By Andy Argyrakis, senior music editor,gmc.com
Concert DVDs tend to be aimed at hardcore fans, at least more so than the latest iTunes single download. But in the case of alternative rockers After Edmund and mainstream men of faith Creed, both collections of performances have intriguing stories to tell, and there's plenty of variety within each title sure to keep the faithful in front of the tube.
After Edmund makes connections
"We've been writing a bunch of new material and we've been saying 'let's throw this one in tonight,'" vocalist/bassist Mitch Parks tells us. "We started playing the song 'Backwards' live and had such a good response that we decided to add in some other new ones, plus we've taken a fresher approach to some songs from Hello."
Such is the case on the current collection, which is an entirely live recording set in a studio, blending brand new tunes and re-imagined favorites from its GRAMMY-nominated debut. Not only does the intimate environment give fans a remarkably up-close-and-personal view of the fellas performing with jaw-dropping precision, but it's also packed with energy and liveliness (aptly inspiring the subtitle).
"It's been really encouraging as we've been touring amongst other musicians," adds keyboard player Yates. "On one of the first tours we ever did, all the opening bands were watching our set, which was really cool to get that kind of respect, especially because people who are always entertaining others found us to be entertaining."
Even with the top-notch material of this project – on both visual and audio planes – the group's widespread acceptance is also credited to its unceasing tour schedule. In fact, the road warrior's mentality has opened the floodgates of the guys' current creative flow, which brilliantly walks a fine line between experimental programming and unforgettable, dance-derived beats.
"I think it comes from the fact that we've spent so much time as an opening band on somebody's else's tour and having 15 minutes to try and gain an audience," suggests guitarist Ben Hosey. "We've learned by trial and error, seeing what grabs an audience's attention and what makes people turn and talk to their friend. We've grabbed those elements and applied them to writing new songs, going in a direction of what the crowd instantly responds to versus writing only what we want to hear."
Creed's first-ever concert collection
Though a technical thrill, the real treat is seeing a post-solo Scott Stapp reunited with the rest of the band (who spent the hiatus working on a side project, Alter Bridge) and basically picking up right where they left off. After opening with the hair raising "Bullets," the group recalls breakthrough cuts like "My Own Prison" and "Faceless Man" with rip-roaring abandon. "With Arms Wide Open" and "My Sacrifice" are two sterling examples of the group's spiritual musings, while the heavenly allusions in "Higher" are met with the mightiest crowd reaction of the entire experience.
Creed Live isn't just a mere nostalgic trip through the golden oldies, but also a document of its latest chapter. Cuts like "Overcome" and "A Thousand Faces" are plucked from the new CD, Full Circle, finding just as much super-charged footing as the previous hits, this time with a redemptive twist.
About the Writer
Andy Argyrakis is a Chicago-based entertainment writer/photographer who appears in the Chicago Tribune, Illinois Entertainer, Daily Journal, Concert Livewire, Hear/Say Magazine and Image Chicago (to name few). His record label writing credits include Warner Brothers, Atlantic, Curb, EMI and Universal, with additional photo credits for Fuse TV, Live Nation, Nikon, Pollstar, Celebrity Access, Paste Magazine, MTV.com and Vibe.com. He's also the author/narrator of "Access Matthews" (an audio CD tracing the career of Dave Matthews Band) and spends considerable time on tour, including outings with Arlo Guthrie, The Guess Who, Madina Lake (on Linkin Park's Projekt Revolution) and Gospel Music Channel's very own "Gospel Dream" (where he served as season one judge).
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