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Before I start this review I want to point out that I am not a fan of Kool and the Gang, and before watching the DVD I couldn’t tell you what songs they sang. My overall knowledge of Kool and the Gang before the review was that they were a mature band, which played Jazz music. I really enjoy music/concert DVDs so I thought I would review this DVD and broaden my music knowledge in the same breath!

Kool And The Gang: Live From The House Of Blues
The Concert
Well I have done my research for this review and found out the following information about Kool and the Gang. When I said above that I thought they were an old band I didn’t realise exactly how old. The band’s career stretches over 30 years and their first record was released in 1969. What surprised me whilst watching the concert is that the band still looks reasonably young. It just goes to show how early they must have started out as they can still move around the stage with a spring in their step! Probably their greatest success was Jungle Boogie, which was a worldwide smash hit single. Partygoer’s will also recognised the song Celebrations as well. Their songs have featured in many movies including Rocky and Saturday Night Fever.

Onto the concert, which was filmed at the House of Blues in Chicago. What amazed me from the very first minute of this concert was the enthusiasm of the crowd and more importantly the band. From the moment the band appeared on stage, right through to the end, the crowd did not stop boogying! The House of Blues is not a very big venue and that is not such a bad thing as it created a party-like atmosphere. After watching the DVD I was surprised to find that I knew quite a lot of their songs. Remember such classics as Celebration, Jungle Boogie, Let The Music Take Your Mind and Get Down on it? Well yes they are songs by the band. The thing that strikes me about the band’s music is that it is so lively. I cannot remember a single slow song in the whole concert and the pauses between the songs are short so the crowd never get a chance to sit down and pause for breath.

At just over 122 minutes long the concert is excellent value for money. I have been to many concerts before and there is nothing more annoying than having a band appear on stage that don't seem bothered about entertaining their fans. Well, with Kool and the Gang you get a band who appreciate their fans and realise that they wouldn’t be where they are now if it wasn’t for them. 30 years on and the band still seem to enjoy playing live and certainly know how to entertain their devoted fans. I am sure fans of the band will love this DVD.

Kool And The Gang: Live From The House Of Blues
The DVD is presented in a 1.77:1 aspect ratio. Considering that the House Of Blues is a very smoky/dark venue the picture quality deals with the dark colours very well. Some DVD transfers cannot cope with high levels of black but I am pleased to inform you that this DVD copes with everything that is thrown at it. Colours are vibrant and this can be seen best during the Jungle Boogie song. The lead singer is wearing a bright yellow jacket and believe me it is blinding! Considering that most people would buy this DVD release for the audio, I am pleased to report that the picture is impressive as well.

Down to the main part of the DVD… The sound. Fans are treated to three versions on this disc. Dolby Digital 2.0, Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1. Here in the UK we are badly let down by the lack of DTS soundtracks so it was a nice change to see one included with this disc. Saying that, I noticed very little difference between the Dolby Digital track and the DTS version. There was maybe a little more noise from the rear speakers and there seemed to be more impact from some songs. Apart from that both tracks were very impressive. All instruments come over well and the singers voice is well balanced between the various instruments that are on show. Its sad to say (well not really!) but I could not really find a fault with the sound on show.  

Extras are a strange topic to review with this disc, as there are not really any! The only addition to the actual concert is an 11-minute documentary. The documentary is called ‘Keeping the Funk Alive’ and is basically an interview with all 5 members of the band. The five members are introduced and then the interview commences. The band talk about various topics but start off with an insight into how they met. This includes their memories of the early days. The first thing I noticed with this documentary is that the band actually looks older when they are being interviewed. During the concert, they were jumping around all over the they looked much younger! The interview also contains various clips from the concert as well. This is actually a very good documentary for fans of the band. As I mentioned before, I am not really a fan but found some of the topics like recording the first album (done in one week!) and making songs commercial sounding, very interesting. One of the highlights of the documentary is when the band talks about how they didn’t think the song ‘Celebrations’ would actually be a success. It was only after they heard it for a few times that they actually grew to like it.  Thirty years on, and the band still seem close. At the end of the documentary they mentioned that they play music because they love it and never really expected to become successful. This point certainly shows in the concert, as they really seemed to be grateful for their fans and success.

Kool And The Gang: Live From The House Of Blues
For fans of Kool and the Gang you won’t be disappointed with this release. Imagine one and a half hours of your favourite band displayed and played in the best quality possible. As mentioned the picture quality is better than expected and the audio side is impressive. The DVD may contain only a documentary but that shouldn’t put you off as it is line with any other music DVD that has been released so far. Music DVDs are renowned for featuring only the main attraction on the disc. If you are not a fan of the band then you could do a lot worse then watching this DVD.