Marc Almond - Sin Songs, Torch And Romance (DVD)

Only a few short months ago Marc Almond was fighting for his life after a horrific motorbike accident. Thankfully he's now on the road to recovery and has already started writing again with a planned concert date pencilled in for May. The last great musical endeavour Marc undertook was a 6 night residency at London's Almeida Theatre. Comprising of two acts, the first featuring songs from his Russian romance songs album, concluding with French Chansons, blues and cabaret for act 2. This DVD was recorded on July 22nd of last year.

Dressed casually, alone on stage, Marc sings along to a backing tape (the only sensible option, so many musicians contributed to his Russian album that it would have been nigh on impossible to replicate it live). His performance of the song "Storks" is magnificent. No other singer can match his range and emotional resonance. He uses his body language to naturally compress the sense of sorrow, so pivotal in the lyrics. To compliment the music, images of Soviet era Russia are displayed behind

"Lonely Go Go Dancer" has Marc in the company of some classical musicians with members of his own band as well. His vocals dominate and the camera catches his movements very cinematically. In fact the whole concert is filmed with care and precision, thankfully free of flashy editing and unnecessary experimental preferences.

"Catch A Fallen Star" illustrates the lavish, old fashioned styling of the show very succinctly. It's refreshing to experience a touch of class and sophistication to a musical setting without pretension or pomposity. With such a vast, diverse set of songs it's comforting to know that Marc Almond still hasn't forgotten his roots when the gorgeous "Say Hello Wave Goodbye" receives a rapturous applause. The beaming audience don't need to be asked twice to join in when asked by Almond on the chorus. This is a stripped down reading of the 80s hit with just the faintest cry of electric guitar. Marc looks elated as he devilishly relishes his playfulness and natural rapport with his beloved fans.

As well as the full concert which lasts two hours there are extras on this DVD to savour and view at your leisure. An interview, backstage with Marc Almond makes interesting viewing and is an insight into the mind of a musical pioneer. Marc's initial idea was to mix Russian romance songs, covers, old standards and a few surprises in an intimate theatre setting, the kind you'd gladly go to in the West End. As you'd imagine from such a perfectionist he's turned that dream into a reality. Also included in this generous package is a glimpse of Marc's first rehearsal at the venue and footage of the soundcheck. All features that make "Sin Songs, Torch And Romance" an excellent value for money DVD

Nicholas Paul Godkin

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