Focus - Masters From The Vaults DVD
The Dutch masters of prog didn’t take long to find a way into the hearts of music lovers in the early 70’s, becoming as well known as Jethro Tull, YES, ELP etc. with appearances on The Old Grey Whistle Test and even Top Of The Pops. The growling Hammond, flute and strange yodelling of Thijs Van Leer and fast and intricate guitar of Jan Akkermann brought tunes such as Silvia and House Of The King to the ears of the general populous, the latter song being used for more than one long-running TV programme here in the UK.
Their music was often thought of as modern classical; largely an instrumental band (vocals are rare and usually take the form of an additional instrument rather than verbal communication), their most highly rated albums are Moving Waves and Hamburger Concerto, both which feature on the DVD, along with the aforementioned Silvia and House Of The King.
Thijs talks about the history of the band in between tracks in the ‘retrospective’ section of the DVD, which features clips from The Old Grey Whistle Test and other sessions.
If you were too young to recall what a prog band ‘looked like’ back in the early seventies, the depiction of Focus in this DVD is representative; a bunch of very talented young musicians, highly focussed in their music, almost embarrassed to be in the limelight and not a short back and sides between them. Ahh, those were indeed the days.
Picture and sound quality is good, allowances being made for some picture jitter on the original early footage.
The DVD has a basic menu, allowing the viewer to select the band retrospective (1971-2002), a 1973 Medley and a rare recording of a liver performance of Hamburger Concerto (plus a 16 minute preview of other DVD titles in the series).
The DVD sleeve provides a short background on the band.
The DVD we reviewed was PAL format, but we understand that it is also available in NTSC. Sound is 5.1 surround.
This is a gem of a DVD. Selling for around the price of a Focus album or less, you have perhaps the best of their music with pictures too.
The DVD is available to purchase direct from Classic Rock Productions (link below) and DVD retailers.
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