“One With Everything” [Blu-ray] by Styx

Artist: Styx
Title: “One With Everything” [Blu-ray]
Label: Eagle Vision
Release Date: 4/21/2009
Genre: Progressive Hard Rock
Rating: 4/5

Originally released as a standard DVD in 2006, the advances in media technology finds this great video from Styx being released in Blu-ray format. There are no differences between this version and its predecessor in terms of overall content but the picture is clearer and brighter while the sound all the more intense. As I’ve the same opinion of the release as I did when it was first discussed I am re-presenting it to you now and then a few more words about the Blu-ray will be entertained.

The band Styx has come a long way since their debut in 1972 and since that time they have delivered some of the best Arena Rock in music history. In 2006, we find a Styx that is composed of almost entirely different members from their not so humble beginnings but at the same time they not too far from their original musical premise. The release of “One With Everything” is a great concert DVD for it is here that we find the band in rock solid form and joined by the Contemporary Youth Orchestra. Based out of Cleveland, OH, the CYO is a 115-piece Orchestra plus a 60 voice chorus and what makes them most impressive is the fact that they range in ages from 13-19. The Orchestra is conducted by Liza Grossman, who was the key factor in building this unique performance and actually is the one who contacted band Management about doing this adventure with the Styx guys. If you ask me, I felt that this idea would offer a refreshing change from the all too common “Rock Band meets Symphony Orchestra” videos as by this time almost everyone has done one. It was high time this blending of Rock and Symphony got a much needed kick in the tail to make it interesting once again. Together, Styx and the Orchestra deliver many of the bands most staple numbers as well as some new music that was written for this special sold-out concert. Lead singer, keyboardist Lawrence Gowan does an amazing job of filling the shoes once worn by Dennis DeYoung in the group while guitarist Tommy Shaw’s voice is exceptional on every track he does. I never heard JY sing, and yet on this piece he did one of my very favorite Styx numbers, “Lorelei”. Shaw, JY Young and Chuck Panozzo form the remaining three longest members though Chuck does not always tour with the band anymore. Ricky Phillips handles the bass for the most part and Todd Sucherman the drums. Sucherman is an incredible player who does justice to the drumming introduced by John Panozzo, the bands original drummer who passed away in 1996. He is both technical and powerful and shows the level of technique he brings to the table for the band best in the medley number. This is an epic piece on the DVD and it features pieces of some 16 Styx classics from across their catalog. Despite this DVD being very fun to watch I did have some other favorites and those were “I Am The Walrus” and “Fooling Yourself” along with “Renegade”.

I have to say a part that stands out the most for me as most memorable would be the expressions seen and intent felt from the orchestra players. This is music that is clearly before many of them were born and yet they love this concert. That can be nothing but good for the band as it continues their music into the coming years as they continue to compose new music and perform classics. The bonus features are two new Christmas songs that they wrote along with an interview with the key players and the orchestra conductor. It was very interesting to find their thoughts on this whole undertaking and since it was done pre show, there was no way to know if it would come off without a hitch. You get photos and another cool thing in Todd’s “quake cam”. This is a close up view of the drummer as he performs so if you play; make note to watch this section a couple of times for some pointers. If there is any downside to this it is perhaps in the discovery that some classics are left out but then again there is more than enough music that is good which should allow you to look past that. The CYO is one group of band kids that will never need to worry about not being among the “cool kids”, for how many of us can tell people that we played with Styx and can be seen on a mass released DVD. Now, that is cool for anyone and I hope we have not heard the last of these kids and their ability to fit in with legendary Rockers. The concert runs some 140 minutes and has been done in 5.1 Dolby Stereo. A full color booklet with photos and band commentary is provided as well. This DVD had a companion audio CD delivered at the same time of its release.

It’s clear that the format is much better for those videophiles out there based on the Blu-ray technology and the “bigness” of Styx just comes out a whole lot more when using it for their concert. My issue is becoming the overall price of these releases against that of their standard versions especially when there is no additional content to enjoy. They’ve seemed to keep the price of this particular one on the reasonable side but with the Blu-ray technology I am thinking that when one views it in a system that accesses the Internet that a menu option be available to download the concert tracks onto ones music player. I’m still old school in terms of my enjoying the physical CD releases still, but our days are numbered it would seem. Either way, this is a powerful way to enjoy what Styx is all about in concert.

Track Listing:
1. Blue Collar Man (Long Nights)
2. Lorelei
3. One With Everything
4. It Don’t Make Sense (You Cant Make Peace)
5. I Am The Walrus
6. Just Be
7. Everything All In Time
8. Crystal Ball
9. Miss America
10. A Criminal Mind
11. Too Much Time On My Hands
12. Boat On The River
13. I Don’t Need No Doctor
14. The Styx – CYO Medley
15. Fooling Yourself (Angry Young Man)
16. Renegade

Official Website: www.styxworld.com

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