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Honeymoon Suite - HMS Live (DVD)

Honeymoon Suite
HMS Live - DVD
by Eleni Mouratoglou at 04 February 2005, 8:44 AM

Honeymoon Suite are the most well-known AOR band of Canada and among the genre's giants with almost a quarter of a century of history behind them. They were formed in 1982 and recorded their ultra-hit New Girl Now in 1983. That impulse permitted them release 5 studio albums until today and built a many-sided career including touring with bands such as Bryan Adams, Jethro Tull,, Journey, Heart, ZZ Top and Status Quo and recording Lethal Weapon for Mel Gibson's Lethal Weapon II in 1987. Not even the serious injury of Johnnie Dee in a car accident back in 1988 intercepted their route.
In 2002, after a few years of less intense activity they signed with Frontiers Records and this contract led to their last studio album, Dreamland the same year and their first live DVD, HMS Live DVD which is going to be released in February of 2005.
This DVD contains Honeymoon Suite's live performance at Live At The Gods Festival, in Bradford, on June 2nd, 2002.   
The tracklist mainly concentrates on their 1984 debut, Honeymoon Suite (New Girl Now, Burning In Love, Wave Babies and Stay In The Light) and their second album, The Big Prize which offered them international recognition in 1985 (Bad Attitude, All Along You Knew, What Does It Take and Feel It Again). There are also Looking Out For No.1 and Other Side Of Midnight from Racing After Midnight (1988) and Touch The Sun and What I Know from the Canadian release Lemon Tongue (2002).
The fact that 8 of the 12 songs were written until 1985 preoccupied me at first, having also in mind that that a whole album, Monsters Under The Bed (1991) is here totally ignored and that many of these songs were also included in 1995s HMS live album.
After having watched the DVD I can assure you that there was no choice for the band other than playing the particular songs. The audience is really apathetic at least during the first half of the show. Johnnie Dee practically begs them to warm up a little and this only happens when more lively songs are performed on stage. I don't want to imagine how people would react if they were not listening to the classic hits. Or maybe I should say I don't want to imagine how they would not react at all.
From a point of view this phenomenon can be explained; HMS play extremely soft, pop-ish AOR that remains mid-tempo even when it comes heavier. In the mid-80s they made great impression with these compositions and even today many claim that they are better than Bon Jovi of that period. This kind of music is very nice when you listen to it comfortably lying on your couch but can be kind of boring if you have to stand up to listen to it, especially when you are at a fest featuring many bands.
Dee's voice is not in great shape, too, and the musicians seem awkward on scene for quite a long time.
The highlight of the show is Peter Nunn's inventiveness with the keys. The songs' intros are interesting and his piano solo launches the best, second part of the show.
I think there was no reason for the release of this DVD in reality. It seems much like part of a negotiation between the band and their record company that made it compulsory. For me, this typicality makes all its appeal vanish. Therefore, I can only recommend it to HMS fans and hardcore Melodic Rock collectors. The rest can lie on the studio albums. After all, it's the only way you can listen to Ian Anderson playing his flute in All Along You Knew.
- DVD Highlights: Feel It Again, All Along You Knew & Bad Attitude.

2 Star Rating

Other Side Of Midnight
What I Know
Stay In The Light
Burning In Love
Wave Babies
Touch The Sun
Piano Solo
What Does It Take
Feel It Again
All Along You Knew
Looking Out For No.1
Guitar Solo
Bad Attitude
New Girl Now
Johnnie Dee - Lead Vocals & Guitar
Derry Grehan - Lead Guitar & Vocals
Peter Nunn - Keyboards & Vocals
Rob Laidlaw - Bass & Vocals
Brett Carrigan - Drums
Record Label: Frontiers Records


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