quality.
Picture & Sound Quality.
The picture quality and editing side of things are where the real quality shines on this product and that is perhaps to be expected because the concert was filmed and edited by the same Dutch crew. The concert was very much captured with HD Cameras and this team I did give high praise to in my review of A Visit to Zoetermeer which you can check out here: https://leespeaksoutaboutmusic.wordpress.com/2020/04/26/lee-speaks-about-music-149/
Just like that Pete Jones concert the sound quality comes with one audio track which is Dolby Digital 2.0/48K. It’s perhaps not the best of stereo formats in relation to uncompressed LPCM but nevertheless is quite good and well acceptable.
Musicians & Credits…
All songs were written by Red Bazar. Recorded live at the Cultuurpodium Boerderij, Zoetermeer in the Netherlands on the 26th of January 2019. Camera Operators John Vis, Meriam Verkleij and Geert Schoonbeek. Editing by VideOmega.nl.
Peter Jones: Vocals & Keyboards.
Andy Wilson: Guitars.
Mick Wilson: Bass & Backing Vocals.
Paul Comerie: Drums.
The Concert In Review…
The concert was captured at the Cultuurpodium Boerderij, Zoetermeer in the Netherlands on the 26th of January 2019. It’s a much smaller venue than the 013 in Tilburg but like that venue, it does have a couple of rooms you can hire to put on a live show. You can find out a lot more about the venue in my review of A Visit to Zoetermeer by Tiger Moth Tales in the link provided above in the Picture & Sound Quality section. As I mentioned both concerts were filmed on the same day and Red Bazar was billed as the main act though you were clearly getting two acts for the price of one regarding the price of the ticket.
No doubt you were getting value for the buck regarding the concert itself, the same could be said of the live package Pete Jones put out with the CD & DVD of his concert. However, this concert on DVDR cost me a lot more in the long run and completely gave me the WILLIES! when I first played it in my 4K Blu-Ray Player. That much that I was too frightened to play it with that player again.
Before I go into the concert itself I thought I would include the experience I encountered when playing this DVDR. I should also explain that the DVDR is most likely not to blame and it may very well have been a coincidence that this nightmare of events happened. The disc may not come with any bonus features although in my case it may have come with some hazardous creatures known as the GREMLINS! 😊😊😊.
On the day the DVD arrived, I did not play it til the evening and had been watching my 50-inch Samsung UHD 4K TV for most of that day. I’ve had the TV for 3 years and purchased it in a sale from John Lewis back in 2019. The reason why it had come down in price so much was that this particular model originally came out the year before in 2018 but even so you do not expect a TV made by a reputable company to break down in such a short time period. Luckily for me, it also came with a free 5-year extended warranty otherwise it would have cost me a lot more to replace it.
Having inserted the DVD into my blu ray player I started to watch the concert and was quite enjoying it up till the halfway point when all of a sudden lines started to roll down the screen of my TV like the horizontal hold needed adjusting. My first reaction was to stop the disc and restart it but the same thing was happening. It was also at this point that I thought it must be a faulty DVD however, having turned off the blu ray player I noticed the same thing was now happening whilst watching the TV channels.
I then started to suspect that one of the HDMI cables might be on its way out and maybe causing the problem. I do have two of them running from my TV one for the Blu-Ray player and another for my AV Reciever and I did not want to spend too much time piddling about trying to fathom out which one was causing the problem and instead popped onto Amazon and ordered two new ones and they arrived the next day.
Having spent £20 on the cables and replacing them both it was then I discovered that I wasted my money because the same problem still existed and it did not provide a fix. It was at this point that I phoned up John Lewis to tell them the problem and was quite surprised when they told me they would send out an engineer on the same day. But it would not be till after 6:30pm as that was when the engineer was on his way home and as it happened he had to pass through my neck of the woods to get home which was perhaps why they were on the ball so quickly.
A couple of engineers arrived around 6:50pm and having inspected the TV they told me they would have to take it away for repair. I asked them how long it would take and they said around 10 days. I also asked them what was wrong with it and they told me it needed a new panel.
It was whilst the TV was away for repair that I started to look online at new TVs to see how much they had come down over the last 3 years and I happened to notice a 50-inch Samsung QLED TV on Amazon for £395. To be honest, when I brought my TV 3 years ago there was no way I could have afforded a QLED and you were looking at over a GRAND! for one easily. I also noticed that all other outlets were charging £550 for the same TV and the reason it was so cheap was down to it being a 2021 model.
I have to admit that at that price the TV was a bit of a tempting turkey and low and behold 5 days later John Lewis phoned me up to tell me that they could not fix the TV. They offered me a new 50-inch Panasonic to the value of £350 from their store or the same equivalent in cash back. At first, I thought it was a bit of cheek as I originally paid them £460 for my TV back in 2019 but they explained that they took off the rest for wear and tear over the years. Just goes to show you need to look at the small print that comes with any so-called extended guarantee.
I of course took the cash and put the extra £45 towards it and got the QLED from Amazon. Considering I ended up spending an extra £65 which may or may not have been down to this DVDR I can honestly say I was onto a winner and am over the moon with my new TV. It may have never happened if it was not for this Red Bazar release either. Whatever caused the fault you can be sure the GREMLINS! were at work. However, it turned out to be a good thing in the end.
I am however not going to risk fate twice and I am literally too scared to play this DVDR not only in my 4K Blu-Ray player but also in my other Blu-Ray and HD DVD Players. No way am I putting the new TV at risk even though I do have it covered with an extended guarantee. I shall stick to my computer to play this disc and that is how I was able to complete my review so let’s now get on with the show so to speak.
On With The Show…
The concert you get here is just over 89 minutes long and showcases many of the tracks from the bands 4th studio album Things As They Appear which happened to be released on the very same day this concert took place. Out of the eleven songs they play, six of them are actually from their new album at the time and they do take up the biggest majority of the show which may have been strange for their audience hearing them for the first time.
Although it’s not unusual when pre-ordering an album to receive it before the release date and they may very well have made sure that those in the Netherlands got them before the actual release date.
It’s nothing unusual for any artist or band to play new material at their live shows and they have done so for many years. Though most usually throw in one or two and not as many as we have here and this sort of takes me back to bands like Genesis and Pink Floyd with albums like The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway and Animals. I have to confess that I myself may very well of been well pissed off if I was one of those that went to see Genesis in America hearing the Lamb for the first time. That album was that strange it took me over a decade to get into.
Thankfully the songs on Things As They Appear are more straightforward and accessible I would even say a lot more than their previous album Tales From The Bookcase which I personally found quite a chore to get through. Both albums have some pretty good tracks, to be honest, and thankfully this live concert does showcase more of the better tracks from both albums.
As the band enter the stage for the second time on that day the show begins with a short intro. It’s also obvious that Pete Jones still has his usual good sense of humour still with him as they roll out or roll up for the circus show that is contained in the opening track “Queen Of The Night (Part 1)” which happens to be one of the better songs from Tales From The Bookcase.
The band then proceed by rolling out three numbers from the new album at the time and the first of them is also one of the stronger numbers on the album entitled “Temple“. Although the band are very much doing an amicable job of performing the songs live, what I do tend to find is that they have left no room for improvisation and they are more or less playing them spot on to the studio tracks.
They do however put in a slight change to “Spiral” which is up next and this is a song I personally felt was put together with the wrong pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. To be honest, the way it opens up here no longer has that Genesis feel to it. I also noticed where the transitional change comes in with Andy Wilson’s guitar they have cut it down to half the time and Jones even throws in a bit of a counter melody on the piano to break up some of the monotony which is different. He also manages Gary Marsh’s original keyboard solo with ease and although the band pull off a fine performance I still feel this song is somewhat disjointed.
The band then roll out “Liar” and although I would not say that this song was a particular highlight of the show I do feel it’s one that is better suited to them. Throughout the whole of this concert, Jones’s voice is in fine form and some of the other things I quite like is how well John Vis and his crew have captured the bands drummer Paul Comerie in the right places.
It’s back to the bands third album next and “City And The Stars” is what I would call one of the highlights of the show and it happens to be my personal favourite track from the album. I would also say that it is one of the better PROGMATIC! songs that they do.
Although this performance (in the video below) is not taken from this live concert on the DVD it does show how well the band have performed it. It was also this very performance that did persuade me to buy Tales From The Bookcase.
The performance we have here was captured much earlier back in 2017 by the same camera crew more or less and was also in the Neverlands at a festival. It was also most likely a Tiger Moth Tales concert seeing how Jones still has his guitar on the stage with him and Gary Marsh was not present. One of the more notable things about the performance on the DVD is that Jones’s voice has more reverb applied to it. He may have also found the last words a bit more excruciating to get out in relation to the live performance a couple of years earlier than we have here.
Next up the band turn their attention away from their 3rd and 4th albums and roll-out the opening instrumental track from their debut album “The Meet“. The performance is pretty much like the promotional video I posted in my introduction and it shows that the band must have been working on the remake of their debut album at this stage. I quite like how they have placed it in the middle of the set they play here too and it works as a nice breaking point.
The band soothe things down with “Sunset For A New World” and then rolls out another three tracks from Things As They Appear starting with my personal favourite track from the album “The Parting” which is another of my personal highlights of the show. “Nothing Left” I described as one of the mediocre tracks on the album in my review of it. Though I will say seeing it performed live speaks to me differently even though there does not appear to be anything really different.
Pete Jones then announces the final song of the evening “We Will Find You” to which once again they do an amicable job with this performance. But the show is not quite over as they come back on for an encore and roll out “Calling Her On” which is perhaps not the song I would have chosen to end off the show but nevertheless, it seems to work well enough.
Summary & Conclusion…
To sum up and conclude my review of Red Bazar Live 2019. Overall it’s not a bad concert and the musicians are more than comfortable pulling off the very good live performance you get here. It’s also been captured very well on film or video with HD cameras. The fact that this concert does showcase some of the better tracks from the albums Tales From The Bookcase and Things As They Appear makes this concert much more enjoyable to watch.
However, the downside has to be the presentation and it beats the hell out of me why a band would spend that sort of money on making a live concert video only to present it on the cheap like this. Totally LUDRICOUS! is the word that springs to mind here and no way could I really recommend it, especially at its price point of £12 which is way over the odds for a DVDR.
When it comes to value your money is much better spent on A Visit To Zoetermeer Live by Tiger Moth Tales. That not only gives you genuine quality for the buck but comes at a bargain price. To be honest I prefer the music of that Pete Jones project in relation to this band and I personally feel his live concerts have that extra bit of magic seeing him play two instruments at the same time.
That is not however taking anything away from Red Bazar and these guys really can play and still put on a good show. By having both concerts you do have the complete two performances that took place on the same day at the venue. It is only the presentation that really lets it down.
May Come With Gremlins…
The Live Set-List is as follows:
02. Queen Of The Night (Part 1).
06. City And The Stars.
07. The Meet.
08. Sunset For A New World.
09. The Parting.
10. Nothing Left.
11. We Will Find You.
12. Calling Her On.