Five hours of Within Temptation-based goodness.
With it's spangly CGI-laced title screens, and a fancy DVD box boasting that it contains "over 5 hours of footage", Withing Temptation's first full-length DVD perfectly illustrates the new levels of over-the-top bombast that they have been able to scale since the success of their newest album ('The Silent Force'), and their signing to Road Runner.
Central to the DVD is the recording of their biggest live show, to a crowd of 10,000 in their native Holland. With pyrotechnics, torchlit processions and...erm...singer Sharon Den Adel singing 'Caged' in a hanging gold cage. Cheesy, maybe, but the whole thing makes for a spectacular performance, and, unlike with many recorded concerts, you actually feel as if you're experiencing that spectacular performance last summer, without the discomfort of standing in a mud beneath a grey and threatening sky, wishing the tall bloke in front of you would move. It also helps to show just why Within Temptation have gained their reputation as a band who really shine live - there's nothing sloppy about their performance, and the tracks from 'The Silent Force' (dismissed by some as sell-out pop not worth bothering about) take on a new, more metal edge. There's also enough variety in songs - ballads like 'Memories'; anthemic tracks like 'Mother Earth', early material from 'Enter' and 'The Dance', and even the underrated b-side track 'Jane Doe', a return to the "beauty and the beast" vocal style of the band's earlier work, but with the sing-along value of the newer stuff.
But this is less of a live concert DVD, and more of a two-disc tribute to all things Within Temptation. Music videos, making-ofs, and interviews all vie for the viewer's attention. There's also the standard backstage footage, which consists less of the expected silly drunken antics, and more of the singer standing outside, pointing the camera at the tourbus, and saying "this is the bus" in Dutch. This certainly, this isn't something for the casual fan, it's for people who think that five hours spent watching Within Temptation do different things is time well spent. Fitting into the latter category, I enjoyed the whole thing immensely - five hours of ones favourite band is certainly a good thing. Even if you never watch the second disc, there's still over two hours of live music goodness on offer.
If you know a Within Temptation fan then this would make an ideal Christmas gift for them, and it's also something that fans should try and pick up themselves. There's a lot on offer here, and it's impossible to fault most of it, although the criticisms of the new album (too poppy, didn't live up to it's potential) also apply to the DVD, But it's worth buying just to see Den Adel waving what appears to be a plush, heart-shaped cushion about during the song 'Jillian'.