Coheed and Cambria Neverender Retro DVD Review
By: A. Estes
Before performing an entire album in concert was the thing to do, Coheed & Cambria already had everyone beat. In October of 2008, the band took to the stage of New York’s Terminal 5 to perform not one, not two, not three, but all FOUR of their albums (at the time) back to back. Thankfully the band had the foresight to have it all filmed in high definition and the result, the appropriately titled “Neverender,” is a keepsake that no Coheed & Cambria fan — from the hardcore to the fair-weather — should be without.
There have been a number of live DVDs from the band, but none capture Coheed & Cambria as well as this set does. Frontman/guitarist/mastermind Claudio Sanchez and co-conspirator/guitarist Travis Stever — along with the recently departed Chris Pennie and Mic Todd — bring their A-game to the four concert marathon, putting in as much enthusiasm into their performances as possible while still doing the album tracks justice. As claimed by the liner notes within, there are no overdubs or studio trickery at hand; what you see is what you get. Truth be told, the band stumbles here and there (Claudio in particular lets two female back-up singers carry him a bit on the final night) but for 99% of the concert, the band are absolutely on-fire.
Naturally, the big treat of this set is that every song has its day in the sun. From the well-played radio-hits to the more obscure stuff from the band’s first two criminally overlooked efforts, the band spares no expense, even going so far as to indulge the audience in an encore. Little treats such as covers of Iron Maiden and Bob Dylan find the band giving their all and then some. Visually, the stage set-up is pretty simple, with three monitors positioned behind the band which display appropriate imagery for each corresponding song (the final night is accompanied by a screening of George A. Romero’s zombie classic “Night of the Living Dead”) with the focus being on the four band members and the various musicians they employ to help them flesh out the larger than life sound of the albums. This is all captured, of course, by the best quality picture DVD has to offer (a Blu-Ray would be mind-blowing). It’s truly amazing they were able to cram this much onto two discs without sacrificing quality; there are, afterall, over five hours of material on hand here.
While the set lacks any special features (there’s a more expansive set to found out there) it doesn’t need any. The performance speaks for itself and speaks volumes of the band’s raw talent and diversity. As one of the few rock bands of their generation to fuse arena rock grandiose with a dense conceptual narrative and somehow make it easy to swallow, Coheed & Cambria are truly in a league of their own. If you are already aware of this fact, then your collection simply is not complete without “Neverender.”