First off, this man is an absolute master on Spanish guitar. He is amazing to watch because his technical skills are flawless and the music he creates is beautiful. He makes it look so effortless that if only you just picked up a guitar and started strumming, you too could be a musical sensation. I could watch and listen to this man play for hours.
Now in regards to this DVD, Virtuoso was filmed live at the Civic Auditorium in Pasadena, California in 1981, at least that’s what it says on the case. The video says he’s playing at the Ambassador Auditorium. I’m not sure if they are the same place and that’s after doing some research on the Internet. You’re probably thinking, who cares about the case. Well, the case lists the man as Angel while the DVD menu lists him as Angelo, but then the video lists him as Angel again.
I was even more confused by the fact that for the set play list there is two listings for “Traditional Virtuoso Improvisation” and “traditional” and “improvisation,” while maybe not oxymoronic, certainly look odd together. The DVD menu only lists four songs and their titles appear on the video. Never is there a mention of any improvisation. The real confusion comes from the fact that Romero is so good that unless you know the pieces he is playing, you wouldn’t know he was doing any improvisation.
“Recuerdos de la Alhambra” is the first song he plays and he gets right to proving he’s got the goods because the song sounded fabulous. His thumb plucks the top three, which have a bass sound while his fingers strum the bottom three.
“Leyenda, Astorias” sounded familiar and I wasn’t sure why because I’m not that knowledgeable when it comes to Spanish guitar tunes. Then, it hit me. Robbie Krieger “borrowed” from this song for The Doors’ “Spanish Caravan,” a track which appears on their third album, “Waiting For The Sun,” but according to Bruce McCullough, “it’s really their first.”
At times the directing is odd in its shot selections. A few times split screens are used, but not to their full advantage. Sometimes, half the screen is a full shot from above or a long shot away, but what’s the point. What the viewer really wants is close-ups to watch Romero’s hands work, which we do get at times, but not nearly enough.
I don’t know if the DVD is worth the price. It’s $20, and for that you get 30 minutes of Romero playing solo. For some reason the stage is dressed with a piano, bass and drums. I was hoping to hear Romero play with a group, but it never happened. It was just a visual tease. If you are a fan of guitar or music in general, you should definitely buy $20 worth of Angel Romero products. Something like Bella: Incomparable Artistry of Angel Romero or you can even find two albums for $20 if you search.
This goes out to all DVD manufacturers, including the makers of this DVD, would you all please stop using the word “special” in regards to the most basic of features. I don’t consider the admittedly, well-written biography and the discography that lists 19 albums to be “special,” a word that means being other than the usual. These features are pretty standard on most DVDs nowadays.