In September last year the classic Ayreon album, The Human Equation was brought to life on stage at a theatre in Rotterdam for just one weekend. Billed as The Theater Equation, as with the album, there was a large cast of singers including James LaBrie, Marcela Bovio, Anneke van Giersbergen, Irene Jansen, Heather Findlay, Jermaine van der Bogt and many more. There was also a band and a choir, so it was a big production.
The show I attended was one of my highlights of last year – it really was stunningly good, so as I’d heard that one of the shows was filmed, I’d been waiting eagerly for the DVD.
Oh dear – eager excitement quickly turned to anger and disappointment once it arrived and I started to watch it.
One big problem is that it’s been edited like a normal concert DVD whereas this is more of a musical or theatre production, so the constant change of camera means that rather than being drawn into the story that the singers are telling, the DVD spoils it. Cutting from the singers to other musicians mid-song and constant changes of camera angle is fine in a concert DVD but not here.
The camera work is extremely poor at times – jerky and unsteady and doesn’t appear to be professional. In at least one place the shot chops the top of the singer’s head off, and the ability to keep the subject in focus is sadly lacking at times Throw in an over enthusiastic smoke machine and much of the footage isn’t sharp enough. Don’t waste your money in the bluray if you were planning to buy that rather than the DVD as the picture quality is the same on either format.
The only saving grace is that the sound quality is excellent.
I’m sorry but this release should have been amazing. You’ve got a superb cast of singers and musicians performing the theatre adaptation of a superb album, and the shows themselves were fantastic, but this release just doesn’t live up to expectations. In fact it’s way below the standard it should be and is actually so bad I couldnt watch all the way through as I was just so annoyed with the poor video quality and editing. The video quality is the worst I’ve seen in a long time from a big release.
Unless you’re a big Ayreon fan then avoid this release.