A great little package.
Following their re-emergence with the re-recording of the classic 'Mood Swings' album in 2013, Canada's Harem Scarem continued on an upward spiral with the excellent 'Thirteen' album, some considering it to be amongst their strongest releases yet. A world tour ensued, and this great DVD/2CD package is a warts-and-all document of the entire show at the Phoenix Concert Hall in their hometown of Toronto this past July.
The quartet of Harry Hess (vocals), Pete Lesperance (guitar), Darren Smith (drums) and Stan Miczek (bass) were in their usual fine fettle and deliver a sparkling performance, their awesome vocal harmonies used to fine effect throughout the show – the DVD demonstrates just how Smith, in particular, is invaluable to this facet of HS. It's clearly evident that the camera work has been done on a limited budget with some odd shots and dodgy editing at times, but that said there is some great footage of Lesperance's amazing guitar work, helped by the occasional use of a mini-cam on his guitar neck (predominantly on his instrumental showcase 'Mandy').
As this tour was to promote the 'Thirteen' album, a fair few of its songs are aired, namely the opening 'Garden Of Eden', 'The Midnight Hours', 'Troubled Times', 'All I Need' and 'Saints And Sinners' (though sadly for me no 'Live It' or 'Whatever It Takes') – seeing these songs performed in the live environment helps to hammer home just how good said 'Thirteen' album was.
Elsewhere the set-list is pretty much an excellent run through of HS's "greatest hits" – 'Dagger', 'Killing Me', 'Turn Around', 'So Blind', 'Human Nature' and 'Voice Of Reason' are scattered throughout. Naturally the classic debut and 'Mood Swings' are featured strongly – 'Hard To Love', 'Distant Memory' and 'Slowly Slipping Away' from the former and 'Saviors Never Cry', 'Sentimental Blvd.', 'Stranger Than Love', the always entertaining 'Change Comes Around' and 'No Justice' from the latter.
The only real negative I can find about the DVD portion is that the song titles appear at the beginning of each track, something that I find distracting and needless – most Harem Scarem fans would immediately recognise the songs, any in doubt can always look at the track-listing on the case. That aside, this a great little package that will tide us over until album 'Fourteen' appears...