Camel - Curriculum Vitae DVD
This long-awaited DVD documenting the history of one of the UKís finest progressive bands is finally here. I use the word Ďfinallyí with reluctance as Camel has always been acknowledged as being an excellent live band, but with the UK leg of their final tour creeping up on us, that doesnít mean that the band is about to be relegated to the history books. The Camel driver himself, Andrew Latimer, has stated that Camel will continue to record and release albums so there is still a lot more to look forward to.
Curriculum Vitae contains a mix of live footage through the years with interviews and commentary from Andy, the late Peter Bardens, Andy Ward and Doug Ferguson. Comments and recollections are fairly frank and open and consequently as emotional as the music for which they are renowned. Despite differences when the band underwent direction and personnel changes, the original members can still look back with fond memories on that which was, and it does make one wonder if in the future, Messrs. Latimer, Ward and Ferguson could once again collaborate under the Camel guise.
During the production of the DVD, the aforementioned trio did actually record material for a forthcoming bluesy album reliving the time when they first all got together prior to Camel in a band called Brew. And some of this was captured on video and included as bonus footage on the DVD.
Naturally, we would like to see complete material from archive concerts, but either due to licensing difficulties, quality of originals or loss of film/video, we have to make do with snippets of the bandís live performances through the years. If you had forgotten or just didnít realise just how good a drummer Andy Ward was during his time with Camel, you will on seeing this. I have read comments claiming that Wardís timing was out, comments that I refute. The unenlightened may have assumed a split second difference in a beat was an error of the highest order, but this, when it occurred, was a deliberation by Andy Ward I would argue. His style gave Camel that jazzy edge whilst the complexity was a proggerís dream.
Picture and sound quality is excellent as one would expect when companies like UKís Channel 4 and Chrysalis TV have been involved (one presumes in supplying footage not used in Channel 4ís Top Ten Of Progressive Rock programme). David Minasian, the producer and director of the DVD, maintained the high standard throughout.
The DVD has a basic menu, which is all that is really necessary.
The DVD sleeve provides a brief background and credits whilst an eight-page booklet insert lists all who have ever played with Camel and their brief resume.
The DVD is multi-region NTSC format, stereo sound and 4:3 standard screen ratio. (Note: most, if not all DVD players can handle this providing an NTSC output but not all PAL televisions will accept an NTSC signal especially portable TVs or those older than five years, so check your equipment literature to be certain. If the TV is not NTSC compatible youíll end up with a monochrome picture. However, the DVD should work on all PCís equipped with a DVD drive.)
No Camel fan should be without this DVD. It has all the makings of a broadcastable TV rockumentary, of general interest to all prog fans and modern historians. Unlike many rockumentaries that show ten second clips, most of the live footage is of complete songs.
Andy Latimer states that he never letís go and that does make me wonder if, on reflection, talk of no more Camel gigs will hold firm.
The DVD is available to purchase direct from Camel Productions (link below) and DVD retailers.
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