DVD Review: Gino Vannelli Ageless and Powerful in ‘Live from L.A.’

Published on March 30th, 2014


It’s usually a big deal when an artist releases a concert DVD. It’s an even bigger deal when it’s their first in more than a decade.

Canadian singer Gino Vannelli is in that latter category. On May 13, Vannelli will emerge with ‘Live from L.A.’, a DVD encapsulating his first performance in the city of angels in more than fifteen years.

In the first seconds of the video, the singer hooks viewer, narrating dramatic imagery of Los Angeles at night.

“Hard to believe so much time had gone by, I thought to myself, as wheels bit the tarmac at LAX,” he says, while the sun sets and traffic whizzes through city streets.

After a quick fade to the interior of the Saban Theatre, Vannelli is thrusting his hips to the pulse of “Nightwalker”, the opening song. Immediately evident are the high production values, providing the viewer with every angle of the stage that could possibly be desired.

There are stellar wide shots of the entire band on stage, bathed in a sea of gorgeous colors. Cameras on the side of the stage provide an interesting perspective, catching more candid moments as Vannelli throws quick smiles to his supporting band.

The brilliant video quality is only matched by the audio, which amplifies the fantastic instrument Vannelli maintains. At 61, he is still one of the most gifted vocalists in the world.

Although his studio recordings never suffered from lack of character, the years have added even more texture to his voice.

On “I Just Wanna Stop”, the notes he holds are sheer bliss to the listener. For “Brother to Brother”, the required falsetto notes pose no problem at all.

Vannelli sings with such an ease and confidence, it’s easy to relax and let him lead the way through more than an hour of songs gathered from his extensive catalog.

After the uptempo opener (the title track of his 1981 release), he alternates his early material with songs written during or after 1985. The new-to-old variety works to keep the tempo in flux, while maintaining the same sheen sound of Vannelli’s full band.

After “I Just Wanna Stop”, there’s “If I Should Lose This Love”, lifted from 1990′s Inconsolable Man.

Following “Appaloosa”, there’s “A Good Thing”, “Wild Horses”, and “The Last Days of Summer” – songs that give a flavor of his more recent recordings.

In between, the banter so often wrongly excluded from other live DVDs is kept on this one, and it works to the disc’s favor. From the humorous story he tells about singing the Canadian anthem to the introduction of his brother, Joe, the dialogue from Vannelli adds a great deal of authenticity, and helps places the viewer inside the theater.

The moment Joe joins the band for “Brother to Brother” is a special one indeed, marking the first on-stage collaboration in many years between the three Vannelli brothers (including Ross Vannelli as producer, editor, and mixer).

For fans both established and casual, there’s much to enjoy on Live from L.A. The grooving encore rendition of “People Gotta Move” in itself is enough to add legions of new appreciators to his ranks.

With such a gift for live performing, Vannelli is smart to release a disc showing his undeniable talents in their fullest form.

It has no traces of the autotune syndrome which plagues so many concert DVDs. It is perfectly engineered and mixed, leaving the eyes and ears nothing left to want – except for a real live concert, of course.

For that, Vannelli will continue touring through 2014.

Tour dates and more on Live form L.A. can be found at www.GinoV.com.

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  1. Posted by phyllis j spencer on April 2nd, 2014, 16:35 [Reply]

    I watched Gino live in l.a. on pbs what a fantastic show Gino was beautiful. I want to buy the dvd in may.


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