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Extraordinary Craft - 95%

MaHTiel_rAGdOll, September 4th, 2007

The Gathering has been an exception in many ways. It seems that any challenge they take turns into magical experience. In 2005 the things are a bit quiet around them, but lo and behold they strike with a release they can be honestly proud of.

A SOUND RELIEF

Simple as it sounds, yet rich inside. The DVD pack itself looks very subtle, matches the music of Dutch ensemble perfectly. It is meant to concentrate mainly on the softer songs from their more than 15-year-old career. The show took place in legendary Amsterdam's hall Paradiso on 23rd March 2005. Moreover, the band provided us with some extras as their self-directed "Tour Impression 2004", 15 years anniversary TV special, an interview and six animation videoclips.

That night great hall of Paradiso turned into atmospheric, minimalistic and colourful venue in order to welcome five casually dressed persons, who enchanted the audience from the very first tones of "Big Sleep". The Gathering appear as pure professionals and the positive energy flowing from their tunes radiates as strong as ever. They continue to explore multiple musical layers of their apparently simple songs and bring each piece into a new level. The obvious classics as sonic voyage "Travel", emotional "In Motion II" or subtle "Amity" are combined with not so expected choices as remake of "Like Fountains", decent "Golden Grounds" or minimalistic "Herbal Movement". This makes this compilation quite unique and lovely quaint.
It is apparent that the band knows what they are doing ...and they are giving their best. Musical performances are also incredible. No ego, no rockstars, just a heart in every note. The sound is on the first place. Everything is tuned and mixed with the great care. To enhance this experence, there are animated videos flashing on back-up screen. It also needs to be mentioned that the show has been attended by the fans of 30 nationalities, which is another reason why the atmosphere is so relaxed and friendly.

Bonus features on the second disc must please every die-hard fan. The band themselves made a collage of their memorable travelling and backstage moments under the title "Tour Impression 2004". As you would expect, it's atmospheric, funny and nostalgic. On the contrary, "Dutch TV special" is typical television documentary with a look inside of band's tour life. Title "Italian TV Special" is a diguise for a warm and relaxed band interview. The rest of the stuff include six videos used for concert screen in Paradiso. They are not of the highest quality, but interesting enough to be viewed alone.

The Gathering learned from their unwanted Century Media DVD release "In Motion" a lot. They go rather for quality than for enormous success. Now, with their own label Psychonaut Rec. they can realize what their music requires - a sensitive touch. I believe this DVD is for everyone who's looking for something more than "expected". It's a beautiful add to any music collection.