|Fair Warning - 'Talking Ain't Enough - Live In Tokyo' (Steamhammer/SPV)|
|Written by Mark Taylor|
|Friday, 03 December 2010 05:00|
Rising from the ashes of cult AOR band Zeno, German melodic heavy rockers Fair Warning have been around since 1991, initially releasing four studio albums along the way before a five-year hiatus ensued in 2001. The band reconvened for their 'Brothers Keeper' album in 2006, and followed this in 2009 with the 'Aura' album. And it is from the tour supporting that album that 'Talking Ain't Enough - Live In Tokyo' is taken.
This set was released at the tail end of November by Steamhammer/SPV in three different formats to suit all of our wallets. There is the triple CD, or a double DVD plus a limited edition hard cover box set that features all the CDs and DVDs plus a deluxe booklet and alternative cover artwork...phew.
It has to be said that Fair Warning would probably be lucky to sell out the Frog & Bucket here in the UK and that is our loss, because as well as being a big league player in their homeland, the band have a massive following in Japan that borders on super stardom. In fact when I first put the DVD set on in my home, my Japanese girlfriend immediately recognized the music and came running from the kitchen to prance around the room, dancing to the tunes and telling me what a great band Fair Warning are, "They're brilliant, they're lovely, number one in Japan'', she tells me. She never reacts like this when I play my albums by The Enid or Uriah Heep and the fact that she looks so excited, automatically rings alarm bells in my head. However upon watching the DVD set, she does in fact have a point.
The package actually includes two different gigs. DVD 2/CD 3 was recorded at the Loudpark Festival in 2009 and runs for 60 minutes, whilst DVD 1/CD 1 and CD2 is a complete two hour set from January 2010 at a headlining gig also recorded in Tokyo. The filming is of a very high quality that matches any of the big DVD releases from the likes of Whitesnake or AC/DC. The sound is faultless, with screaming fans kept to a minimum. My only minor complaint being that Japan does have some of the most beautiful women in the world and a few close up's of the Asian babes present would have been a bonus. For us mere British fans, we simply have to settle our minds on the fact that this is perhaps our only chance of seeing Fair Warning on the big stage.
Of the two gigs on offer here the Loudpark set is the better filmed of the two, with much more use of camera angles, whilst the band seem to be a lot heavier in the latter 2010 Tokyo set. So what can the novice expect from this release? Well the song titles can be a little bit clichéd, 'Angels Of Heaven', 'Save Me' ' Burning Heart', 'Longing For Love', yes you get the picture, your typical AOR melodic rock fodder, but I can't really hold that against the band as they aren't singing in their native tongue. The songs do have a commercial edge and Tommy Heart does have a powerful set of Germanic lungs, whilst guitarist Helge Engelke's playing is fluid throughout. Admittedly spread out over 2 DVD's and 3 CD's the music is a bit samey after a while, but I can't really say there are any duds on here. This is music that would sound great in the car.
The band seems to love it up on that stage, in the big spotlights and 'Talking Ain't Enough - Live In Tokyo' is certainly a worthwhile watch/listen. It goes with saying that this set is a must have for existing Fair Warning fans, who probably put the deluxe box set on their Christmas wish list back in the summer. For those who just want to check out what the fuss is about then the triple CD is as good as any greatest hits set you'll pick up by the band.
You know, watching the DVD set has made me want to check out the band in the flesh now.