America: In Concert
producer: Michael Au
60 minutes (E) 1999
Wienerworld DVD Region '0' retail
reviewed by John M. Peters
These 'In Concert' DVD titles are sourced from a German rock show called Ohne Filter - a concept as simple and as similar as the old BBC2 In Concert series. The performers have a small stage to work from, and the audience are pretty much as 'up close and personal' as they can be, so there's no room for artifice or stadium theatricals. Which is just as well in the case of America as their music favours the intimate.
I can remember America from their most successful period back in the early 1970s - they had a string of hits all done in that west coast unplugged style that was highly popular back then. In a way they were a lighter version Crosby, Stills and Nash. Eventually the hits dried up but thankfully the band has stayed together and it was something of a surprise to receive this DVD and find the band still active. Yes, there is a case of nostalgia going on here, as I quite liked America's un-flashy amalgam of rock and folk.
This concert was recorded at the Ohne Filter Studios in Germany on 16 June 1999, and it was a pleasure to hear those lovely harmony vocals and chiming acoustic guitars again. I'm not sure if this DVD will bring the band many new fans but the old ones won't be disappointed by the track list: Riverside, Ventura Highway, You Can Do Magic, Daisy Jane, Three Roses, Pages, Wheels Are Turning, Tin Man, Only In Your Heart, Lonely People, Last Unicorn, From A Moving Train, Sandman, Sister Golden Hair, and A Horse With No Name.
While I rather like the restrained attitude of these Ohne Filter concerts I have to admit to being sorely disappointed by the lack of artist-specific extras on the disc. Apart from a text-based bio the rest of the 'extras' are uniform to every disc in the series and don't really amount to much at all.