“ Genre: Music DVDs - R&B and Soul / Theatrical Release: 2010 / Exempt / Blu-ray released 2010-11-29 at Syco / Features of the Blu-ray: Colour „
* Prices may differ from that shown
NB: My review is just for a standard DVD rather than the Blu-Ray version but I've been directed here for posting it.
I wasn't initially planning to buy this DVD, despite having both of Leona's albums to date. After reading some really positive reviews of her Labyrinth tour in general and watching some clips of Youtube, I decided to give it a go and see what the whole thing was like.
Before I go into the review proper, here is the list of tracks that were performed at the concert venue:
1. Brave (from the Echo album)
2. Don't Let Me Down (Echo)
3. Better in Time (from the Spirit album)
4. Whatever It Takes (Spirit)
5. Take a Bow (Spirit)
6. (Video interlude: Ride a White Swan)
7. I See You (from the Avatar movie but not on either album)
8. Can't Breathe (Echo)
9. Forgive Me (Spirit Deluxe album)
10. Happy (Echo)
11. Could It Be Magic (performed on The X Factor when she was a contestant but again, not on either album)
12. I Got You (Echo)
13. Cry Me a River (cover of the Justin Timberlake track)
14. The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face (Spirit)
15. Homeless (Spirit)
16. (Video interlude: They Don't Care About Us - Michael Jackson cover)
17. Outta My Head (Echo)
18. Sweet Dreams (cover of the Eurythmics track)
19. Run (Spirit Deluxe, cover of the Snow Patrol track)
20. Bleeding Love (Spirit)
In addition to the DVD, there is also a CD of tracks from the concert. Not all tracks are included, which is a shame but the ones that feature are:
2. Don't Let Me Down
3. Better in Time
4. Whatever It Takes
6. The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face
7. Outta My Head
8. Sweet Dreams
10. Bleeding Love
To be frank, I had an image in my head that Leona would remain largely glued to the spot at the microphone as she did on X Factor. After all, she is known for her impressive vocals skills rather than her all-round entertainment skills. If this concert is anything to go by, she's worked extremely hard on her performance skills and has much more stage presence than I ever thought possible from her. Granted, she'll probably never be able to perform like a Beyonce or Lady Gaga but she has a good go at dancing and interacting with her dancers so she's definitely not as one-dimensional as I'd expected. While I'd imagine that the vast majority of people buying tickets for a Leona gig are expecting to be wowed by her voice, but for those who expect this to be balanced with a bit of dancing and interaction won't be too disappointed either.
For the most part, there isn't a huge amount of editing going on but as the DVD is only just over 90 minutes and the actual concert would no doubt have been much longer than this, there's been some attempt to cut things down and make the performances flow. It's mostly the costume changes which have been edited out and nothing important is being missed there. For me, the performances merge from one to another without the editing being any kind of problem.
I paid £10 for my copy from HMV but you can probably find it on the likes of Amazon and eBay possibly for a bit cheaper now that it's not a particularly new DVD. Considering that you get a CD of live tracks, albeit condensed in comparison to the DVD, along with the DVD itself, this doesn't seem bad value.
If you're a Leona fan, this DVD should tick all of the boxes. You've got the vocals as usual but there's a definite attempt to show a more sassy and feisty Leona in many of the performances. I've only touched on the live CD until now but I found this to be a bit of a letdown. The vocals are taken from the actual concert, and aren't as faultless as you'd get on a CD or even in a concert if she did just stand at the mic throughout. When you hear the vocals, you need to take into the account the fact that she's often skipping about the stage, doing some low-key dancing or generally moving about in some way and for me, these tracks don't work without being able to see the performance on the screen so it's a bit redundant. If I want to hear the tracks from the concert, I'd rather just stick the DVD on and hear them in context with the performances.
As many of you will know, I am a massive fan of Leona Lewis! Back in May I went to see her in concert on her 'Labyrinth' tour. So, I was very excited, when I heard that she would be releasing the concert on DVD. The DVD was released in November 2010 and so is very recent. It features Leona's 02 concert. This DVD is currently available to buy from Amazon for a price of £12.99, which I think is quite expensive, however if you are a big fan like me, you just have to have regardless of the price! It is well worth the money though!!
When we went to see Leona in concert in Liverpool, we were sat near the back of the arena (Block 7 -Row M) and were 'raised up' so we thought that we would have quite a good view. The stage looked quite small and reminded me of the kind of stages you get in town halls. We didn't have a great view at all, and that's why I was so desperate to see this DVD, to see what I had missed out on 'visually'.
You would be suprised to learn that Leona actually 'jumps about' a lot on stage, and is very lively , and not at all as you would expect her to be : to just stand at the microphone all night and sing ballads. I was really impressed with her performance, as obviously jumping around and dancing isn't really something she is used to and so I thought that she did a fantastic job.
I was really pleased with the song choices, and was glad that the songs featured were taken from both her albums. I particularly liked the order that they were performed in ; 'Brave' as the first song. I also thought that the amazing 'Bleeding Love' was the last song to be performed was good as it kind of marks a celebration for Leona as it was her real beginning (not including 'A Moment Like This' as it was the X Factor's winner's song) to her musical career. I was however, disappointed that 'Footprints In The Sand' and 'A Moment Like This' were not performed. I understand that it would have been impossible to perform all of her songs, but considering that she performed all of them apart from these two....I'm sure she could have fitted them in somewhere, or sang just a verse/chorus as part of a medley or something.
I was really pleased with the 'live CD' that comes with this DVD. There are live versions of her songs on the CD, however I was slightly disappointed that they did not contain all of the songs that she performed live in the concert. I would have loved if they had included some of the songs which had a different style to how they sound on their CD, such as 'Take A Bow' and 'Forgive Me'. I do however love the CD as it means that I can listen to the concert while I'm in the car, etc. I think that there something so much more real about listening to a live CD rather than a 'overly touched' one.
I thought that the sets were amazing. When I saw the live concert, I could not really see what was going on the stage very well, and so this DVD allowed me to zoom in on what was happening. I really enjoyed the sets, and thought that there was something so magical about them. I particularly liked the tree! I wasn't too keen on the swinging swing though ; it looked a bit to 'amateur' for my liking.
Leona sings most of the songs (I think it's only 'Outta My Head' that's not live) live, and so I think that that's fantastic! I always think that an artist should always sing live, otherwise they are defeating the object of calling themselves singers. But considering that these days, hardly no artists sing live, and so for Leona to sing live 95% of her concert is brilliant! She sounds fantastic, so powerful and emotional. She really connects with her audience, and when you hear sing it gives you tingles. She also has such amazing stage presence!
One thing about the sound which I didn't like was how must 'boost' and 'volume' it had. While I know it needs to be loud, so that all the thousands of people can hear, although it is such an artificial sound. I know that this is no fault of Leona's though, as she really can sing fantastically well. I would just prefer if the concerts were preformed in smaller venues with just a couple of hundred people where a 'normal sound system' is required, than performing in front of tens of thousands, where the sound is blasted.
I love the fact that Leona performed along with a live band, as it really added to the show, and meant that her songs were performed in a way that we hadn't heard them before. I also think that the band totally complimented her performances.
My favourite performances were defiantely 'Run' ; the whole arena was filled with emotion, and it is one of my favourite ever Leona songs. Other special performances for me also included 'Cry Me A River and 'Take A Bow'. There are two video performances (to give Leona a break and time to change, I imagine) and those two videos were of Leona singing a cover of two songs ; 'Ride A White Swan' and 'They Don't Care About Us', which were songs that I had not heard before. While I am sure a lot of her fans will appreciate her doing something different, although I would have prefered if she had included the two videos for 'A Moment Like This' and 'Footprints In The Sand' as they were the two songs of her own that she did not perform, and so I would have prefered if she had performed her own two songs that I love, rather than two songs that I did not know and did not like, although I suppose you can't please everyone.
I really like Leona's outfits ; they are so glamourous and 'divalike' and so unique! Apparently her whole wardrobe was especially designed for her and cost a whooping £200,000!!
This a fantastic show, that is so worth experiencing. Even if you are not really a fan of Leona's but are still looking for a great show ; then I would definately recommend this to you! This is what being a proper artist is all about! She really is a world class artist, who is sure to be around for many more years!
I really cannot for her next concert!!
Thanks for reading!
December 15th 2010
xd-o-n-z-x (also posted on ciao under xdonzx)