DVD Review: Jeff Buckley Returns in ‘Grace Around the World’

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CHICAGO – I can vividly remember where I was for two major events related to the life of Jeff Buckley - the first time I heard “The Last Goodbye” and when I heard about his tragic death. Buckley’s “Grace” is still one of my most beloved albums and watching him again on the new DVD/CD, I honestly miss the man and lament the loss of what could have been.

HollywoodChicago.com DVD Rating: 3.0/5.0
DVD Rating: 3.0/5.0

As a clearly diehard fan of Buckley, I was excited about the potential of archival live footage from when Buckley was traveling to promote “Grace” in late 1994 and early 1995. It’s been fifteen years since the world was introduced to one of the best singer/songwriters of the ’90s.

To promote it, Buckley and his band traveled around the globe to promote it, playing nearly every song as Buckley didn’t stick by the standard “single” structure (where the artist plays the same single over and over again in every market). He performed every track at least once in his many appearances on local broadcasts around the world. To celebrate the 15th Anniversary of “Grace,” the best of those performances have been compiled on a DVD/CD release called “Grace Around the World”.

Grace Around the World was released on DVD on June 2nd, 2009.
Grace Around the World was released on DVD on June 2nd, 2009.
Photo credit: Sony

The set includes 9 previously unreleased live takes on the songs from “Grace” intercut with interview footage of Jeff and the band. 12 songs from the 15-song DVD are included on the CD.

Previously unreleased performance locations include the “BBC Late Show” (“Grace”), “Live aux dem Sudbahnof in Frankfurt” (“So Real,” “Mojo Pin,” & the set highlight, “What Will You Say”), MTV Japan (“Hallelujah”), Howlin’ Wolf (“Dream Brother”), “MTV’s Most Wanted” (“Eternal Life” & “Last Goodbye”), and MTV Europe (“Lilac Wine”). Previously released footage includes performances from “120 Minutes” and a music video for “Hallelujah”.

I know every chord, note, and word of these songs by heart, so it pains me to say that “Grace Around the World” does not live up to expectations. The sad fact is that we’ve long ago seen everything we really needed to from Mr. Buckley. Being a diehard fan, I’m happy to have this footage and CD versions of them, but if you are new to Buckley, this is NOT the place to start. Pick up “Grace,” “Live at Sin-E,” “Mystery White Boy,” “Sketches (For My Sweetheart the Drunk),” and the “Live in Chicago” DVD.

“Live in Chicago” and “Live at Sin-E” display Buckley at his best on stage - vibrant, unpredictable, and riveting. The performances on “Grace Around the World” are interesting. There’s a difference. The fact is that Buckley was the kind of performer who enjoyed strumming his guitar in an intimate setting like Sin-E much more than promoting his album on MTV Japan. None of the performances on “Grace Around the World” are “bad” but they are all inferior to already available live versions and except for a few - “What Will You Say” and “Dream Brother” - they are relatively forgettable.

The consistent unearthing of new footage and recordings has reached the bottom of the barrel with “Grace Around the World”. This diehard fan and anyone else who remembers where they were when Jeff died, will feel an obligation to pick it up and will find it interesting, but will likely return to previous recordings and DVD footage before long.

‘Grace Around the World’ was released by Sony Music Entertainment. The DVD/CD was released on June 2nd, 2009. It is not rated.

HollywoodChicago.com content director Brian Tallerico

By BRIAN TALLERICO
Content Director
HollywoodChicago.com
brian@hollywoodchicago.com

Emily's picture

Not the best....

I agree.
This is like Olympia. It’s good, but this is Buckley - he was always great.
This isn’t him at his best, and I don’t think this is very accessible to those that don’t know his better performances.
I’m constantly amazed by the lackluster output from “the Estate” and Sony.
They care little for honesty, respectability and integrity with regard to the Jeff Buckley canon of work - even on jeffbuckley.com they are looking for tapers and bootleggers to help finance their retirement funds, after Guibert spent so much time and money shutting down all those true fans that only wanted to share quality product…
She went after anyone that posted Forget Her saying Jeff never wanted it released - oh wait, did they put it out on the 11 track version of Grace - YES THEY DID! Oh man, don’t get me started….

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