ZIMBABWE - Live at Madison Square Garden DVD (w/ audio CD)

After The Last Dispatch, fans of the popular independent jam band thought they’d have to go the rest of their lives without seeing the band play live again. In July of last year anyone who made it to Madison Square Garden in New York got to see the band alive and well, and playing for a cause. All the proceeds from their three day concert went to “fight disease, devastation and social injustice in the country of Zimbabwe.” And regardless of why they’re playing, the music sounds great, so it’s just icing on the cake that the concert was actually a benefit.

Captured on an extensive DVD and CD set, the live recordings are ideal for home viewing and stereo listening. Dispatch is the type of band that sounds better live, as they’re given the ability to improvise and jam for as long as they see fit on any particular song. This stretches hits like “Bats in the Belfry” and “General” to over seven minutes, but it’s seven minutes well spent. Directed by Danny Clinch, the footage of the concert itself is impressive alone in that it shows both the audience and the band in equal measure, and from numerous angles. Too many rock concerts are documented with little regard for what the band sees and too much regard for close-ups on instruments. Clinch manages a good amount of both, providing musicians with the shots they want and general fans with the views they’re looking for.

Interspersed throughout the live show is backstage clips and brief interviews with the band members, discussing their reasons for doing the show and preparing with the children’s choir that will be singing with them. The live cd is a welcome addition as well, although it only features 10 tracks of the 23-song concert. But hey, 10 songs is better than nothing. And it’s songs like “Bang Bang,” “Ride a Tear,” “Elias” and “General” that make the album great listening. Fans of Dispatch will eat this double disc collection up, and will hope for future relapses from the “end of Dispatch.”

Zach’s Rating: A
Perfect For: Anyone jonesin’ for some more Dispatch
Stay Away if: Jam bands don’t do it for you
Watch for: The dancing Zimbabwe children’s choir
Buy this on Itunes: “The General”

To purchase Dispatch Zimbabwe, visit Amazon

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