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Category:    Home > Reviews > Concert > Pop > Rock > Hip Hop > James Last - Live At The Royal Albert Hall (DVD-Video)

James Last - Live At The Royal Albert Hall (DVD-Video)


Picture: B     Sound: B     Extras: D     Concert: B+



I’m not sure what to make of James Last’s release, Live At The Royal Albert Hall.  It reminds me of if I had a German grandfather that conducts a big band and enjoys contemporary pop music.  The whole concert seems a bit ridiculous to me, but at the same time, the recirculation of songs that we’ve all come to love in our culture, mixed with some of his “hit” arrangements from the past makes an enjoyable concert – not one I’d pay to see live, mind you, but fun enough to watch once.


Going into this, I’d never heard of James Last.  I don’t suppose that the American marketplace has a large spot reserved for German big band leaders mixed into the sea of crappy pop music.  Some of the songs last covers are well known, while others seem to fall into obscurity.


Song list:


1)     Pulstar

2)     The Way We Were

3)     Medley: Love is in the Air/ Perhaps/ Ave Maria No Morro

4)     Tequila

5)     Vertigo

6)     Greensleeves

7)     Aber Dich Gibt’s Nur Einmal Fur Mich

8)     Hero

9)     Wake Me Up When September Ends

10)  Prolog

11)  Over The Rainbow

12)  Orange Blossom Special

13)  Hip Hop Polka Medley: Fett Polka/ Herz Schmerz Polka/

Sportpalast Polka

     14) Games That Lovers Play



Most of the song titles you recognize are exactly what you’d think they are, and some turn out great, such as “Vertigo,” while others like “Wake Me Up When September Ends” lack the energy of their original studio release. (Who knew that Green Day isn’t mean to be interpreted by an 80 year old German big band leader?)  The songs I didn’t recognize, I didn’t really care for because they either didn’t draw me in, or left me pondering their placement in the set.  However, The Hip Hop Polka Medley, while sounding ridiculous, is actually kind of fun. During some songs, his band looks as though they’re mocking the experience, swinging around their violin bows in the air, making stupid faces that scream “Why the hell am I here?”


Last himself, who as I said is pushing 80, stands around and bobs his hand for the entire show, looking like falling over doesn’t really seem like such a bad idea.  He’s not doing the job of leading his band, but rather is there oversees that nobody screws up too badly.  (Also, keep look out for the singer that looks like a cross of Rob Halford of Judas Priest and Walt Disney; that gave me a good laugh)  The audience, made up mostly of middle-aged folks to early seniors, is incredibly packed, something that surprised me considering that I’d never heard of this guy before.


The disc offers three audio options – Dolby Digital Stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1, and DTS 5.1 Surround Sound mixes, but lacks subtitles.  It also features a 17-minute interview with Last, which merely serves the purpose of saying “I’m an old, German man.”  I suppose there’s not much in the way of special features for an act like this, though.


Ultimately, I have no idea whether or not to recommend this disc.  If you’re a fan of old German men looking really out of place on stage, this is a disc definitely worth picking up.  Take from that what you will.



-   Jordan Paley


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