I’m not usually one for watching gigs on DVD or Blu-ray, but this release from Lady Antebellum appealed to me, maybe because they were the first band that really struck a chord with me when I started getting into country music 11 months ago.
That disclaimer out the way, the Own The Night World Tour DVD & Blu-ray was released this past Monday and mine arrived yesterday. On opening it I was thrilled to see a booklet inside with some photos, message from the band and a ton of credits. These days you rarely get a contents sheet, let a lone a multi-page booklet, so my first impression was a good one, and that’s without even having put the disc in the player yet!
Once I started actually watching the Blu-ray I was blown away by the quality, both the video and audio. There are parts where the video camera closes in on various band members, the background blurs and it almost feels like it’s 3D and they are about to step out of the screen. I’ve never been that bothered by 3D, but at moments like this I can imagine how awesome it could be. Gigs viewed in 3D must really feel like you are there and in the crowd, especially with speakers all around the room. Lady Antebellum could end up costing a lot of money if they release a gig in 3D!
I like going to see bands live and I love listening to albums, obviously, but as I alluded to earlier, watching a whole gig straight through at home has never appealed me to that much, unless it’s a live broadcast performance. Two songs into Own The Night World Tour and it became evident that I was going to get much more as the cameras broke away from the gig and we got some backstage footage. This was to be the format the whole way through and turned this release from being just a video recording of their gig to a history of the band and an insight into life on the road. As someone who knows their music but is not very familiar with their journey, this couldn’t have been put together any better. It gave me an insight into the personalities of the people behind the music, and it was nice to see what a genuine and humble band they all are.
The gig itself was really really great, and made me even more regretful that I never got to see them when they were over in London last year. The stage set up was really good and allowed lots of people from different parts of the arena to get close to the band. Both Hillary and Charles are stunning live vocalists, and it wasn’t until watching this that I realised just how talented a musician Dave is. The guy plays everything, and struggles with what colour red to paint his piano it would seem 😉 I like how they involve the crowd a lot – there’s nothing worse than going to see a band and they just stand in front of the mics and perform the CD. I also like how every member of the extended band gets the spotlight and not just Hillary, Charles and Dave.
Of the songs performed as part of the 90 minute main feature, Hello World is the standout for me. This is one of the first songs I heard at the start of my journey into country music last February, so from that perspective it means a lot to me. It also just happens to be an amazing song, with some moments that gave me goosebumps just watching it on my television – I can’t even imagine what it must be like to experience Hello World live. The part towards the end where the song goes almost completely quiet and then rises to the song ending crescendo sent shivers down my spine. Need You Now is another favourite of mine and was a great way to end the show.
Need You Now also highlights my desire to hear more songs from Lady Antebellum where Hillary takes more of the vocals. Don’t get me wrong, both Charles and Hillary are fantastic, I just think the balance swings just a little bit too far towards Charles and I want to hear more solos from Hillary. When they sing together they produce some incredible harmonies, and none better than the ones during Just A Kiss.
There are so many great moments on this Blu-ray, both on stage and on the road. As a Star Wars fan I was tickled by them naming their touring studio R2-D2 and my heart melted when they brought the little girl on stage to sing American Honey. The gas station to gig to celebrate the start of deer season was pretty surreal and the prom gig in Henryville was inspirational. It was great to see how far Lady Antlebellum have come and we see this when footage is shown of them singing Love Don’t Live Here in a cafe segueing into the band performing the same song to thousands in Little Rock.
The bonus songs are presumably from the same gig, except one part with Darius Rucker which looks like it’s from another gig as Charles is wearing a different t-shirt. One of these bonus songs is a cover of Aerosmith’s Sweat Emotion. As a big Aersomith fan that was an appreciated inclusion and they do a great job too. It’s a little odd that these songs from the same gig are in the bonus section and not in the main programme, but maybe because they are lesser known they split them up. It could be they just wanted some songs for the special features section! We also get some more backstage and tour footage, including the bit from a show in San Jose where the lift didn’t fully rise so they started singing with their chests at floor height and had to climb out and onto the stage! The Blu-ray contains no extra footage to the DVD, but you do get the improved video and sound quality that comes with a high definition release.
Lady Antebellum’s Own the Night World Tour Blu-ray is a magnificent release, combining magical live performances with fascinating backstage and historical band footage. It endeared the band to me and fueled the flames of my desire to see them live in person. If you’re a fan of the band you’ll absolutely love this Blu-ray and if you don’t know Lady Antebellum then buy this and get to know them and their music – you won’t be disappointed.