Styx and The Contemporary Youth Orchestra of Cleveland: One With Everything (Eagle Vision)
by Martin Popoff
Serendipitous, to say the least. Styx‘s pomp, prog, and hard rockin’ music lends itself perfectly to the orchestral treatment, and with 115 in the orchestra and 56 in the choir – all 13 to 19 years of age – this is just a big, loud celebration of rock. Music Director (and founder) Liza Grossman is the hero here though, and her enthusiasm is projected and injected into her charges, their youthful energy pushing the band to do what they do best – sing ageless like friggin’ birds. The lighting and filming of the thing is a joy as well, the sound crisp, and the mix of the band and their stupendous voices (check out Gowan’s metal-bruising “I Don’t Need No Doctor”) is perfect, even if I’d have to say the orchestra is drowned out quite often, by a show that oddly leans toward harder rocking Styx classics. I imagine you could hear them better on the night, but on the DVD, perhaps it’s made up for by the fact that they get lots of camera time, their digging of the situation being quite touching.
Extras include a slide show, a silly Quakecam – essentially a look at Todd and his hard-whacking traditional grip – a full round of interviews, and a couple of contemporary Christmas songs. What a fun view though, and testimony to the band’s showmanship and synergy and, man, vocal prowess. An interesting chaser to the similar and also uncompromisingly professional Dennis DeYoung DVD of last year.