Rhett Miller | On Stage at World Café Live (Decca Vision)

rhettBacking band the Believers don't even make an appearance until the 13th track. What this means, then, is 11 solo acoustic songs, one with a bonus female co-lead, followed by four absolutely captivating and rocking tunes. Kind of an uneven choice for a live DVD.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whereas Duncan Sheik's captured concert featured only 12 songs, here Rhett Miller—flying solo from his gig as Old 97's frontman—delivers 16. The unfortunate part is that this gig, apparently, was Miller's first with his new backing band, the Believers…who don't even make an appearance until the 13th track.

What this means, then, is 11 solo acoustic songs, plus one with a bonus female co-lead (filling in for Rachel Yamagata on "Fireflies," natch), followed by four absolutely captivating and rocking tunes. Kind of an uneven choice for a live DVD, methinks.

Oh sure, Miller's charming and able to hold his own, and had I been in attendance at the Philly club on this night, I wouldn't have minded the solo action in the least. But on DVD, where you're completely removed from the electricity in the room, a solo acoustic performance just isn't enthralling enough to hold your attention, never mind warrant repeat viewings.

Miller solo staples such as "Four-Eyed Girl" and "Brand New Way" are played alongside Old 97's classics "Rollerskate Skinny" and "The New Kid." The hybrid gem "Question" (recorded both as a full-band song and stripped-down on Miller's latest solo offering) is rendered annoying, as Miller insists (as he did when I saw him live last year) on singing the first verse in French. (And your reasoning here, Rhett, would be…why?)

Once the band joins him onstage, the mood is obviously heightened, and Rhett & his Believers crash through four rollicking and memorable numbers: "My Valentine," "Singular Girl," "Help Me, Suzanne," and "Our Love." Though they're far from being tight, they've got the enthusiasm bit down pat—and, of course, Miller's provided the lasting tunes.

As with the Duncan Sheik World Café release, again we're stuck with the unimaginative, cookie-cutter design, corny intro, and interview footage interspersed into the concert. Unless you want to see the entirety of the studio interview, you won't need to seek out the extras. Ultimately, this DVD is only for the diehard fan, and even then, only the final four songs are worth repeat views. | Laura Hamlett

About Laura Hamlett 467 Articles
Laura Hamlett is the Managing Editor of PLAYBACK:stl. In a past life, she was also a music publicist and band manager. Besides music, books, and other forms of popular culture, she's a fan of the psychology behind true crime and violent criminals. Ask her about mass murder...if you dare.

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