Blind Guardian: Imaginations Through the Looking Glass

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Blind Guardian: Imaginations Through the Looking Glass
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Blind Guardian: Imaginations Through the Looking Glass
Power Metal
Century Media Records, Virgin Records
June 14th, 2004
Release length: 4:00:00
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Imaginations Through the Looking Glass marks Blind Guardian‘s first DVD, which covers much of the band’s more widely material live during their A Night at the Opera album’s touring duties. For those who have never seen the band perform live before, this DVD boasts a great concert to give the viewer an idea of just what he/she is missing, but there’s a little more to it then just that. Imaginations Through the Looking Glass also contains a bonus Diskwith some supplemental material, like traditional interview, backstage antics, as well as some bonus live videos. While this DVD makes an excellent companion piece, there just is a little left to be desired as far as the contents go, and the overall enjoyment.

First of all, you get the concert. The live show on the first Diskhas a total of twenty tracks, which includes the introductory instrumental before the band belts into the classic “Time Stand Still (At the Iron Hill)”. The crowd during the show is very reactive to the performance, often singing along and being very active to the band, which is great, but shockingly doesn’t do much for the band’s overall stage presence. While the band puts on an excellent show here, it seems that most of the time, the members are practically cemented to the stage in their specific spots, and the only person who really ventures around is the vocalist, and that’s even kind of a rare sight. Of course, all but the drummer move around the stage, but typically only a straight line left or right pending where they stand, and only a few steps or excited gallops throuhgh the entire set. The band also doesn’t really try to get the band into the music too often either, outside of brief moments of speaking to the fans between songs to acknowledge the next song, or moments where the music slows down, such as during “Valhalla”, where vocalist, Hansi, walks out further into the crowd on the cat walk portion of the stage to get the crowd to sing along to the chorus and clap in the air along to the drummers beat, while the guitarists stand there stationary clapping their guitars.

Of course, the live performancew itself it still pretty strong, and the band does an excellent job of capturing the magic the music has on audio and bringing it to the stage. The only thing about the live performances would be that the vocals sometimes don’t match up with he original album version’s performance, so while you wait for a belted out line or two at an appropriately placed section, instead you’re given the exact opposite and it winds up being a much lower vocal style instead. While this isn’t that bad a thing honestly, it’s just confusing for the fans who know this material by heart at this point and expect that powerful moment, such as during the chorus of “Nightfall”, one of the band’s most well known songs. However, there are times where the band manages to make up for any faults on stage and bring a little more presence to their set, like during “A Past and Future Secret” where fires are started around the stage in little burners placed in a nice formation (six in the back but in front of the drummer, and two on the catwalk expansion of the set) to really help set the tone of the slower paced song, and then a fantastic light show to start “Punishment Divine” when it pounds right in. It’s these types of moments that really wind up pushing the band’s performance along.

The biggest gripe of this DVD, however, is the constantly changing camera angles. Sometimes you don’t even get a single second of one shot before it switches again for another split second. Yes, there’s a lot going on, but how about you focus on one member, or a wide shot of the member, for more then a second? This can grow to be one of the most annoying elements of the DVD. Not all the videos on here are like that, but the song “And Then There Was Silence” is a terrible victim of this. There is a beautifully orchestrated panning shot with the vocalist at the end of the runway singing into the camera, and as it passes and you would assume would zoom out or something and show that entire scene with more crowd and band, it just cuts quickly to another generic shot. Then they start abusing this shot through the song by doing the same thing. Even when the keyboards in this one kick in, they don’t even show the fingerwork for the keyboards, only the man playing it staring off in the distance. However, there’s a zooming out shot much like the aforementioned panning shot near the end of the song that looks very impressive, but why it appears near the end of the song instead of having it utilized at the end of the song when the music slows down is confusing, as it would have worked perfectly for the band, and everyone was still in the same position as that last shot. Whoever wound up putting the pieces together to this failed miserably. There’s even blurred camera shots of band members put in at times, like the start of “Somewhere Far Beyond”, which suffers the most of blurred shos of the band members standing there. They even use a camera shot on Hansi moving in front of the mic, and then panning to the right to nothing! Whoever put this together is an idiot and has it set up in a way that the constant angle shifts are enough to make the viewer sick, possibly even go into a seizure since there’s practically no way to fully embrace what the hell it is you’re watching.

The worst of all atrocities with this DVD, however, comes at the end. If you look close enough, sometimes it will seem like the footage doesn’t match up at times through the concert, but that’s pretty obvious during the ending, starting with “And the Story Ends”, mostly thanks to the shots of the vocalist where you hearing singing, but his lips aren’t moving, or they are and it’s not to the words of the song. It’s honestly like watching a Godzilla musical with metal. Why they went ahead and did this is beyond comprehension. Perhaps the footage of these closing tracks just wasn’t good at all and they needed to recycle footage from earlier songs, which chances are you wouldn’t tell if you weren’t paying attention because of how many different angles appear in this set, as well as how fast they come at you. This set also features the longest steady camera shot, which is a shot of the stage at the end of “Mirror, Mirror” when the closing pyrotechnics go off, zooming out to the crowd and the band still on stage while the credits roll. This shot never changes, which is a theme with the DVD, when there’s action it changes every nanosecond but when nothing is done, it basically stays on one or two specific shots. This, however, actually became a bit of a welcome aggrivation, as the entire set itself was enough to make me sick, and more then likely will do the same to the rest of the viewers of this DVD.

The second Diskisn’t the most entertaining thing either. The interview that goes on is mildly interesting but doesn’t really offer much to be something informative for a DVD, and the behind the scenes footage is just your generic backstage look at how the festival and whatnot came together. The bonus videos on here were actually more fun to watch in the long run because the angles and such weren’t as bad as the main video itself, so there’s another perk about this DVD, but is it enough to sabbe Imaginations Thorugh the Looking Glass? Quite frankly no. This additional footage makes up for the hefty price of the DVD, but at the same time the main allure of this item, the live performance, really just is not done well and can be very confusing if you’re not sitting there completely alert with no distractions whatsoever.

Disk One
01. War of Wrath – 1:07
02. Time Stands Still (At the Iron Hill) – 5:16
03. Banish from Sanctuary – 6:00
04. Nightfall – 5:55
05. The Script for My Requiem – 6:17
06. Valhalla – 8:21
07. A Past and Future Secret – 4:11
08. Punishment Divine – 6:0
09. Mordred’s Song – 5:48
10. The Last Candle – 7:36
11. Bright Eyes – 5:26
12. Lord of the Rings – 4:21
13. I’m Alive – 6:01
14. Another Holy War – 4:54
15. And Then There Was Silence – 13:03
16. Somehwhere Far Beyond – 8:57
17. The Bard’s Song (In the Forest) – 3:43
18. Imaginaotions from the Other Side – 7:55
19. And the Story Ends – 6:15
20. Mirror Mirror – 5:23

Disk Two
01. Interview with Blind Guardian
02. Backstage Scenes of the A Night at the Opera Tour 2002
03. The Making of the Blind Guardian Fedtival Coburg 2003
04. Majesty (Wacken 2002) (Bonus Song)
05. Into th Storm (Stuttgart 2002) (Bonus Song)
06. Welcome to Dying (Stuttgart 2002) (Bonus Song)
07. Lost in the Twilight Hall (Stuttgart 2002) (Bonus Song)

Overall Score: 5/10
Blind Guardian (Band)
Blind Guardian (Logo)Physical review copy of this release provided by personal funds.