|Cranberries, The: Beneath the Skin - Live in Paris (Version 2)|
|Written by Mel Odom|
|Tuesday, 01 October 2002|
“Beneath the Skin, Live in Paris Version 2” was recorded at the Palais Omnisport De Bercy in Paris, France on December 9, 1999. It’s a safe bet that most of the North American viewing audience for this disc wasn’t there. Seeing the concert on a large-screen television pulls the at-home viewer right into the crowd somewhere near the front row. A surround sound system heightens that experience, delivering the music crisply and clearly. Several camera views and changes in costumes and lighting make the DVD more interesting to watch, as does Dolores O’Riordan’s energetic dancing, instrument playing, intriguing vocal interpretations and crowd interaction, but at the heart of this DVD is the music.
22 of the Cranberries’ greatest hits are presented on stage. Dolores O’Riordian takes center stage quickly and with seasoned professionalism, kicking the concert off with “Promises” as a thundering beat issues from the subwoofer, with guitars establishing a driving tempo from the front speakers. Her voice pours sweet and clear and clean from the center speaker(s). The crowd noise creates an exciting undercurrent to the unfolding event.
“Animal Instinct,” written by O’Riordan when she had her first child, maintains the established beat. The song is beautiful, moody and frenetic, accompanied by a guitar solo that showcases delicate picking. O’Riordan doffs her tiger print coat for a leather mini-skirt and a camisole top for “Loud And Clear.” During this song, she first shows her voice off for the amazing instrument it is as she ad-libs words to go with the lyrics and driving music. She dances, gyrating wildly and amping the crowd up.
In “Ode To My Family,” the Cranberries slow the music down, bringing a few mellow notes to their audience. The drummer provides a hollow backbone counterpoint to the music and lyrics with a tambourine that cracks through the center speaker(s) while O’Riordan sings and plays the keyboard. The purple light brings the stage area into sharp focus. “The Icicle Melts” provides another slow song, but kicks into life with a heavy drum line that throbs through the subwoofer.
The Cranberries bring up the house with “Linger,” the sixth cut of the DVD and one of their chart-toppers. O’Riordan whips the crowd up to a frenzy with her beautiful voice and interaction, letting the audience sing some of the lines. The crowd’s lines echo all through the surround as the subwoofer fires up to life to follow the deep throb of the beat. O’Riordan’s voice is a haunting force in its own right, the notes pure and strong and vibrant. “Wanted” kicks up the tempo again, with use of red lights on the stage bringing the audience participation to fever pitch again. The guitar riffs punctuate the music and build a high energy level as O’Riordan shakes her body and gets into the groove. “Salvation” keeps the frantic pace, adding a ripping light show and heavy drums that fire up the subwoofer as O’Riordan growls the lyrics in a definite audience pleaser. Again, the way she uses her vocals raises the sheer drive of the music several notches. “Desperate Andy” throws in a bluesy rocker curve, which is obviously well received by the Paris audience. The surround sound wails the song through the system, making the vocals crystal clear so that O’Riordan’s voice generates an additional level of excitement as she trills and dances.
“Go Your Own Way” was an original hit for Fleetwood Mac in 1977, but several other artists have covered the song. O’Riordan kicks the song up into the wild blue, led by strong guitar picking. “Pretty” features cymbals that lead into the slow song, and the stage pours out a cloud of fog that reveals O’Riordan striding out, wearing a red top and tight white pants. O’Riordan picks up a guitar to play on “When You’re Gone,” lending a melancholy voice to the slow, aching melody. “I Can’t Be With You” starts with coyote yips that rocket through the front and center speakers, carrying a strongly Irish lilt to the lyrics.
“Waltzing Back” offers another drum-intensive number that is solidly backed by O’Riordan’s instinctive vocals and a Highland influence that is subtle but distinctive. “Free To Decide” picks up the tempo again, a rail against life and the benefit of choices. The drums drive the number, hammering through the subwoofer.
O’Riordan yells the name of the next cut, “Zombie,” and drives the crowd into a feeding frenzy. The drummer lays down a solid backbeat that underscores the music as O’Riordan alternates between the lyrics and picking striking guitar riffs. “Ridiculous Thoughts” offers outstanding guitar work, followed immediately by O’Riordan’s affecting vocals, then launches into a driving beat that hammers the subwoofer and stresses the surround sound system. “Dying In The Sun” slows the music down with strong and sensual keyboard work by O’Riordan, joined a moment later by her high voice before segueing into accompaniment with the band on the choruses. “You And Me” cuts to a new section of the show, and turns into a strong, emotionally satisfying blend of voice, drums, and guitars.
“Just My Imagination” draws the crowd in at once. O’Riordan launches into the vocals, moving the intensity up at once. She again draws the crowd in through interaction, and with the big-screen television and surround sound, most viewers will quickly be sucked into singing the chorus with her. Her energy level remains high as she makes her way around the stage. “Delilah” begins with a throbbing bass beat that rumbles from the subwoofer as O’Riordan cranks up the vocals. The subwoofer fires nearly constantly throughout the song. “Dreams” closes the concert, and what a close it is. One of the Cranberries’ best chart-toppers, “Dreams” is obviously a favorite with the Paris crowd, and probably will be to anyone who buys or listens to this DVD.
The special features of the DVD are kind of lean, but the footage of interviews and candid spots are interesting. There are four bonus tracks of the music being performed live that show a different side of the band for those viewers who are drawn in by the concert offering but aren’t overly familiar with the Cranberries. The music videos included in the package are good, and they will be welcome to fans.
Cranberries fans, and those looking to add another well-performed and well-produced concert DVD to their collections, will find a definite winner in “The Cranberries: Beneath The Skin Live In Paris Version 2.” The high energy maintained throughout the concert, plus the good mix of songs, guarantees a great evening’s entertainment, even if the disc is only picked up for the night as a rental. Exciting, driving music performed by a lead singer with killer instinctive vocals and featuring a band that obviously loves what they do will please any music lover.