Music DVD Reviews: Review of Tommy Emmanuel: Live at Her Majesty's Theatre

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Buy your copy from Tommy Emmanuel: Live at Her Majesty's TheatrestarstarstarstarstarLabel: Favored Nations Acoustic
Released: 2006

To most people, the prospect of spending an hour and twenty minutes watching a middle-aged Australian play an acoustic guitar – with a few breaks for duets with his uncomfortably young fiancée – might not seem terribly appealing. This is an understandable position, and one not entirely disproved by “Live at Her Majesty’s Theatre”; that being said, if you’ve got any kind of weakness for six-stringed virtuosity, you owe it to yourself to sit down and watch this DVD.

Emmanuel is one of those musicians who’s well-known seemingly everywhere outside the United States but a nonentity on American soil. Given his unquestionable talent, this is a shame; on the other hand, there’s no shortage of acoustic strummers clogging up our soft-jazz airwaves with their quiet storms, so the loss isn’t quite as painfully felt.

Still, watching Emmanuel do what he does in a live setting is – at least intermittently – perilously close to spellbinding. The set starts off brilliantly, moving from the jaw-dropping “Tall Fiddler” to the hauntingly melodic “Antonella’s Birthday”; if the rest of the show doesn’t quite live up to the standard set by those two performances, it certainly isn’t an unforgivable sin. (And as far as his fiancée’s prolonged appearance, well, that’s the benefit of being able to skip tracks on a DVD.)

The whole thing is beautifully shot, and the sound is just as crisp and clear as one could hope. The extras, such as they are, consist of additional backstage interview segments with Emmanuel, in which he weighs forth on matters likely of no consequence to any but the most passionate of fans, but it’s most likely those fans who’ll be purchasing the disc anyway, and he comes across as likeably down-to-earth throughout.

The bottom line: “Live at Her Majesty’s Theatre” is a must-own for Tommy Emmanuel fans, and will likely offer more than a few pleasant revelations for the unconverted.

~Jeff Giles