Jeff Buckley: Grace Around the World
By David Chiu
Whether it was at a New York City venue or at a television studio in London, the late Jeff Buckley never gave a pedestrian performance onstage. There was so much intensity and emotion in his musical delivery that it felt more like a spiritual experience than a show.
That notion is reinforced with this latest posthumous archival release, Grace Around the World, a DVD/CD collection of electrifying live performances from 1994 and 1995. “Grace Around the World” reveals two sides of Buckley the musician: the manic and intense rock performer (from the BBC Late Show, London), and the warm and intimate artist (in his performance of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” for MTV Japan).
Throughout this DVD you can see Buckley evoking his influences such as Led Zeppelin, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Nina Simone both in his voice and in the music. More importantly, however, he forged his own distinct identity in the process.
If you can afford to spend the few extra dollars, you should definitely get the deluxe version of this set because it comes with “Amazing Grace,” a documentary about Buckley’s life, directed by Nyla Bialek Adams and Laurie Trombley. This film, which came out in 2004, provides a well-rounded portrait of the singer’s life and details his early performances at New York City’s Sin-e, his rapid rise and acclaim during his tenure with Columbia Records and his final days in Memphis as he was recording the follow-up to the critically acclaimed “Grace.” In addition to archival footage and performances, it features interviews with Buckley’s mother Mary Guibert, members of his band, friends, and musicians Chris Cornell, Duncan Sheik and former Skid Row singer Sebastian Bach. Like “Grace Around The World,” “Amazing Grace” shows what a blessed and gifted musician Buckley was.
His untimely death still resonates when one thinks of what his career might have been.
“Grace Around the World” is out on June 2.