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'Devin Townsend Presents Ziltoid Live At The Royal Albert Hall' (DVD)
(Inside Out)
Release date: 13th November 2015

Ian Sutherland
ian sutherland

devin townsend

They say that there is a fine line between genius and madness and Canadian maverick Devin Townsend certainly seems to be a candidate for that discussion.

In a career of musical experiments imbued with his unique sense of dynamics and wild and often cheesy sense of humour it is a testament to the man's charisma that he has built himself a massive cult following.

So much so that when he announced the seemingly crazy idea that he was going to perform the 'Dark Matters' concept album featuring his creation Ziltoid in its entirety at London's Royal Albert Hall of all places the show sold out in days.

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The show was filmed with fifteen high definition cameras so now it is available in combinations of BluRay, DVD and CD packages for everyone to see and hear the madness and/or genius in superb quality.

The first part of the show is the cheesy science fiction 'Dark Matters' story told with giant screens, characters in costumes including farting scrotums (yes, really), a small choir and a really, really good band.

Personally I could do without all the narration involved in telling a story which is a plot in only the very loosest term of the word but the visuals are fantastic fun and one of the delights of the DVD is seeing how often Townsend's own face lights up with childish glee at seeing how it all looks around him. This really does come over as a dream come true.

devin townsend

Never mind the fancy visuals or the costumes or the teenage fart jokes though, behind all the fun there is some terrific music. The excellent band which is the Devin Townsend Project sound absolutely huge here.

The scale of the sound is truly epic and when the band really get going on tracks like 'March Of The Poozers' the effect is stunning. Special mention has to go to drummer Ryan van Poederooyen whose work is simply fantastic, full of power, precision and invention.

Dominique Lenore Persi throws herself completely into the ham acting required for her role as the War Princess and also contributes some stunning singing to add to the unique vocal range of the main man himself. Townsend's guitar work is exemplary too and he even throws in a smoking guitar at one point Ace Frehley style, probably another dream realised!

This is a show of two halves though so after all the big production and theatrics and background films of the Ziltoid part, the second instalment is DTP stripped back to just the band and the music.

devin townsend

Dressed casually this is where they let the music do the talking, except when Devin is chatting away between songs in his charming self deprecating way. The set list is made up of songs from his career chosen by fans in an online poll which is a great idea in principle. I'm not sure it totally works in practice as it leaves a band or artist little space to try and control the pace and style of a set.

There is certainly no lack of enthusiasm evident here though, and from the opening riff of the meaty and powerful 'Namaste' Townsend and his band throw themselves full tilt into the experience. This is all lapped up as much as the Ziltoid section by an adoring crowd who bounce around as much the luxurious surroundings allow. Of course they love to participate whenever their hero invites them, even if it is to learn how to do jazz hands during 'Lucky Animals'.

This is a superbly produced show in every way and if you are a fan of Devin Townsend it is an essential purchase. If like me you enjoy some of what he does but don't 'get' it all then it is a little bit like looking in to a private party from the outside.

However even for me there is much to enjoy here, especially some great songs and an amazing band at full tilt. DTP fans would probably award five pints unquestionably, for me it’s three and a half.

Devin Townsend: Vocals, Guitar, Keys, Programming
Ryan Van Poederooyen: Drums
Dave Young: Guitar, Keys
Brian Waddell: Bass
Mike St-Jean: Keyboards, Synths, Programming
Dominique Lenore Persi: Vocals

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