The Shocking Miss Emerald
I simply can not put it to words how much I adore Caro Emerald, which may make this review a little tricky. For those unfamiliar, she is a Dutch singer songwriter, whose second album 'The Shocking Miss Emerald' went to the top of the UK album chart in April this year, and following that, this 'Live in Concert' DVD was released in September.
If you had to put Caro Emerald's music into a category, I guess she would fit most neatly into Jazz, however don't let that put you off. I am not a Jazz fan as a rule, but there is so many more elements to her music and influences from across a number of genres that makes her pretty unique. In the special features on this DVD, Caro talks about her favourite artists and she reels off a good broad list from the ones you may expect - Ella Fizgerald, Billie Holiday..and less so Beyonce.. Rhianna. Her own music is Jazzy, funky at times very theatrical but always dripping with class. This lady not only sings with elegance with a little dose of cheekiness, but her looks match her voice perfectly. A refreshing female image in the modern music industry, she is beautiful, and when she performs you simply can not takes your eyes off her, but she doesn't need to wear revealing clothes or add in any stupid dance routines - she is just being herself. In this live DVD she wears her trademark elegant style in the form of a little black dress, kitten heels which she kicks of half way through and her hair pinned to the side under a fantastically glamorous black hat.
This live performance was filmed in front of a very lucky small audience at BBC radio theatre in London, a pretty intimate gig for her considering she's just booked shows for venues such as the o2 next year. This show features a collection of songs from latest album 'The Shocking Miss Emerald' and her debut, 'Scenes from the Cutting Room Floor' as well as a treat in the form of a stunning cover of 'Mad About the Boy.' This may seem a fairly obvious choice for a cover version and she executes it with the precision you'd expect, however not all her covers are so predictable. If you're interested, have a search for her cover of Lady Gaga's 'Bad Romance' and you'll see just how versatile her style can be.
For this cosy live performance Caro is, as usual, joined by her backing band complete with Drums, Keyboards, Bass, Guitar, Saxophone, Trumpet, Trombone and.. Turntables. She is obviously very fond of her band and in awe of their talents. She makes sure throughout the performance that the audience give equal credit them and to her. In her interview she talks about how she was always musical but finding where her true talent lay wasn't immediately obvious and she tried a number of instruments before realising her true instrument was closer than she knew. She is quite honest in telling us that it was mainly down to a lack of patience that she didn't become a pianist or guitarist and I'm sure her fans are pleased about that.
She has an electric chemistry with the band and her voice to the big band sound, all making for a fantastic show. She starts with a trio that we should know, 'Just one dance,' 'You don't love me' and 'Riveria Life' from debut album 'Scenes from the Cutting Room Floor.' She then mixes up the old and new, interjecting with introductions to the band and snippets of stories as to how some of the songs came about. One that particularly sticks in my mind is about the story behind 'Paris,' a song about a late French fashion designer, the story of which she read on Wikipedia of all places.
Real highlight performances for me from the show are fun upbeat 'Pack Up the Louie,' flirty 'Dr Wanna Do' and the theatrical bond-esque goosebump enducing 'I Belong to You.' She finishes up with you of her bigger hits from 'Scenes from the Cutting Room Floor' - 'A Night Like This' and 'Stuck.'
Caro, the band and the audience all end up looking like they've enjoyed the night as much as each other and leaves me sitting on my sofa wishing I'd been there and making sure I will be next time she comes to town.
The DVD package
The DVD itself is presented in a baby blue cardboard case in the style of old concert hall posters. It contains a booklet with credits, photos and a fairly in depth background piece behind the making if the concert and, indeed of Caro Emerald the singer.
For more of this, the previously mentioned interview with Caro Emerald gives viewers the story of how she got her career started in her own words.
In addition to this there are two rehearsal performances of 'Tangled Up' and 'That Man' in which she looks and sounds as effortlessly beautiful as ever.
I can't fault the performance given by Emerald and the band, the filming, sound and DVD package itself. What I will say is I was disappointed that one of my favourite tracks 'The Wonderful in You' wasn't on the set list. This song, from 'The Shocking Miss Emerald' is one that when I first heard it, I was convinced was a cover. It had such a classic and familiar feel to it I was sure it had been around forever. I was wrong, co written by the lady herself and brand spanking new. I guess I can't really knock any points off for this. We all have our favourites and there's no time for them all!
I do hope I've not been too gushy, but yes! If you are a fan of Caro Emerald's music this is a must. If not obviously your sort of thing, then it might be worth a go anyway. My taste in music tends to be of the more rocky persuasion so this is a bit of a departure to my usual taste. Though I do have a real love for the theatre and musicals and maybe that's why Caro's style appeals to me so much. And style she has in bucketloads.
The DVD is available from the usual places, at the time of writing £11.59 on amazon.