Enchant is not a “breakout band”. They’re not going to be on The Tonight Show any time soon. It’s unlikely they will be the next big thing in t-shirts among hip high schoolers. In other words, they’re not going to bunjee jump in order to grab your attention. They merely improve themselves from disc to disc, refining what they’ve got and learning new things along the way. In this, they’ve built up a solid, steady climb with a Rush / Kansas sound that has become more muscular in recent years. They’re impressive when studied and when they’re loud. They’ve also built a strong, loyal fan base including yours truly.
So it was sort of surprising to me when I didn’t immediately warm to their first live double CD set, “Live At Last”. It wasn’t that the songs weren’t played incredibly well – they were. It wasn’t that the band was “off” that evening – they weren’t. Still, something wasn’t all there and I wasn’t being grabbed. At first, I thought it was in the mixing, as the voice was very dry while the instruments had nominal reverb, but that was too easy a guess. I also thought I was too familiar with the original recordings and that this somewhat stripped-down sound didn’t gel with an unreal expectation… This is more like it. After all, we’re all spoiled by live recordings that are actually fiddled with in studio post-production.
It turns out that I was pretty close. After watching the DVD version of the same performance, actually seeing the band in the venue, the apprehensions went away. The visual component goes a long way to make the show “real” in the audio component, as if seeing the band on stage balances out the dry, but still impressive, vocals from Ted Leonard. Doug Ott’s guitar work sounds wild on the CD but makes even more of a mark when you see him actually attacking the fretboard.
Both the 2-CD set and the 2-DVD set are around the same price, so it’s easy for me to recommend the latter over the former. I hope you’ll give this underrated and overlooked band a look-see.