This weekend, the Northwest Film Forum is previewing Bjork‘s Voltaic: The Volta Tour Live in Paris as it circulates through theaters around the country before the CD/DVD combo is released for purchase next week. On either Friday or Saturday night at 11PM, you can watch the concert footage from her performance at l’Olympia, Paris, during her Volta tour nearly a year ago to the day (6/25/08).
The first question that probably comes to mind is why would you want to sit in a movie theater and watch what you could possibly see for yourself in concert? Why not go out to an actual show, or wait for Bjork to come back to Seattle? Simply put: you’ll never get this close to Bjork in your life! Anyone familiar with the Icelandic superstar knows that her live shows are a visual feast unlike any other performer out there, and the costumes, dancing, stage arrangements and orchestration of the two-year Volta tour far surpassed any of the highest production concerts short of Cirque de Soleil. Yet, her performances in any given town are already rare enough, and when she does make it through and you manage to buy a ticket, you’re amid tens of thousands of people, and all you can make out from your seat is a flittering colorful speck. For as flashy a spectacle as a Bjork show might be, there’s plenty of nuance you’re missing from the crowd, no matter where you sit.
But that begs the next question: just how good is Voltaic? Plenty of other concert videos abound, and the best of them — The Last Waltz, We Jam Econo, The Road to God Knows Where — combine live footage with on-the-road excerpts to build a story. Voltaic is one long concert — no b-roll, no tour documentary, just director Russell Thomas’ dazzling editing and videography. Throughout the film, every colorful detail and visual idiosyncrasy is brought to you by bird’s eye view, stage hand’s view, front row view, side stage view, and, well, you get the point. If there’s a possible angle to be had, it’s covered. In contrast, at a live show, no matter where you sat, you’d never get a chance to see Damian Taylor working the ReacTable or drummer Chris Corsano tapping shells spread out across a drumhead. You’d lose sight of the kabuki-meets-anime-meets Native American warpaint makeup and the rainbow lionfish costumes. You’d miss the tribal dancing of Wonder Brass, the all-female 10-piece brass ensemble, and the nimble fingers of keyboardist Jonas Sen would be completely lost to you. But even were you blind, you’d still thrill at Voltaic‘s lushly mixed sound, far better than than it must have sounded to even the attending crowd. All this presented on a full movie theater screen? It’s hard to image ever wanting to go to a live show again!
The last question to ask yourself is this: when the confetti fireworks explode on “Army of Me,” will you be able to sit down again for the rest of the film? If the rest of the audience has any sense at all — and you’ll be lucky if yours don’t get completely overloaded — it will be a dance party in the auditorium!
If you’d like to see either the Friday, June 26, or Saturday, June 27, show (both at 11:00PM), email now for a chance to win free tickets! Two lucky winners, chosen at random from all emails sent before 5PM (PST) today, will get a pair of tickets for the show of their choice.