- JAZZ ICONS: SARAH VAUGHAN LIVE IN '58 & '64. This is part of a series of Jazz Icons DVDs which came out last year and, since I worship Sarah Vaughan, this is the one I got. These are B&W movies of Sassy in performance in Sweden and Holland (in 1958) and in Sweden again in 1964. The sound on these films is frankly astounding considering the fact that we haven't seen them before and they're such rare performances. The picture is very good, for that matter. Sarah is in top form in all 3 performances. The first (Sweden '58) was a live performance without audience for Swedish TV. Sarah demurely introduces each song and then gets down to it. Highlights include a rendition of her classic "Lover Man" as well as "September in the Rain" which she mentions she just recorded on her classic live "At Mister Kelly's" album. Next we find her in Holland in 1958; this time with an audience. The highlight has got to be her beautiful rendition of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow". Finally, we find her in an actual concert hall in Sweden 1964 for the longest of the three performances. Here Sarah performs a simply ASTOUNDING version of "The More I See You" as well as her classic "Misty" and her favourite "Maria". The shocking thing about THIS performance is that she has a cold -- and you'd never know it if she hadn't mentioned it. How could someone sing that gloriously with a cold?!?!? This DVD is absolutely priceless and I've been playing it off and on since I picked it up last summer.
- ELTON 60 LIVE AT MADISON SQUARE GARDEN. I'm quite an Elton fan so naturally I was going to pick this one up: a one night only performance at MSG on Elton's 60th birthday also marking his 60th appearance at that venue -- the most of any single performer. However, I bought the DVD with some trepidation; I feared the concert might be just the same old songs I've seen him perform countless times. . .and I was also afraid that, at 60, ole Elt might be running out of steam and sound a bit "wheezy". My God, was I wrong. This was simply one of the best Elton concerts I've ever seen (and believe me, I've seen a few). Predictably, he starts the concert with "Sixty Years On". The best aspect of the concert is that he performs a lot of lesser known songs that I love and he sounds great doing them: "High Flying Bird", "Empty Garden", "Roy Rogers", "Something About the Way You Look Tonight" and "Ballad of a Well Known Gun" are some highlights for me. "Empty Garden" in fact brought me to tears. The DVD is also chock full of rare Elton performances from the past. A wonderful package.
- MAKE MINE MUSIC. Yeah, that's right. This is the little known Disney movie from the 40's which didn't get as much attention as FANTASIA. Admittedly, this movie is considerably weaker than FANTASIA but it does contain Disney versions of "Peter and the Wolf" and "Casey at the Bat" as well as something I had on a record as a kid: "The Whale Who Wanted To Sing at the Met". However, the undisputable highlight has GOT to be "Johnnie Fedora and Alice Blue Bonnet": the whimsical adventure of two hats who fall in love in a department store window sung by The Andrews Sisters. This is my doddy Cheekies' favourite so how could I not love it?!?
- SADE: LOVERS LIVE. This DVD I've had for years but in 2006 I played the hell out of it. It is simply one of the best concerts I've ever seen and I love this DVD! How can I pick the highlights when the whole concert is a highlight?!?! "Paradise", "King of Sorrow" and "No Ordinary Love" for sure but nothing can top her show-stopping performance of "Is It A Crime" which has also been known to reduce me to a mushy puddle. NOTE TO EVERYONE READING THIS: If Miss Thing (Sade) ever comes touring around these parts and no one tells me, there's gonna be hell to pay. This means YOU, Colding! I wanna go! I wanna go!
- BJORK GREATEST HITS VOLUMEN 1993-2003. This collection of videos is undoubtedly stunning and I found myself watching this constantly the past year -- even though I've had this DVD for years as well. Like the Sade DVD, I found myself constantly popping this into the DVD player all year long. Highlights?!?!? Oh come on! "Human Behaviour", "Venus as a Boy", "Big Time Sensuality", "Isobel", "It's Oh So Quiet", "Joga", "Bachelorette", "Hunter". . .I love 'em all.
DEPECHE MODE: DEVOTIONAL. Here's another DVD I've had before last year but played the living snot out of this past year. And at maximum volume! This is the concert that got me into Depeche Mode in the first place and it's never been topped in my book. Another of the greatest concerts I've ever seen. Highlights?!?! Oh crap. Here we go again. There's so many: "Walking in My Shoes", "Behind the Wheel", "I Feel You", "Never Let Me Down Again", "Personal Jesus", "Enjoy the Silence". . .it goes on and on.
So, that's it. The most played music DVDs of the past year. I have a sneaking suspicion they're not going to go away anytime soon, either!