Metal Express Rating: 5.5/10
Release Date: 2009-01-23
by: PATRIK GUSTAFSON
Email: patrik@ metalexpressradio.com
Is Jorn Lande Norway’s leading voice of Rock today? Well, that is, as anything, up for discussion, but the vocalist has certainly made quite a name for himself during the last decade or so. A run down of his different whereabouts is not necessary; most who read this probably have a fairly good overview of the man’s work anyway. Needless to say, Jorn Lande has kept busy and might be the Scandinavian equivalent of the likes of Rob Rock and James Rivera, lending his voice to numerous formations and projects.
The one constant has of course been his solo work, which naturally makes up the back bone of material performed on this DVD, shot live at the ProgPower VII festival in 2006. A bit of a historical occasion as well as this marked the vocalist’s first ever gig on American soil.
The DVD is shot in black and white as well as colour. The black and white footage looks slightly grainer, though not as bad as the case was with DIO’s Evil Or Divine, but then, that might be for effect.
It doesn’t come anywhere near the majority of footage on display anyway. Title of the song currently playing is listed in the beginning of each song – obviously a good inclusion for the not so initiated. Extras are spare, some; none of note, in fact. It is to be expected with extras of some sorts with the medium in question; this is not VHS after all, especially in this day and age. Oh well!
On to the actual gig footage and performance in question; Jorn Lande is a laid back front man, obviously preferring to let his actual singing be the centre of attention, he looks comfort decked in shades, mobile but no Bruce Dickinson, rather the ilk of a Ronnie James Dio, obviously one of his heroes. Banter in between songs is likewise kept to a minimum. The performance of Jorn and his band is basically flawless.
The song selection however is peculiar when one reflects on the amount of projects Jorn Lande has lent his voice to over the years. The inclusion of several covers especially. Although the vocalist having made tribute to his musical role models on Unlocking The Past, there’s really no need having as many covers in the live set, even if it means performing to an American audience previously unexposed to Jorn Lande. Selections from the extensive back catalogues from the likes of Thin Lizzy, Deep Purple and DIO are being let out. Lande looks to be staring a bit much at the floor while singing “Straight Through The Heart” by the latter, which looks funny. What’s the point of choosing a cover you need sheets to read from? A long Whitesnake medley is another curiosity, as is the inclusion of drum and guitar solo spots. At shows these only serve as spots to grab a beer, take a piss or chatting up that attractive girl that happens to stand next to you (there must be tons of those present at ProgPower anyway). On DVD, solo spots inevitably lead the viewer to hit the “next” button.
The Masterplan goodie “Soulburn” off their self titled debut is otherwise left, amongst the Jorn solo work of course, which, not surprisingly, tends to make up the highlights of this footage. More material lifted from the man’s solo catalogue, as well as a highlight or two of the likes of his former bands Ark and Beyond Twilight would have made more sense.
Great performance as said, but the overindulgence in covers and inclusion of unnecessary solo spots holds back the overall effect dramatically, and the lack of extras doesn’t do the release much good either. To summarize, for the long run, Live In America will probably only entertain Jorn’s die hard fans.