DVD: Demon Days Live
A great challenge for "virtual band" Gorillaz is how to pull off a live presentation. The giant 3-D animatronic approach was used and while some people seemed to like it I found it horrible. Watching clumsy machine-screens is not my idea of a "live" presentation.
For their Demon Days release, Damon and the gang came up with a much different and highly effective approach: place the "primary" band members behind screens, creating shadow-silhouettes, and have every range of singer / dancer / instrumentalist perform in front. Sounds kind of goofy in words but in practice it proved a unique and compelling show.
The sheer number of performers on this disc is overwhelming. In addition to the primary band is a 10+ piece orchestra, a small group of backup singers, a larger children's choir, a adult choir, and numerous special-guest singers and rappers. Amazingly it all comes together and works, with every song at least matching the CD versions in terms of performance (with one exception I'll get to later).
All is caught in beautiful, high-def glory and presented with excellent, subtle editing and effects. As per most modern live DVDs, the visual presentation is gorgeous and the sound is equally well-done. The Demon Days songs themselves provide the foundation of the show while the high quality front-of-screen performers provide the structure; almost all are excellent. Highlights are numerous including Nenah Cherry's psycho-rap on Kids With Guns, 25 children joyously singing and gyrating on-stage while Bootie Brown raps out Dirty Harry; De la Soul's spot delivery of the Feel Good, Inc. rap, to name a few. Even the night's sole low-light has its charm as during Dare, an obviously completely drunk Shaun Ryder has trouble shouting out his sole contribution "It's Dare"....it's horrible...but also funny as fellow singer Rosie Wilson earnestly sings her part to perfection while Ryder stumbles around the stage, barely able to stand up. Wilson, btw, performs superbly and is gorgeous as well; worth the price of admission alone.
The only drawback to this DVD is the relative shortness of it. Clocking in at exactly one hour, it pales compared to something like Coheed & Cambria's five hour extravaganza Neverender. The absence of any extras makes it a relatively thin product. It is, however, the best visual document of Gorillaz and a brilliantly captures a superb concert in its entirety.