Coheed and Cambria - Neverender: Children of the Fence Edition [CD/DVD]
Record Label: Columbia Records
Release Date: March 24, 2009
There are very few bands on the music scene that can be described as epic, but one that comes to mind for a lot of people is Coheed and Cambria. With four studio albums, two live DVDs, and a plethora of graphic novels and comic books under their belt, the band has reinvented the musical wheel once again. Coheed and Cambria have now released a box set consisting of four CDs and five DVDs spanning their whole New York Neverender experience titled Neverender: Children of the Fence Edition.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the band, their music is centered around the story of Coheed and Cambria; it's a twisted tale of two lovers and how their galaxy's future depends on the fate of the two. While I would love to catch the uninformed up, it would just take too long. All you need to know is that the storyline is spread throughout the four albums, though this time the band decided to take it one step further. Some bands have played a single album straight through live, which for some people can be a once in a lifetime experience, but Coheed and Cambria played four shows in four nights, dedicating each night to one album, which is something that has never been done before to my knowledge.
The Neverender tour was shot in four different locations: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and London. The Neverender box set happens to be from the New York shows that took place at the Terminal 5 from October 22 to October 25, 2008.
The first show starts with the album that started it all, The Second Stage Turbine Blade. Say what you will about the band, but this album was huge to the genre. It was one of the first albums to feature a singer with a falsetto that was abnormally higher than his peers. Whether you care for the album or not, it opened up so many doors for other bands that have falsetto singers (like label mates Chiodos and ex-label mates Circa Survive). Thanks to the complete awesomeness of this idea, singer/guitarist Claudio Sanchez decided to bring along Wes Styles to play the keys in some of the songs and incorporate interludes, which adds so much to the atmosphere of the album. As for anyone that hasnít seen or heard Coheed and Cambria live, you are in for a treat as they completely kill their studio recordings. Itís all the small things (oh yeah) that make the live show so great, from the altered guitar licks to signature moves like Sanchezís ďEverything EvilĒ gun salute. What also adds to a Coheed and Cambria show is the crowd. Sure all bands have fans, some of them even choosing to label themselves or degrade themselves (*cough* maggots and juggalos *cough*), but Coheed and Cambria fans are so different than others, and you can tell watching these DVDs. They live for this band and love the storyline so much that itís become a huge part of their life. Itís obvious throughout all four of the shows that the crowd is filled with Coheed and Cambria faithful.
Nights two and three will always be special to me for personal reasons. No matter who you are there is always an album that hits you and just clicks. Personally, two of those albums are In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3 and Good Apollo Iím Burning Star IV Volume One: From Fear Through the Eyes Of Madness. In Keeping Secrets was my introduction into the music scene that I live for and I couldnít have asked for a better album to pull me in. From front to back this album is a classic; this is Coheed and Cambria at their prime. Every song on the album is packed with emotion and intensity that makes you want to dive head first into the story. There isnít one track off this album that I would throw away, itís just that good to me and opened my eyes to a whole new world of music. The band once again is flawless in their presentation of the album. The feeling that comes over me watching this brings back so many memories dating back to the very first time I discovered the record. The best part is that after however many years its been the music can still give me goosebumps and send chills down my spine. To me thatís how you know when a band has perfected their art. But probably what is the best part about the audio of the shows is that it isnít overdubbed at all. There arenít touch ups or anything, itís complete and raw music coming from some of the best. Maybe itís just me, and overdubs are essential to a good DVD, but I would rather get the live experience from watching a concert then get a rehashed studio album. Make sure to stick around after the credits roll for a nice treat, because the video gets good when it transitions back to color.
As for night three, there is another addition to the live set. Two female backup singers are added into the set to sing on some of Sanchezís backing tracks. While I understand the move to add them to the show, it just seems like a little much at times and they sometimes clash with Sanchez. But overall itís not a negative to the show at all, so itís not that bad. Again night three remains a personal favorite as Good Apollo Volume One helped me through a rough time in my life and gave me something to get lost in. Itís just an indescribable feeling to be able to watch this show and have those feelings brought back but with positive vibes instead of negative. I hope that others feel the same way because this is a fantastic album; it's not as good as In Keeping Secrets but awesome in its own way. When it comes to night four, I donít really know how to explain everything that is going on. I would say that if you didnít dig Good Apollo, I'm Burning Star IV, Volume Two: No World For Tomorrow, definitely give the last night a shot. At first I really liked Good Apollo Volume Two because of the classical rock elements it has, but as I listened to it more and more I realized it lacked what all the other Coheed and Cambria albums have: emotion. It just seemed like one overproduced record that had the capabilities to be monstrous, but because of those expectations it fell flat on itís face. But live it's a whole different story as the boys deliver the songs with heart and it's totally noticeable. Thanks to Neverender I have found a new appreciation for the final chapter of the story which left a nasty taste in my mouth a few years back. Really there is nothing I can complain about with the four CDs and DVDs. The audio is great and the video is phenomenal. Anyone that has witnessed a Coheed and Cambria show knows what they are all about when it comes to a live show. Tons of multicolored lights, strobe, smoke machines, video screens, and more. Itís even better on DVD with the multiple camera angles shot from just about every corner and crack they could place a camera. Again there is another treat for those who wait, and fans of the jam band scene will pleased to know a legend of the genre comes on stage for a few tracks. Overall the production is top notch and does not disappoint at all; if anything it leaves you wanting more.
The final DVD in the set is a documentary that gives the whole history of the band. It starts with Sanchez and his childhood friends starting bands as kids, moves onto the birth of Shabutie, and ends with the formation of Coheed and Cambria. Everything you could have ever wanted to know about the band is on this disc. Sanchez even touches on how the story of Coheed and Cambria is a lot more then it appears and discusses his personal issues that became parts of the story. Like the other four DVDs the documentary is split up between the time periods of the four albums. When youíre watching you canít help but feel for the guys and know that they have given their all to what they do and how they worked for everything they have gotten. To give an idea of how itís presented, think of a Behind the Music episode without the VH1 junk. Some bonus features focus on the opening acts for each night consisting of Mic, The Davenport Cabinet, and Richard Christy, and the rest is just a bunch of web clips that were recorded in preparation for Neverender. Overall itís the perfect piece to top off media section of the box set and does not disappoint at all.
Also within the package is a 48 page hardcover book with pictures taken by fans and sent to the band. There is also a metal dragonfly that is pretty sweet if you are into little trinkets like that. All together the package will be regarded as a prized possession for most (myself included). Say what you will about Coheed and Cambria, but hate them or love them, they are one of the few bands that proudly represents this generation of music. If youíre young or old, a diehard fan or just discovering them, there is something for everyone when it comes to Coheed and Cambria. This collection is essential for any long time fan, so if you were on the fence, it's time to come on over. Coheed and Cambria have advanced from being just a band into something thatís completely unexplainable. Other bands should take notice because with Neverender Coheed and Cambria have taken the music game to a whole 'nother world.
I only felt that this deserved a 98% because this is what bands strive to do. Bands wish to achieve something as stellar as Neverender. This is Coheed's pinnacle of their career and it's basically as good as it gets when it comes to overall quality/performance/packaging.