Shawn Mullins – Live At The Variety Playhouse [DVD]


Band: Shawn Mullins [solo and full band]

Title: Live At The Variety Playhouse

Genre: Live Show

Release: 10/28

Distributor: MVD

It seems hard to believe that the world that most of us first heard of Shawn Mullins back in 1998 with his infectious single, “Lullaby.” If you don’t think you remember it, do a Youtube search and I’m sure, just like then, it’ll be stuck in your head for days. Unfortunately for Mullins, he fell out of the spotlight on the national scale after that song, but has continued on for last decade recording and touring basically nonstop. Following a new album that came out earlier this year, Mullins is now bringing us a beautiful live dvd featuring him playing both solo and in a full band through a blistering and heart wrenching 15 song set.

Gone are the days of the long haired Mullins, he now walks out on a single spotlight stage looking a bit weathered from years on the road. His first 6 songs are simply him, a single light, and maybe four camera angles giving it all to an apparently large audience. His fictitious tales are so well thought out and his voice so confident that you hang on each word. Even with age, Mullins still pulls in people of all ages with a sound that’s simply timeless.

As the disc moves into the full band, those apprehensive about the singer’s ability to entertain visually by himself will be pleased to know things do liven up for the remaining nine tracks.  However, I think a lot of it is simply more up tempo songs and a fuller sound than the actually people joining him on stage. The songs span his career and they all fit together perfectly. Of course, the crowd is loudest when Mullin’s busts out, “Lullaby,” but never do they waiver for any other track. IT all ends nearly as simply as it begins with a sincere modesty to the whole night and a smile on the viewers face.

The video itself is quite crisp and the multiple cameras keep things interesting even when the songs are slow. The audio sync is perfect and everything sounds wonderful. The menu resembles the theater entrance and keeps the theme quite well. There’s some movement to let you know there was effort put into it which is nice because far too many dvds as of late feel slapped together. As far as extras are concerned, you get a music video, interview, and slide show which is probably only for the die hards. However, the concert is solid enough to hold its own weight.

Even though Mullins may never crack the top 40 again, these songs are timeless and his presence is something to be admired. few can make an audience hang on every note by simply playing solo and acoustic, but Mullins does and is grateful for the time he’s given to do so. This dvd is a must for Mullin’s fans, but also anyone who just wants to see something pure in the music world. Forget major labels and flashy videos, this is music in its bare form, 6 strings and a heart and really, what more could any true music fan ask for?

**Written by: James Shotwell**
Grade: 8.5/10

James Shotwell
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