Gareth Gates Live - DVD

It's only been a few months since Gates released his Comic Relief single "Spirit In The Sky" with the Kumars and were already getting withdrawal symptoms from the lack of a spiky hedgehog heart throb. Ok, we have Kenzie from Blazin Squad to fill in until Gates comes back with "Sunshine" but it's not the same and it's only the fact that we have the Gareth Gates Live DVD in the offices that's seeing us through the cold turkey. Strangely enough getting hold of this DVD seemed harder than getting a quick fix on the streets of Manchester, long story but you can blame Royal Mail for the fact that you've probably got posties selling Gareth Gates DVDs at car boot sales around the country.

We've only seen Gareth live once and it's an experience we will never forget. Feel The Noise 2002 - screams that could deafen and hysteria not seen since the Beatles or Elvis. If you thought the day Take That split and prompted the Samaritans to set up help lines for suicidal fans was OTT, just wait to the day Gareth Gates announces his retirement - there will be a whole generation of female fans who simultaneously slit their wrist at the prospect of a life without their golden boy. This DVD is taken from the Will & Gareth Tour at the end of 2002 which we avoided for the simple fact that we couldn't bear to sit through Will Young and Zoe Birkett. As Meat Loaf once sang "I'd do anything for love, but I won't do that".

Unlike most pop acts both Gareth and Will decided to head out with a live band to prove their not pop puppets and it works. The five singles (Unchained Melody, Anyone Of Us (Stupid Mistake), Suspicious Minds, The Long & Winding Road and What My Heart Wants To Say) are included as are a selection of cover versions including MJ's "The Way You Make Me Feel" and The Beatles "Yesterday". The latter sadly doesn't match up to his Pop Idol performance which even hardcore Beatles fans would have had to put their personal opinions on contemporary music aside. Much debate has focused on whether he should have donned an Elvis suit and covered "Suspicious Minds", but when you hear middle aged women on trains saying how they never really like Elvis until they heard Gareth's cover version it renders the argument obsolete. Plus the fact that we get to see Gates in a white sequin costume should be enough to convince the doubters...personally were waiting for him to cover "Get Your Hands Off My Woman" by the Darkness and get spandexed up for the video, but we shouldn't really be airing our fantasies in public.

Naturally there's a difference between what the fans want and what the marketing bods decide is appropriate for this release. The 18 minute documentary is pure filler material and really doesn't tell you anything that you wouldn't see on Saturday Morning TV. It's a wasted opportunity because what fans really want is an in-depth interview that explores every facet of Gates's upbringing and lifestyle. I expect however this will be saved for the next inevitable DVD which will also include album tracks such as "Too Serious Too Soon" and "With You All The Time".

For the time being "Gareth Gates Live" is the best pop DVD on the market, but if Gareth Gates wants to be around in 10 years time he needs to ignore the management team around him and start making decisions for himself. There's already enough money in the bank for him to start taking risks and follow his own dreams and by doing this he will break out of the bland pop mould that some people have prematurely placed him in. It was Gates who dreamt up and subsequently dropped the 2-2-1 hairstyle formation, Gareth who decided to imitate Elvis and Gareth who wants to move to a more cutting edge direction. On the other hand management decided he cover "Unchained Melody" and duet with Will on "The Long & Winding Road". Conclude from that what you will, but the fans know exactly who will make or break Gates at the end of the day.

Alex McCann

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