DVD Review: Live at Oak Tree (Greater Vision)

DVD_liveoaktreeLive at Oak Tree is a DVD / CD series released by Daywind Records, featuring several Daywind artists singing in a studio setting at Oak Tree Studio.

Greater Vision’s entry in this series features quite a few songs from their Not Alone CD (their most recent recording of new songs), as well as several tracks from other recent projects and several of their greatest hits. Jacob Kitson, who surprised nobody in the industry by winning “Favorite Horizon Individual” at the 2009 Fan Awards, delights with his more than adequate renditions of songs from earlier eras of the group. In particular, he does so well on the Hymns of the Ages tracks that one wishes Gerald Wolfe would re-cut the vocals on that project and have a version available with his vocal. And his rendition of “So Much God” is the best Greater Vision has recorded.

Legacy Five’s Tim Parton joined Greater Vision for the video; the group was backed by a four-piece band that included Parton on piano, John Hammond on drums, Craig Nelson on bass, and Kelly Back on guitar. (Lari Goss took over on piano on several tracks.)

Particularly welcome are several songs—”It Means Just What it Says” and “Treasures Unseen”—that feature Greater Vision with just the live band. It’s these songs more than any other that make this project a must-add for fans who already have Live at First Baptist Orlando and other recent Greater Vision DVDs.

The cinematography is decent overall, though it’s not clear whether the grainy black-and-white footage from one angle was an accident or somehow intentional. Also somewhat distracting is the jerky zooming in and out on the multi-group songs in the bonus footage. The lighting is also good overall, though Rodney Griffin was over-lit to the point that his face lookes overly pale from a few angles. But despite those quibbles, the choice of camera angles and overall end product is enjoyable.

The extras include two songs featuring the three groups in this Oak Tree series (Greater Vision, the Booth Brothers, and Legacy Five) singing “I’m Feelin’ Fine” and “Jubilee,” as well as a tear-jerking bonus on Compassion International, featuring “Faces” as the soundtrack and featuring video footage of the group meeting a child they sponsored for the first time.

Though Greater Vision is at their best on a live stage—as Gerald Wolfe himself notes in the out-takes—this video is a nice change of pace, a welcome addition to their videography.

Rating: 4 stars. ♦ Group members: Jacob Kitson (tenor), Gerald Wolfe (lead), Rodney Griffin (baritone). ♦ Executive Producer: Dottie Leonard Miller. Producers: Paul Corley, Tre’ Corley, Norman Holland, Michael Turner, Shannon Lancaster. ♦ Available from: Artist. Review copy not provided. (And for anyone who actually reads the credits, that’s just a fancy way of saying that I bought it. Annoying FTC regulations … ) ♦ Song list: The Source of My Song; Tell Me the Story of Jesus; Share it with Jesus; It Means Just What it Says; He is Loved; I’ve Been to the Bottom; So Much God; It Pays to Pray; Treasures Unseen; I Want to Know that You Know; My Name is Lazarus; I Know He Heard My Prayer; He is to Me (Bonus Features: The Happy Jubilee; I’m Feeling Fine).

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6 Letters to the Editor

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  1. Thanks for the review Daniel.

  2. I enjoyed this DVD. Greater Vision is one of my all-time favorite artists and I particularly enjoyed this sort of “behind-the-scenes” look at the group in this informal setting. The song Treasures Unseen was worth the purchase for me. I first heard it when I went to a concert of theirs in the area back in May. At the time, I had yet to purchase their Memories Made New CD and had not heard the song. It is very dear to me.

    The Compassion segment in the features is beautiful. What a great organization that is.

    Thank you for another wonderful review, Daniel!

    • You’re welcome! The all-live version of “Treasures Unseen” is incredible. 🙂

      • You’re right! I absolutely love it!

  3. There’s at least three more titles in the series…Crabb Revival, Aaron & Amanda Crabb, and Austins Bridge. I have the two Crabb titles and the other three as well, but don’t have Austins Bridge.

    I just reviewed the series, based on four of the DVDs I’ve watched (I haven’t seen the one you reviewed yet):
    [EDIT, 6/6/12: Broken Link removed]

    There’s some great music in the series overall…mostly redoing their own material…but I think they dropped the ball on the concept. It’s in a studio, but the studio’s function doesn’t really come into play. They use pre-recorded tracks, despite the fact that there’s an adequate number of great musicians on hand to have recorded it ALL live. This is the concept of the title of the series…LIVE in a STUDIO…but live and studio are given short shrift.

    Of course, the series does have a number of special moments that make it worth getting if you like that particular artist. Most of the singing is live and enough of the musicianship is live to set these performances apart from the studio versions.