I’ve anticipated an In Flames DVD for a very long time now. So when news reached my ears that they were releasing a DVD with not one but TWO live performances, included with a behind-the-scenes interview, I was ecstatic. “Used and Abused: In Live We Trust” arrived to me on Christmas morning, and I can say that my patience paid off.
I’ll start by reviewing the Hammersmith show, though I won’t be doing it song by song.
The set list is great here, equally spanning the old and new material. Anders & Co. storm the stage by opening with the classic “Pinball Map”. The band’s stage presence is exhilerating, even though Jesper doesn’t move that much. The opener comes complete with pyro, the audience chanting the chorus, and an amazing sound mix. Moving on without tiring, In Flames pay their own special tribute to Dimebag Darrell by doing a ferocious cover of “F***in’ Hostile” and picking up right into an ultra-melodic, breakneck rendition of “Behind Space”. The crowd response is unbelievable here on thrashers like “In Search for I” and “Touch of Red”, and the pyro, though used sparingly, adds a breathtaking touch to the show. (I get chills when they come in with the last chorus on “My Sweet Shadow”.) Soundwise, the band couldn’t be tighter. Jesper’s and Bjorn’s guitar harmonies are meticulously crafted, and played without mar or flaw. Daniel’s drums sound amazing here, and his live performance, I thought, was underestimated. (It’s odd how much he truly adds to In Flames for being such a simple drummer.) An awesome show, although a bit on the short side. (Only 40 minutes!)
There are two parts to this 90-minute show. Set I consists of the boys storming through the whole “Soundtrack to Your Escape” album. It’s interesting to see how the album comes out live. It seems to have an added level of aggression, especially on bottom-heavy riff monsters like “Touch of Red” and the straightforward but catchy “Dial 595-Escape”. Moreover, Anders’ clean vocals seem stronger live than on the album. (See “The Quiet Place” for the best example.) Although the place of the show is small, (I believe Anders said it’s only a 250-person club.) crowd reception and participation rivals, maybe even exceeds that of the Hammersmith show. The highlights on Set I include, “F(r)iend”, “Dial 595- Escape”, and “In Search for I”. (Kudos to Daniel for awesome drumming on that track!)
Set II spans old and new material. The guys open up with the melodic thrash attack of “Behind Space”, followed by two absolutely classic songs from The Jester Race! Needless to say, it was amazing to hear these songs played in the modern In Flames style. My favorite part of this concert is hearing two of my favorite In Flames songs from the Whoracle album, with an added bite and edge. (“Jotun” sounds absolutely unbelievable here…) The songs from “Reroute to Remain” sound pretty good as well, but I believe they sounded fuller on the Hammersmith show. The Sticky Fingers is definitely exhilerating, and the best show of the DVD, in my opinion.
There are also two songs taken from the Soundtrack to Your Escape tour, “Only for the Weak” and “Clayman”. Both of these classic songs sound absolutely amazing, and you’ll get chills when you hear “Only for the Weak”. The lights and pyro on this mini-show are amazing.
And now for DVD 2…
This second disc contains a 50-minute special named “Jester TV”, which gives the fan a detailed account of the past year for the band. It shows the making of the videos for “Touch of Red” and “The Quiet Place”, and very detailed accounts of the band’s tours in Japan, Australia, and the US, and there are in-depth interviews with all of the bandmembers. Also covered in this special is the Madrid show, when In Flames opened for Metallica.
The next part of the disc consists of music videos. It includes all the videos from STYE, including an extended edition of “Touch of Red”, and an “uncut” version of “The Quiet Place”. Other videos include “System”, “F(r)iend”, “My Sweet Shadow”, and “Dial 595-Escape” live from Japan.
Lastly is the soundcheck chapter. It’s a bit useless, but still cool. Here the band go through “Touch of Red” and “Dial 595-Escape”.
So, there ya go. A highly reccommended DVD to old and new fans of In Flames, and an abosolutely incredible collection of live shows.
Note: Hehe, just thought I would tell you about the “hidden” videos on the DVD’s. On Disc 1, use your remote to jump to the 4th title, Chapter 1, to see a live version of “Episode 666″ at the Sticky Fingers show.
On Disc 2, jump to Title 8 (out of 10), chapter 1, to see a hidden music video for “Borders and Shading”.