Reprise Records // 2008 // 105 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Clark Douglas // May 29th, 2008
Hear him. See him. Love him.
If you've taken a listen to my DVD Verdict Presents podcast, "The Sounds and Sights of Cinema," you've probably guessed that film music is my favorite musical genre. So, it probably comes as no surprise that my first encounters with Josh Groban were his contributions to the soundtracks for A.I.: Artificial Intelligence and The Polar Express. Still, I'm not too familiar with the guy outside of "You Raise Me Up" and a few other tunes that have managed to catch my attention. However, my beloved sister is a diehard Josh Groban fan. She has all of his albums, she has memorized all of his songs, and she has seen him live in concert. So, in an attempt to give you an expert opinion and save myself some work, I asked my sister to review this CD/DVD for me. She accepted, but hinted that she might hire a ghostwriter to do the writing for her. On a completely unrelated note, I occasionally do some ghostwriting work for my sister. Anyway, here she is:
So, you want to know what I think of Awake Live, huh? Well, my answer will not surprise you. It's AMAZING! It's sooooooo good, and Josh Groban is just so cute! When I saw him at the beginning, drinking that five-dollar coffee and giving that endearing little smirk, I nearly fainted. Look at that outfit! He's wearing jeans, a red t-shirt, and a nice jacket...it's like he's classy, but also hip...like he's cool, but also refined...like he knows, but he just doesn't care. Shut up, Clark. I can hear you muttering. You just don't have a clue. Anyway, I like the way this well-staged concert DVD captures the feeling of seeing him in person. Of course, it's not as good as ACTUALLY seeing him in person, which I have done. So naturally, I would know whether or not this DVD feels like that, and it does.
Okay, okay, okay, I know this is like a geek review thing or whatever, so, uh, order in the court! Josh Groban is now in session, and he is guilty of being hot! Tee-hee. Anyway, okay, seriously, on to the meat and potatoes and all that. There are two discs, one DVD and one CD. The contents are as follows:
* You Are Loved (Don't Give Up)
* Un Dia Llegara
* Un Giorno Per Noi
* Now or Never
* So She Dances
* February Song
* Alla Luce Del Sole
* Aurora (performed by Lucia Micarelli)
* Kashmir (performed by Lucia Micarelli)
* In Her Eyes
* L'Ultima Notte
* Remember When It Rained
* Canto Alla Vita
* You Raise Me Up
* February Song
* In Her Eyes
* So She Dances
* Un Dia Llegara
Josh kicks things off with a pretty solid performance of "You Are Loved (Don't Give Up)," and follows that with the lovely "Mai." Clark, I know you aren't really a big fan of Groban's delicious brand of "popera," but I know you were probably enjoying "Un Giorno Per Noi" quite a bit. After all, the melody is Nino Rota's really pretty love theme from the 1968 version of Romeo and Juliet, and I know how much you like that score. And since you like all that wordless music stuff, I'm sure that you thought the highlight of this DVD was the part where Josh Groban stepped off the stage and let violinist Lucia Micarelli play an excerpt from a Sibelus violin concerto. She was really impressive playing that awesome version of "Kashmir" too. But enough of her, let's get Josh Groban back, all ready!
Okay, okay, I'll grant you that some of Josh's more pop-oriented songs are a little weak at times. "Now or Never" isn't exactly his greatest achievement, and the same thing goes for "Machine" and "In Her Eyes." Still, most of the songs here are pretty solid, and Josh's voice is in top form. I also really enjoyed watching him interact with the crowd. I wish he wouldn't hug so many women, though...he should save himself for someone really special...someone like me. Lol, you know I'm just joking. Oh, shut up. He also makes a few pleasant comments, but he didn't tell nearly as many stories at this concert as he did at the one I went to. This concert was pretty much all songs, which is nice...but I say, the more Josh, the better.
Um, I should say that I prefer the DVD to the CD. Frankly, the CD focuses on the somewhat less interesting songs from the concert. Plus, you can't see him, and that takes away half of the fun. Anyway, you know that I will never ever get tired of hearing "You Raise Me Up," and Josh does a wonderful version of that during his encore. It's weird, but he also waits until the encore to do the title song, "Awake." Oh well, it's a great note to end on, because it's one of the best songs in the concert. It's certainly much better than his silly attempt to do African folk music in that "Weeping" song. I mean, it's nice that he wants to raise awareness about important issues, but he should probably do some public service announcements on TV, not sing that song.
The sound on the DVD is quite impressive, really nicely accentuating the live atmosphere without damaging the musical performances. Picture quality is just fine, as well. There are a couple of special features on the DVD that I should mention. The first featurette is a brief five-minute look at the making of this DVD, and another 20-minute featurette spotlights Josh talking about how hard it is to be a big star singing all of those songs. Poor guy.
Anyway, I would definitely recommend this DVD to everyone who likes Josh Groban. If you're not familiar with Josh Groban, this is a great way to fall in love with...I mean, find out about him. He's so totally great, and easily just as good as all the other great musicians of the world, like Andrea Bocelli, Celine Dion, and Barry Manilow. So, he is completely not guilty and free to go, and this court is adjourned. What's that, Clark? You want me to call you Judge Douglas from now on? Forget about it. Also, when are you going to pay back the fifty bucks you owe me? Ugh, I never should have loaned you that money, especially since you used it to buy...
*For some unknown reason, the remainder of this review has been deleted.*
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Reprise Records
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
Running Time: 105 Minutes
Release Year: 2008
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* "The Making of Awake Live"
* "Behind the Big Orange Curtain"