An Evening With Christopher Cross

An Evening With Christopher Cross (1998)
BMG Entertainment
Extras: Behind-the-scenes Interview, Preview Song, Photo Gallery

Christopher Cross has never been one of those high profile artists, but his music has permeated popular culture for almost 20 years now. This understatement can also be found in his live shows where the focus is put on the music itself and not necessarily on the artists or their presentation.

CMC International / BMG Distribution is now presenting a live show by Christopher Cross on this DVD, that was recorded in 1998 in the Galaxy Theater in Santa Ana, California. It is a rather small, amphitheater-like indoor venue with great acoustics. The show is essentially the same concert that can also be found on the second disc of Christopher Cross’ current album release "Walking In Avalon".

The production used number of cameras, creating a vivid and lively taping of the show from a number of angles. The stage lighting of the show uses a number of colored lights, but at the same time always tries to maintain a rather natural look that is balanced and pleasing. Hardly ever is the entire staged bathed in a single color. The image quality on this DVD is strong in its color reproduction, nicely bringing out the hues of the lighting. Some minor compression artifacts in the form of dot crawl are evident in the DVD’s image. It certainly has a lot to do with the quality of the source material that was used to create this DVD and is never truly distracting from the actual experience. Blacks are deep, nicely framing the performance on stage, while the highlights are always bright without over-emphasis.

For a music release, the sound tracks are obviously the most interesting aspect, and it is here where this DVD from CMC International really shines. It defaults to the stereo mix that is supplied and after listening to it, you get a good feel for the quality of the performance and the recording that is presented here. It is well balanced and nicely reproduces the directional setting found on stage. As soon as you switch to the <$5.1,5.1 channel> surround mix presented on this disc however, you know what you’ve been missing all these years. It is concert recordings like this one that make you appreciate the capabilities of a <$5.1,5.1 channel> surround mix in music so much more. The recording fully restores the concert’s live atmosphere with a spatial mix that combines reflections in the rear speakers with actually mixing certain instrument passages to the surrounds in order to give the performance a much bigger sonic image. Although I found the presentation lacking a bit of brilliance – the hi-hat, cymbals and syllables barely make it through the mix – it is a mix that is generally pleasing and warm sounding. No distortion is evident in the track, making this DVD a fully engulfing performance.

The DVD contains some of Christopher Cross’ best known songs, 18 in total, and the excellence of the concert is quite catching. Cross is always master of his songs and the blistering solos he delivers on his guitar add greatly to the performance. At the same time his understatement as a guitarist prove once again that he is a songwriter in the first place who never intends to put his technical skills above his writing. The result are a string of catchy songs that have depth, charm and quite some musical prowess.

The live renditions of his classics like "Ride Like The Wind", "Sailing" or "All Right" are mesmerizing and have not lost a bit of their intensity and class after almost 20 years. It shows how timeless his music is and the flawless interpretation on stage, allows listeners to not only enjoy these classic tracks, but also some of his newer work that almost seamlessly blends, showcasing Christopher Cross’ signature sound.

On this DVD you will also find an interview featurette with Christopher Cross in which he sheds some light on his career and his music. It is quite interesting to watch, although it barely reveals any significantly new things. As a teaser for his latest album, the DVD also contains a new song from his current album "Walking In Avalon". Coming from the concert’s stunning 5.1 presentation back to the album’s stereo recording, it almost sounds diminishing by comparison.

Almost presented like a "Best Of" playlist, this DVD offers something for every fan of Cross’ music, and those who want to familiarize themselves with it a little more. The 5.1 surround mix is a great addition to this DVD that blows the stereo mix that is also found on this DVD out of the water. Get this disc, and enjoy an evening with Christopher Cross. It is definitely worth it.