Renowned Canadian multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter and producer Devin Townsend played a special concert October 27, 2012 at the Roundhouse venue in London, England as part of a one-night-only event, dubbed "The Retinal Circus", that was recorded for both DVD and Blu-ray, and was released on October 29 in North America (Sepember 30 in Europe) via InsideOut Music.
"The Retinal Circus" was released on several formats, including a lavish and bonkers limited edition befitting of the man himself, and which took months of hard work to put together. The complete list of formats is below:
* Standard 2-disc DVD
* Standard 1-disc Blu-ray
* Standard 2-CD audio
* Special edition (2 DVDs/1 Blu-ray/2 CDs) box set
* Diehard deluxe fan box including 2 DVDs, 1 Blu-ray, 2 CDs
A six-minute "unboxing" video of the diehard deluxe fan box of "The Retinal Circus" can be seen below.
Devin previously described "The Retinal Circus" as "a retrospective of my career in music to date, with the central theme being a metaphor of how life and the adventures therein are a 'circus' of sorts. The show involves a cast of characters and guests that support this theme through carnival type performances. A story about how a troubled young man dreams of fantastic scenarios, (illustrated through the music of my back catalogue), which ultimately crests in the characters realization that life is all about the relationships we have with each other. This is the first opportunity I have been given to make theatrical representations of my music."
In an interview with Metal Insider, Townsend stated about "The Retinal Circus": "It's like such a clusterfuck on stage. Whether or not people who're new to it understand what I'm trying to do, I like the idea that it's like… When I watch it, I'm, like, 'That's pretty much how I feel it should look like.' For better or for worse, it's like this crazy chaos."
Regarding what inspired the setlist for "The Retinal Circus", Townsend said: "I tried to get a bit of everything, but at the end of it, it was most important to include the songs that we could illustrate the best. The show itself had this peculiar story and so that story arc required me to choose songs that would contribute to that, rather than just elbow it in there. So we missed some stuff. 'Terria' wasn't in there, and whatever, but it leaves room for the next thing."
Aniruddh "Andrew" Bansal of Metal Assault recently conducted an interview with renowned Canadian multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter and producer Devin Townsend. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Metal Assault: The last time we did an interview, it was September of last year and at the time you were telling me about this "Retinal Circus" show that you were going to do soon after. Here we are almost a year later, and you're soon releasing a DVD of that show. First of all, for you what was that experience like, doing that show in London?
Devin: It was basically every emotion sort of wrapped up into one. Being perfectly honest, overall it was a really good experience but it was fraught with technical hurdles and I didn't actually recognize what we had done until I started editing it. In hindsight, it's great but at that time it was just a lot of stress.
Metal Assault: What kind of technical problems did you face?
Devin: Well, the ideas that I typically have for "Retinal Circus" or "Ziltoid" or any number of projects that I do are usually on such a scope that there's no feasible way you can do it with the amount of money and time that we usually have. "Retinal" was an extreme version of that. There were a 100 people in our performing group, we had a day and a half worth of rehearsal, and overall, we did achieve what I had hoped to achieve from the show, but to get it to that point it was chaos. You can imagine when there are a 100 people, including circus performers, choir members and people that had no connection to what I've done or to the music itself. They had to become familiar with the music and being on our stage, and all these things that went into this three-hour performance. We had props, we were playing songs we'd never played before, and I think there were 50 or 60 wireless units going. Something as simple as trying to find the frequencies for the wireless units became a challenge when we had to go and do it amidst the chaos of pulling off something that was so bizarre. For me, on a personal level, narcissistic to the point of nausea, it was a heck of a thing! But ultimately, for me it was a success. I tend to be hyper-aware of what I do and what it is that I project into the audience, I real awkward sort of quasi-nerdy thing. So by doing "Retinal", which was so awkward and so nerdy, it allowed me to kind of liberate that. It's what people are going to say now,