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I've watched this DVD a few times and I have to say I'm very pleased with it. The case alone is exquisite, with beautiful, dark artwork on both sides. That doesn't compare to the quality of the concert itself, however.
You can tell a lot of money and effort went into this DVD. It isn't your typical filming of a band's performance - there are beautiful lighting effects and special techniques the cameras use to create a sophisticated listening experience that goes along perfectly with the epic sound of Kamelot.
The setlist is amazing, and they probably couldn't have picked a better choice of songs for this time period, having released this after what is considered to be their best album to date, The Black Halo. All the well-known songs are here: Center of the Universe, Karma, The Black Halo, Nights of Arabia, Soul Society, etc. They all sound great and with as much energy as the band puts into them, it's hard to not get into the song as you watch the fans headbang and Khan sing his emotional heart out.
Not only that, but the performance of the band is impeccable. For all female vocals, they have not only backup singers for songs such as Nights of Arabia, but also guest vocalists who appear on stage (Center of the Universe, for example). Even though their appearance is short, they are fully outfitted and sound incredible. One of the guests dances and acts out the intro of the concert, which seques into the first song of the performance, The Black Halo. There's also the appearance of Shagrath in March of Mephisto, near the end of the concert. Great stuff to watch, especially for such a thunderous romp of a song.
As for the band members, almost all of them are at the top of their game. Thomas Youngblood and Roy Khan drive the concert with soaring leads and heartfelt, emotional singing. Oliver Palotai pounds away at the keys while maintaining a perfect balance between synth and the rest of the band, which has been one of the unique characteristics of Kamelot. Glenn Barry thumps away at the bass, though he doesn't get as much time on-screen as the rest of the band. Casey Grillo's performance on drums is amazing, to keep it short. He has a certain versatility about his style that is respectable, and his skill is just awe-inspiring.
I say almost all of them are at the top of their game because Khan is the only one I'm disappointed in. My main gripes with the performance lie with him, unfortunately. One big problem is that he comes in a couple beats too early at the start of Nights of Arabia, which is annoying to listen to (you can even see the audience look a little confused until he gets back into it). The bigger problem, though, is that he can't hit the notes he used to. I don't know if it was just an off night for him or whether or not he was sick or something, but he just couldn't hit the notes. This is really evident in older songs like Nights of Arabia, in which he has to severely tone down the chorus. While he's an incredible vocalist (he's one of my all-time favorite singers, and his switch from operatic and falsetto singing to a powerful howl is chilling), it's no wonder he opted for a more mid-range singing style on the next album, Ghost Opera.
That said, One Cold Winter's Night is still an amazing effort from the band as a whole, and aside from Khan's inability to hit the high notes, I can't ask for any more. The second DVD is crammed with a LOT of interesting stuff to watch, ranging from photo galleries to interviews with the band members. This really marks one of the highest points of Kamelot's career to date. If they had released this after Ghost Opera, some great songs probably would have to have been cut from the concert, so I'm very happy they decided to release this when they did. Kamelot's brilliance and sophistication shine throughout One Cold Winter's Night, and to sum it all up, you simply have to watch this. You'd be missing out on some amazing music otherwise.
On A Cold Winter's Night is Kamelot's second live album, but their first as a live CD/DVD pair; it shows how much they've evolved as a unit in this time, however. The CD version of the night is split into two disks: one thing that can be noticed right away is that the setlist is very heavily slanted towards the Karma era and onward, which is generally regarded as the band's best years. And for Kamelot, there couldn't have been a better time to release a live album - after what has been perhaps their most popular and successful album yet.
The songs are played incredibly well, which is helped out immensely by the clean but balanced production job. Khan and Youngblood stand at the front of the performance with energetic singing and soaring leads, but the other band members hold their own as well. There are quirks about some songs (The slowed-down melody at the start of Forever, for example) that not only are fun to listen to, but also show the band's live versatility. Some of the songs, due to their energy and passion, are even played above and beyond the studio versions (Center Of The Universe, for example).
The centerpiece of the second disk is the Elizabeth trilogy played in full, clocking in at thirteen minutes - a very nice treat for fans. As the first part in a CD/DVD combination, this live 2-CD package is essential for fans of Kamelot, or live power metal in general.