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Gentle Giant
Giant On the Box - DVD

By Rob Turner

Buy this DVD!!!!

If you are a fan of the classic, ‘70’s era of progressive music, you are no doubt familiar with “the Giant.” They were, without a doubt, one of the best groups of musicians ever to be assembled in a rock band. This is evidenced by the first of the four videos found on this DVD. It was filmed and recorded in Brussels in 1974 for German television station ZDF at the invitation of Christopher Nupen, a noted classical music director. The music is intricate, a mixture of modal, medieval sounds, contrapuntal rhythms, jazz and three and four part harmonies. Instrumentation runs the gamut from the basic rock band backbone of guitar, keyboards, bass and drums to violins, cellos, recorders, xylophones, saxophones and almost anything else you can imagine. In total, the five-member band utilizes a total of 35 instruments on their albums and in their live performances, all played with outstanding ability.

I never got to see them, but like many others have acquired every live recording I could get my hands on. That other fans have done the same and that they continue to cry out for more explains why the band has begun buying up, cleaning up and marketing all of the bootlegs they can find. To now actually have video to go along with it is pure heaven.

The disc contains four video sections, the aforementioned 1974 German TV special that is a full fifty minutes in length, American concert footage from 1975 clocking in at thirty minutes, scenes from a topical news show in Germany again in 1974 for station BRW at eight minutes, and a twenty two minute, Italian television show featuring concert footage and interviews as well as a photo gallery. The sound and picture quality is the best I have seen for that period. Not perfect by any means, but more than good enough.

The music that plays while you are viewing the menu is composed and played by Kerry Minnear, the keyboard player, making seem as if it might all be possible one more time. Although the rumors continue to fly that this may happen, I have consistently heard it denied. It is good to have something to dream about, in the meantime, this will do just fine.

By the way, if you are one of the first to purchase this disc, you also get yet a CD of more live material from the same era.

If you are a fan, you owe it to yourself. If you are one of the growing number of people with a developing interest in this type of music, you could do no better than to start here.

Copyright©WWUH: September/OctoberProgram Guide, 2004

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