Gamma Ray - Hell Yeah!!! The Awesome Foursome DVD (SPV/Riot)

This dual DVD set not only gives you a full live show (Live in Montreal is Disc 1), running to 120 minutes, but it also gives you a bit of an insight into the band on Disc 2 - which runs even longer: 156 minutes. It's a great set, highly recommended viewing - despite its length.


The live Montreal show on disc 1 of this release is a great recording of Gamma Ray live. It features, as perhaps one would expect of a band of this calibre, beautiful photography and excellent editing. There are basic effects between shots, split screens, the occasional colour effects of sepia and black and white for variation, and excellent sound. In many ways, watching this DVD is like looking through a gallery of high quality photographs of a live show, because the colour values in this recording are exceptional. There is also no bullshit on this disc: it is quite literally Gamma Ray on stage, and without any extraneous effects: resulting in a focus more on the music than on the performance itself.


Not that there is anything wrong with the performance either. One thing about Gamma Ray is that they live for their live shows, and if nothing else than this disc proves that these guys are perhaps better live than they are recorded. For one thing, the sound of the live experience is heavier than one might expect. The performance is very tight, very polished, and unlike some live shows it doesn't get old quickly despite its lengthy running time.


There were some amusing moments here though: the slow-mo rockstar shots that pop up now and then are worth a giggle, as is one of the signs in the crowd, which is not only completely crappily produced but held upside down!


But it is disc 2 of this set that is of more value than the live show, at least in my opinion. It features a road movie, of Gamma Ray in the US; it features a snippet from a Melbourne show; it features interesting bits and pieces from their history, dating way back in time to 1994, a lot of which is rare footage; and so on.


It is also on disc two - in the road movie, from the band's 2006 'Majestic' North American tour - that explains the in-joke from which derives 'hell yeah' and 'awesome'. I won't explain it here, because you need to watch it to discover what it's about, but suffice it to say that by the end of the film you feel like you've been in on the joke the entire time.


The rare footage from the band's history is occasionally excellent too. There is studio footage here, material from a Gamma Ray Karaoke in Japan of all things, and an amazing 'stage' dive by vocalist Kai (from way up above the crowd to the side of the stage and not from the stage itself) in Athens - which I watched and watched and watched, and played in slow motion over and over, to see exactly the effect it had on some of the poor bastards who copped his feet and knees.


It's not often you find a DVD set that gives you a real insight into a band and a band's peculiar humour, as well as highlights and video clips, and rare material, and a live show to boot. This one does - and even though I'm not a mega Gamma Ray fan (and I know many Gamma Ray fans are rabid fans), I enjoyed every minute of this well-produced package, and would happily sit through the majority of it a few times more. I dare say that if you are even a bit of a fan, that you would get a lot out of this release, and I highly recommend that you go and procure yourself a copy. It's well worth it.


Gamma Ray's 2-DVD set, Hell Yeah!! The Awesome Foursome is out now on SPV/Riot.