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DVD/Video/Film Reviews

Pat Metheny Group: Imaginary Day Live

By Published: April 15, 2008

To conclude in such an emphatic means provides an ideal motivator to the owner of the DVD to access the sole bonus feature of Imaginary Day Live: an interview with Metheny himself. The attention to detail and nuance inserted so carefully into every level of the concert production, not to mention the execution of the DVD, begs for some exploration, and "Reflections on Imaginary Day" serves that purpose. But rather than an interview proper, this segment is composed of an audio track of Metheny tracing the project from composition to recording to touring and playing it live. Moreover, in keeping with the vivid nature of the music itself, as a series of illuminating explanations of each part of the process unfold, footage of venues and concert shots are interspersed with urban street scenes.

Pat Metheny comes off as no less articulate in his speech than his music. He maintains a healthy detachment from his work as he explains the process of inspiration and execution behind the specific piece itself as well as the live presentation and, to some degree, the DVD. As this video was previously released on VHS and DVD in 2001, Metheny's "Reflections" are presented with some hindsight on the project at large (though no credits or potentially useful dates are included about this section of the package).

It's fascinating to hear such a sophisticated artist describe with such boyish enthusiasm the relish he and his band take in using the technology at their disposal and, even more, the pleasure they all take in collaboratively writing a work they will be playing together live. Metheny references the work more in terms of "we" and "us" rather than "I" and "me": it's clearly not all about him (from his point of view anyway), but the genuine enjoyment he experiences is palpable when, at more than one point, he describes the whole venture as "a blast." No doubt that work-is-play attitude is what keeps efforts such as Imaginary Day Live fresh and vigorous.

Tracks: Into The Dream; Follow Me; A Story Within a Story; Imaginary Day; Heat of the Day; Across the Sky; The Roots of Coincidence; Message to a Friend; September Fifteenth; Minuano (Six Eight).

Personnel: Pat Metheny: acoustic, electric and synth guitars; Lyle Mys: acoustic piano, keyboards, guitar; Steve Rodby; acoustic and electric bass; Paul Wertico; Mark Ledford: vocals, trumpet, percussion, guitar; Philip Hamilton: vocals, percussion, guitar; Jeff Haynes: percussion.

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Production notes: Ted Kurland and David Sholemson: executive producers; Recorded by David Oakes; Mixed by Rob Eaton; On-location video recordings on a single-disc DVD, color, NTSC, All Regions. Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1. Time of main program (approximate): 93 minutes. Bonus Extras: Reflections on Imaginary Day (An Interview with Pat Metheny). Date of release: April 1, 2008.

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