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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
SOUND QUALITY 8.5/10

PICTURE QUALITY 8/10

PERFORMANCE 10/10


Background

Arno is probably not a name that a lot of people will recognise, which is half the reason for writing this review. Arno is a Belgian singer who sings mainly in French, does some songs in English and throws in the odd Flemish word. He has been around for quite a while with an early band, Freckle Face releasing an album in 1972 and his first solo album appearing in 1986, in addition to his solo career he has also been in several bands with TC Matic being probably the biggest and most successful. Musically Arno is a bit difficult to place, 'euro rock' could be a suitable category label, his music is definitely blues based and his rather unique and rough voice combined with a great backing band make for an unusual and powerful experience.

THE DVD

VOCALS: ARNO
KEYBOARDS: SERGE FEYS
GUITARS: GEOFFREY BURTON
BASS: MRIKO BANOVIC
DRUMS: FREDERICK VAN DE BERGHE


This disc contains the live footage from a 2005 concert in, you guessed it, Brussels. The venue, Ancienne Belgique is fairly small with a maximum capacity of about 2 000 people, not sure how many people attended this gig but the feeling on the disc is very intimate. Arno is probably not somebody you would really want to see in a big arena though this disc does contain some footage from the Werchter Festival Ground, good but the music does lose some of it's intensity, IMO.

The gig is filmed in black and white which may please or displease people, personally I really like it, it just seems to fit the style and mood of the music, Arno is about music and not a flashy stage show. The disc also has an almost documentary feel to it. There is also no 5.1 sound available, Dolby Digital Stereo is all that is on offer but as this is a very well recorded and mixed DVD this poses no problem, at least not for me.

The gig consists of sixteen songs, some newer and some old stuff but all of it great. From the opening song, Chanteur De Charme it is clear that Arno is on form, that voice is just outstanding, rough, delicate, intense. Next up is Ratata which is an old TC Matic song, slowish song sung with great passion and the audience are mesmerised. Arno is not alone on stage, this band is tight and one can sense the chemistry between the two. You got to move has to be the roughest sounding song of the gig, brutal vocals with some fantastic blues guitar and Arno playing the harmonica, this is not pretty music but it is real. Les yeux de ma mere is a lot more melodic, just Arno and keyboards, it is almost humbling listening to this song and you can almost feel his pain, not bad considering he is singing in French and I do not understand what he is actually on about! The band is back for the next song, Il est tombe du ciel and the song always makes me think of a French film, it just sounds like it could be a soundtrack for an independent foreign film. Lola etc could be a song about old girlfriends, I do not get much French but he does mention a lot of girls names and throws in a great line in English, 'Like I said before, I am just a lonseome gigolo'. There is quite a variety of songs on this disc, With you is a pop song, almost, with quite a lot of synthesizer. This is followed by the stand out song, I am not generally very keen on cover versions, I kind of think that the original artist knows what the song should sound like and that very rarely does a cover version bring something new to a song or do the original any justice, Mother's little helper is a great song, I love the Stones version but this version just has a lot more feel to it, a lot more intense, in my opinion it is almost worth buying this DVD for this one song alone. Mother's Little Helper Mother's little helper can be viewd here, this is the version from the DVD. Bathroom singer is one of those songs that make you want to sing along and Arno has some fun with cymbals on stage.

There is a lot to absorb on this disc, this is a great concert DVD with a lot of passion, outstanding vocals and great music.

THE EXTRAS

There is a lot of bonus material available, often though it seems as though the bonus stuff is basically just filler, thankfully this is not the case here. There are ten music videos included, admittedly a lot of them are quite different/weird, you have to remember that this is not a huge international star, he is Belgian and a lot of these videos are from the late 80's. A video that was not shown on MTV would be 'Jean Baltazaarrr', Arno's take on the classic David Bowie song Jean Genie, sung in French and English this is unusual with a weird video that would have been censored by MTV as you do see a bit of naked flesh.

Available on this DVD are also seven other live songs from various venues, the arena stuff is good but not brilliant. One song that stands out is 'Little Red Rooster', this versions does the original justice and has a great blues sound.

SUMMARY

This is not going to be DVD for the masses, it will never compete against the huge productions that the big bands release. If you like blues, do not mind songs in French and are open to something just a little bit off the beaten track, then this could be a disc to add to your collection. I have shown this to various people, none of whom had ever heard of Arno before and the comments ranged from, wow, weird, different, great, intense, must buy and it also left a few people cold.

WARNING!!!!!

Buy at your own risk, this could be a very expensive purchase. I bought this DVD for myself and after viewing about half of it I had to go online and see if Arno had any gigs coming up. Thankfully he did and I managed to get tickets to a gig in Amsterdam, an amazing experience and well worth the price of air tickets etc.
 

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Terrific review. Will check out some of his offerings.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the positive comment! I had a quick look at Amazon to see if they have any of his albums, they do but they are pricey as they are imports. I can highly reccommend Charles Ernest, it is the first album of his that I heard before becoming hooked, it includes Mother's Little Helper. French Bazaar is a slightly newer release and also very good, there is a version with bonus tracks available, one of the tracks being Back Door Man, the album also features a very unusual cover, Knowing Me, Knowing you, yes the ABBA song. His latest offering, Jus De Box is also worth getting hold of.
 

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Whow I'm really surprised that an artist like Arno is known on this forum.

If I can help someone to get items from over here at a good price. I'm willing to go to the shop and ship it overseas. Just ask me.
 
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