Usher – OMG Tour – Live from London (Blu-ray)

The remarkably sweaty Usher takes to England’s O2 Arena with a fleet of dancers and equipment for the OMG Tour – Live from London. Now available on DVD and Blu-ray, this concert movie was made in April of this year and features about 104 minutes of hits from the R&B superstar. This review is for the Blu-ray presentation of the OMG Tour.

As elaborate as the set design is, Usher doesn’t really connect that much with the audience and a lot of the show feels relatively mechanical. As well-shot as the concert is, I couldn’t help but find the singer/dancer/songwriter to be a little removed.

The OMG Tour is in support of his Raymond vs. Raymond record, his third consecutive album to debut in the top spot on the US Billboard 200. The album features hits like “OMG,” “Hey Daddy (Daddy’s Home),” and “Lil’ Freak,” all of which are featured on the Blu-ray.

As is standard practice, Usher also runs through previous hits, like “You Make Me Wanna,” from his 1997 record, My Way, and some of his biggest hits, such as “Yeah” and “Nice & Slow.” There’s nothing from his self-titled 1994 debut, of course.

There’s no questioning Usher’s importance as a performer. He is one of the best-selling artists in American music history, having sold over 65 million records worldwide to date. He is a consummate professional, but I think that’s where the problem with the OMG Tour – Live from London Blu-ray lies.

Usher is almost too polished as he prowls the stage. He interacts well with his dancers and his moves are sleek, but it’s easy to tell that he and his team are simply going through the steps. There is very little by way of communication with the crowd between songs (except perhaps to nominally acknowledge where he is) and there are no covers or surprises in the setlist. Most of the banter, such as a small riff of dialogue on “U Remind Me,” is heavily scripted.

As a Blu-ray, the OMG Tour – Live from London looks tremendous. The direction is pretty good, featuring plenty of typical panoramic shots of the crowd with smartphones aloft and random zooms of particularly excited fans (generally of the female persuasion). The pyrotechnics are crisp and colourful, even during the many close-ups, and there’s nothing by way of colour breakdown that I could see.

With regard to the audio, there are three options: Dolby Digital 5.1, LPCM 2.0, and DTS Master Audio 5.1. The audio quality on each is very good, although the Dolby Digital 5.1 offers the fullest sound for those with booming sound systems.

As far as features go, the OMG Tour Blu-ray is thin. “On the Shoulders of Giants” finds Usher comparing himself to Michael Jackson and Bobby Brown while talking about how special the concert is and how different London fans are. The other feature, “New Look Spot,” plunders most of its footage from the first feature in an attempt to shed light on the singer’s New Look Foundation.

Luckily, the OMG Tour Blu-ray is reasonably priced at most major outlets, so it’s not a terrible purchase if you’re an Usher fan. As far as most concert Blu-rays go, though, this one is a disappointment.

Article first published as Music Blu-ray Review: Usher – OMG Tour – Live from London on Blogcritics.

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