Tuned In To Music

Reflections from a lifetime

Review: John Fogerty, The Long Road Home In Concert DVD

After thoroughly enjoying Fogerty’s recently released CD “Revival” I decided to check out “The Long Road Home In Concert”.  Fogerty has returned to playing his Creedence Clearwater Revival songs in public now that the label that owned all of the Creedence material has been bought by Concord Records.  Delighted to have Fogerty back on Fantasy long road homeRecords, Concord blitzed the market with a Creedance and post-Creedance Fogerty collection, this live concert DVD featuring much of the same material, and a CD of the concert all under the “Long Road Home” title.

I was hoping for a joyous celebration with Fogerty’s return to playing his Creedance songs for an audience.  I think that’s what the concert was intended to be as over half of the set is made up of Creedance tunes.  Although Fogerty is not so good at between-song interaction with the audience, he clearly seems energized and excited to be playing this music.  The problem is that most, if not all, the vocals and possibly some of the music sound like they were overdubbed later in the studio.  There are marked tonal differences between Fogerty’s voice when he sings and when he either talks between songs or interjects vocal exclamations in a song.  In addition to the timbral differences, his singing voice is much more clearly and sharply delineated than you would expect from a live recording and it doesn’t seem to depend on the distance of his mouth from the mike.  In addition, there are times when it either sounds like or visually appears that some of the music was overdubbed as well.  The editor used a quick cutting technique so that it’s difficult to get a sustained visual fix on what the musicians are playing and how it synchs up with what you’re hearing.  Certainly some of the drumming was dubbed because the film’s credits include additional drums by Kenny Aronoff who is not the drummer in the concert.

The overdubbing results in the concert having an emotionally flat feel.  It is not fully understood how the human voice carries information to the listener about the emotional state of the speaker or singer but we know that it does.  Fogerty does an excellent job of capturing the timing of his live vocal performance on the studio overdubs so that the lip-synch is very good.  Although it has to be kept in mind that spotting well dubbed vocals can be difficult because of the McGurk Effect – listeners who hear a voice say something that is different from but very similar to what they are watching a mouth say are highly likely to mistakenly report they “heard” what they mouth said and not what they actually heard.   However, Fogerty cannot, or at least he does not, convey the excitement of a live performance with his voice recorded in the studio.   In addition, the closeness with which he matches filmed mouth movements to recorded vocals has the curious effect of accentuating how mechanical the performance of much of this music is.  It’s hard not to think he reproduces the timing of the live vocals in the studio so well because he has sung these songs exactly this way a million times before.

Unless the sound quality or the quality of the musical performance was so bad as to make the concert unlistenable, I would have preferred a less-than-perfect auditory record of the real concert than this combo of live footage with overdubs.  At 99 minutes it felt like it went on much too long and I doubt that would have been the case if we’d heard what actually happened at the gig.

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12/29/2007 - Posted by | DVD reviews, music, music reviews

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