Morgan Heritage Live in Europe 2003

Morgan Heritage is one of the few reggae bands that really have the potential to set reggae music on fire internationally in a mainstream sense. Live in Europe is a testament to the band's crossover appeal, as their concerts are part rock show and part reggae session. The footage shown here is of concerts in Holland and Switzerland, alight with a band basking in the energy of moving reggae music to new heights globally. Featuring all original compositions that keep alive the traditional roots vocal harmonies but add in heavily distorted rock and roll guitar solos, Mr. Mojo's rapping, and Grampa Morgan's soul crooning, Morgan Heritage's set personifies both their Brooklyn upbringing and their Jamaican heritage. The DVD offers an entire concert filmed at the Paridiso concert hall in Amsterdam during July, 2003, as well as another selection called "Three in One Mix," which features footage from three separate shows strung together to play like one concert. The Paridiso concert offers the closest actual concert experience but "Three In One," in some ways, is a better show because you get to see the band react to both outdoor festival crowds (Parkpop, Holland, and Paleo, Switzerland) and a sold-out medium-sized theatre crowd (Paridiso). The only drawback is that some of the Paridiso tracks are doubled from the full concert set. All the footage is shot with multiple cameras, giving ample time to each band member and instilling an "on the stage feel" to the viewer. The band's hits, such as "Down By The River" and "Jump Around" — inspired by their two-year stint on the Warped Tour — are showstoppers in their own right, but the strongest tracks by far are "Don't Haffi Dread" — a song perhaps for Toots Hibbert's barber-shorn son Hopeton Hibbert, who backs up the band on bass — and the infectious ska encore "Everything is Still Everything." In addition to the concert footage, the DVD also offers an intimate interview segment where the five sibling band members talk about the nitty gritty work behind the scenes. They also give in-depth background to their father's (singer Denroy Morgan) contributions to the band and relay how their move to Jamaica put the band on the track for success. (Heartbeat/Rounder, www.rounder.com)