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The Fans: Reviews: "25 All Access Tonight" (DVD)09.28.03

Ben Quon09.28.03
Saving the best for last, for what it's worth, here's my HONEST, revisionist review of the "25 All Access Tonight" DVD.

Generally speaking, the DVD is a worthy addition to any diehard Foreigner fan's archives / collection. Sonically, the music sounds cleaned-up and doctored in the studio. But that's standard industry practice to clean-up live performances for later release. Some of the best live albums ever recorded (e.g. Humble Pie's "Rockin' The Fillmore") were cleaned-up in the studio during post-production. So, it's cool with me.

Anyways, the band / music is tight, particularly rock veteran, Denny Carmassi, who holds down the fort with some serious, sheet-kicking drumming. "Long, Long Way From Home" and "Head Games" (with a fine Mick Jones guitar solo) really kicked for me. I was MOST impressed with the spontaneous, unrehearsed blues jam during the soundcheck. Wished they could have jammed on longer. I could have done without Fabio's (scuse me, I meant Bruce Turgon's) stage antics / movements which a lot of ladies (and some guys) on FOREIGNERTALK find charismatic, cool, sexy and the like, but which this fan found quite annoying and distracting (rolling my eyes). The music lacks the instrumental fire of the band in their heyday / prime ("The Golden Age of Foreigner"). But, hey, "watered-down" Foreigner is still better than no Foreigner. So I'll take it.

Lou's post-op, lower octave vocals obviously don't compare to his vocals when he was in his prime (e.g. "Double Vision", "Cold As Ice" and "Juke box Hero" suffered in particular). But, he was giving it his all despite his limitations. During his rendition of "I Want To Know What Love Is" at the "Night Of The Proms", though, he seemed kinda overwhelmed by the massive orchestra / choir / concert hall. Like he was out of his element imho. Just my observation...

I was a little put-off by the "nostalgia band" / "Vegas Lounge Act" feel of most of the concert footage. At times, I swore that I was watching some live concert on public access TV. Ok, Foreigner may be currently a "nostalgia band" / "Vegas Lounge Act" but who needs to be reminded? When I accessed the "Night Of The Proms" bonus extra, the elegant grace of the Antwerp, Belgim concert hall actually was a welcome change of pace (at least for me).

Although the 1978 London Rainbow Theater concert is still my favorite Foreigner video performance, "25 All Access Tonight" has it's moments and should be checked out by any diehard, serious Foreigner fan. Place your order now!

Forgot to add that there was one point in the DVD when I ALMOST put my foot through the TV screen. When the band began "Urgent" with a schmaltzy, Supertramp-style keyboard intro instead of Lou's legendary "This is one.. EMERGENCY!" intro, I ALMOST lost it. Fortunately, the band came to it's senses, and Mick's guitar riff intro calmed me down but only for a minute. Unfortunately, that opening guitar riff lacked the bite of previous live performances of "Urgent" (e.g. the 1982 German TV concert, the "Deer Creek" concert), and I was left shaking my head and grumblin'.

Re the "Night Of The Proms", portion of the DVD, I actually was quite impressed with the classy orchestra / choir / concert hall. Even the soloing backup vocalists were great. Thought they all overshadowed Lou. All this for a song which I've never really taken to (BALLADS? I DON'T LIKE NO STINKIN' BALLADS! LOL!).

Wondered what it would have sounded like if the band had played an entire concert in that concert hall. Now, that would make a great video! A nice, classy treatment for a classic rock band!

Ben

The Fans: Reviews: "25 All Access Tonight" (DVD)09.28.03
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