By Lorraine Kay
The latest DVD release from Lana Lane, who many Europeans and Asians have come to recognize over the past 10 years as the Queen of Symphonic Rock, is a must for any prog-rock enthusiast and most assuredly every Lana Lane fan. Celebrating 10 years of recording, Lane is sharing the full concert from her final show in Tokyo, Japan from the 2005 Lana Lane 10th Anniversary Tour.
Recorded on June 30, 2005, the 2-hour dual layer “DVD-9” disc contains all 19 songs from the concert. In addition to the concert there is a video Tour Diary containing candid “behind the scenes” footage of the entire tour from Europe to the USA to Japan. Both stereo and DTS 5.1 surround audio tracks are offered. The DVD has been released worldwide in NTSC format in Region 0, to ensure maximum compatibility.
It is fitting that the DVD of the10th Year Anniversary Tour would be of part of the tour that was in Japan. According to Lane, Japan is where it all started, “The tour was really fulfilling for me because my Japanese fans were the ones that started it all for me. To be able to finish the 10th Anniversary Tour in Japan was like coming home in a way.”
The 10th Anniversary Concert package also includes a bonus 78:54 minute audio CD that contains all but the songs “Astrology Prelude” and “Secrets of Astrology” due to the space limitations of the CD medium. Producer Erik Norlander explains in the CD’s liner notes that something had to be eliminated. So because live versions of these two songs already appear on the Return to Japan CD released in 2004 he and Lane decided the “Astrology” tunes would get the cut. However, for completist collectors, arrangements will be made for these two songs to be purchased via digital downloaded.
The concert itself reflects the 10 year recording career of Lane, with selections from each of her previous albums, including two tunes from the recent “Lady Macbeth”. “We chose at least one song from every Lana Lane album, and aside from the intro and encores, we played them all in chronological order so as to tell the story of the past 10 years,” said Lane. The entire DVD has 19 tracks, including six instrumental tracks featuring Norlander.
Norlander commented in a group e-mail recently on the special effects on the video during Romeo and Juliet, “Has anybody noticed the video presentation on this one? It's a bit different than the other songs. Aside from the beautiful conceptual footage from Raj Naik, the verses are shown in black and white and the choruses in color. It's keeping with the story of the song with b/w for the past and color for the present and future. I was rather proud of that concept!”
The DVD tracks include:
Astrology Prelude – (Storybook, Return to Japan, Secrets of Astrology); Secrets of Astrology – (Storybook, Return to Japan, Secrets of Astrology); LIAA Overture – (Love Is An Illusion); Into the Ether – (Love Is An Illusion); Curious Goods Part One – (Curious Goods); Emerald City – (Curious Goods); Athena’s Shadow – (Return to Japan and Ballad Collection); Nevermore – (Ballad Collection); Garden of the Moon – (Storybook, Return to Japan CD, Garden of the Moon, and Lana Lane and Erik Norlander European Tour 2003 Souvenir CD); In the Hall of the Ocean Queen – (Storybook, Return to Japan, Lana Lane and Erik Norlander European Tour 2003 Souvenir CD, Queen of the Ocean); Souls of the Mermaids – (Queen of the Ocean); Romeo and Juliet – (Project Shangri-La, Secrets of Astrology); The Vision – (Lady Macbeth); Redemption Part One – (Project Shangri-La); Tears of Babylon – (Project Shangri-La); Someone to Believe – (Lady Macbeth); December Moon – (Winter Sessions); Destination Roswell – (Storybook, Garden of the Moon Special Edition); and Symphony of Angels – (Storybook, Return to Japan, Garden of the Moon Special Edition, Curious Goods, Queen of the Ocean). The bonus audio CD tracks follow the same order as the DVD minus the two Astrology tracks.
The DVD has been released in Japan on the Avalon label and in North America on Think Tank Media. It will be available in Europe on March 11, 2006 on Frontiers Records. All versions are identical – there are no bonus tracks on any edition and again – all editions are NTSC Region 0 for worldwide compatibility.
As always, Lane delivers a powerful punch on every track. No mushed-out frilly girly pieces, this hard-rocking concert has enough drive to hold the attention of true rock and rollers. Produced and co-written by Lane’s husband, Erik Norlander, this show and CD is one no symphonic rock fan will want to miss.
Lane’s strong feminine performance comes across as mystical as her song lyrics, but to be sure, the operative word here is “strong”. With plenty of thunder, Lane and Norlander continue to please crowds with the power in their performances.
Her voice is clear and strong as always. The lady rocks and just proves it one more time that there is no argument that she is among the best of vocalists. This is symphonic rock at its best with her amazing voice out front that can seductively soothe or shake the rafters. Powerfully belting out each hard driving rock number well above the other musicians, she can also settle into a sensitive ballad when the song calls for it – just another aspect of Lane’s vocal abilities that she excels at, without losing any of the energy or dynamics as she switches from mood to mood and register to register. Simply put, she doesn’t just hit the notes and get the words right, she evokes the emotions behind the tunes and meaning between the lines.
So, there is no question that Lane is a master at interpreting songs well vocally or that she is adept at taking the material in musically adventurous directions that surprise and delight the listener whether the songs are her own creations or covers of other great tunes. But it is her talents at writing moving, poignant lyrics that can lift the listener into what can only be described as “another dimension”. Her considerable gifts as a lyricist and storyteller, stories laced with fantasy and mystery as she explores the complexities of life and relationships with grace and subtlety, have taken her where few other female artists have dared to tread. But just as hard to ignore is her genuine passion for music, and music-making, that comes through in every line she sings.
But she could hardly miss with Norlander on top of the production. As expected, he does not disappoint one bit as a master producer or as a keyboardist. As a musician/technician, he sets the mood of each tune, painting with vibrant colors of crescendos and extended progressive chords, which masterfully support and drive Lane’s voice from song to song.
The band is an excellent group of master musicians, most of whom have supported Lane for most of the past ten years. “I could not have asked for a tighter and more passionate band than Peer, Ernst, Kris, Mark and Erik. They are truly great on all levels.” Lane has worked with some incredible artists throughout her ten-year career. Some have contributed to the writing process of her songs, some in the studio and others on tour and on stage. This time, as can be seen on the DVD and in the extra tour footage, this band is all Lane says about them. This time around joining Lane and Norlander on stage were guitarists Peer Verschuren, and Mark McCrite, who were joined by newcomer Kristoffer Gildenlow on bass, and Ernst Van Ee on drums.
Without a doubt the past ten years have been incredible right from the beginning. Lane comes across in her performance as graceful but powerful and intense and always grateful for her fans. To her fans she says, “Thank you so much for the continued support. It’s because of my fans around the world that I get to keep doing what I love to do.”
This last tour, the DVD and CD would seem to be Lane and Norlander’s way of saying thanks to their fans. Even if that was not their intention it comes across as just that. When asked what is next for Lane, she gives her fans hope for more, “I’m working on some new songs and ideas for the next 10 years!”
For more information or to purchase this DVD or any of Lane’s or Norlander’s CD or other DVDs visit the Lana Lane Website at www.lanalane.com or www.thetank.com.