Fiction Plane - Paradiso
I do not normally like live DVDs, because they are usually static performances, with band members standing still, playing their songs; sometimes addressing the crowd, and sometimes not. Another issue I have with them is that the music is usually either overdubbed or sickeningly reworked in the studio prior to the DVD's release, robbing the listener/viewer of a memorable performance.
I can thankfully say that Paradiso is an honest gem in an otherwise deceitful industry. Fiction Plane is one of those rare bands that wears its heart on its sleeves. The performance on Paradiso, although very well produced, is raw, unapologetic, and entrancing. Each member of the band looks to be truly enjoying himself, and to be completely honest, I got caught up enjoying the moment with them, even though I am a couple thousand miles (and months) away from the actual concert.
Crisp imagery and sound that puts you in the front row, Paradiso is the perfect point of closure for Fiction Plane's nearly two-year run promoting Left Side of the Brain.
This is a DVD designed with the fans in mind. The set list is a culmination of material that they have perfected in the live setting since the beginning of The Police tour back in early summer 2007, as well as some newer cuts that were written along the tour trail. Yes, we finally get to have a proper recording of "Sadr City Blues" and "Cut the Brake" (provided you get the DVD/CD combo version).
But this is not just about the concert. The extras on the DVD are probably worth the cost of the disc alone! What the band have provided are an uncensored version of the "It's A Lie" video, a behind-the-scenes film from the making-of the video, a photo gallery, and an expansive list of credits and thanks.
The uncensored version of the video is not as different from the regular video, with the exception of the addition of one little scene showing the dirty old man "enjoying" himself. Although disgusting to look at, the video now makes sense. The whole story was a dream/fantasy sequence. The regular version of the video omits that scene and you are really left with no closure. Once you get past that initial shock, the uncensored video is quite funny in hindsight, and fits perfectly with Fiction Plane's unique brand of humor.
The behind-the-scenes video was shot largely by drummer Pete Wilhoit and walks through the various scenes during the making of "It's A Lie" at a house in New Jersey. There are shots of singer Joe Sumner's Amish-looking brother Jake (who directed the video), Seton in a really old car, Pete acting like a farmer, and Joe semi-morphed with a dog. The clip ends with Joe singing a little ditty trying to convince the viewer that the video was actually shot in England, and not in New Jersey. Yes, it is silly, but it is also fun and candid to see something the average fan is never exposed to.
The photo gallery is a tranquil, moving slideshow that really sums up and closes the book on where Fiction Plane has been and what they have accomplished in the past two years. The gallery is set to the song "Fake Light From The Sun" and shows several live shots from along the tour trail, rare backstage pics (including images of the band with The Nation of Islam, Tom Morello from Rage Against The Machine, and Fergie from Black Eyed Peas), and assorted silliness. If you have ever seen them live, they love to ham it up for the cameras.
All in all, Paradiso is a great snapshot of Fiction Plane and what got them to where they currently are. It is actually heartwarming to watch, and I would bet that it is also a great tool to convince your friends to go out to one of their concerts. It made me want to go see them all over again.
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