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Site created 12/15/97.

review added: 8/13/01

The Kinks: One for the Road
1981 (2001) - Pioneer Artists/Konk Records (Pioneer)

review by Greg Suarez of The Digital Bits

The Kinks: One for the Road Program Rating: A

Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras): A/A-/A-

Specs and Features

54 mins, NR, full screen (1.33:1), single-sided, single-layered, Amaray keep case packaging, audio commentary by Kinks lead guitarist Dave Davies, video commentary by Dave Davies (for Lola, The Hard Way and Celluloid Heroes), Kinkdom interactive map tour, trivia game, band discography, program-themed menu screens with sound effects and music, song access (13 tracks - see song listing below), languages: English (DD 5.1 & 2.0 mono), subtitles: none

The Kinks: One for the Road is a live concert from 1981 filmed in Providence, Rhode Island. The performance features some of the band's biggest hits, such as Lola, All Day and All Night and, of course, You Really Got Me. It's a wonderful concert film in that a majority of the footage shot up-close and personal with members of the band, which really gives the viewer a you-are-there sense of excitement. Lead singer Ray Davies is at his best as he dances about the stage, and does a great job of getting the audience fired up with his flamboyance, humor and rock and roll enthusiasm. The entire band plays with gusto and the excitement never dwindles. And if this weren't enough, the concert contains a few very cool touches. For example, during the song Celluloid Heroes the concert itself is inter-cut with pre-show footage of the fans gathering at the Providence Civic Center and the band getting ready to go on stage. And during the Where Have All the Good Times Gone track, the viewer is treated to a few clips of the Kinks on the television show Shindig from way back in 1964. It all makes for a very entertaining hour.

But the fun doesn't stop there. Pioneer has given this disc the royal treatment, beginning with a newly-recorded, full-length audio commentary by Kinks lead guitarist Dave Davies. The best part of this commentary track is just sitting back and listening to Davies have a great time reliving old memories. The musician is lively and funny, as he seems to have almost as much fun watching the concert as he did performing it. He also spends a bit of time discussing the songs, his band mates and life on tour. Davies references the film This is Spinal Tap several times during the commentary, and he also points out the people he sees in One for the Road that have since passed on - ironically reminiscent of the band commentary on the This is Spinal Tap DVD. Supplementing the audio commentary is a video commentary for the songs Lola, The Hard Way and Celluloid Heroes. These contain basically the same commentary found in the audio-only track, however the viewer can observe Davies watching the concert while he speaks (you can also see the concert film in a small window in the upper left of the screen). A trivia game is contained in the supplements that, after all questions are answered correctly, will unlock the video commentary for Celluloid Heroes. A very cool interactive map tour, Kinkdom, features numerous locations around London that are somehow important to, or connected with, the band's history. When you select a location, you're treated a video of the actual location, along with text explaining its significance. Lastly, a complete gallery of the Kinks' album covers can be found on this disc. This is a wonderful set of supplements from Pioneer, and a sheer joy for any Kinks fan.

On the technical side, Pioneer has delivered the goods as well. Shot twenty years ago on 1-inch analog tape, One for the Road obviously doesn't hold up to the state-of-the-art digital video we've seen on more recent films. But John Albarian at Pioneer has done a bang up job given the source material. The full screen image is absolutely flawless, without any defects or an overly "aged" appearance. And the video never suffers from compression artifacting, artificial edge enhancement, or any other DVD mastering no-no.

The new Dolby Digital 5.1 audio is excellent given the age of its source, but lacks the bang and immediacy of more recent recordings. However, keeping in mind that the source is 20 years old (and wasn't in very good shape to begin with), the audio is wonderfully open and lively, and will surely provide the appropriate musical rush for Kinks junkies. The entire sound space is employed to transport the listener into the middle of the action. Rear speakers are used for ambiance and crowd cheering, while the front speakers are staged widely, featuring a nice audio mix that boasts a very balanced arrangement. The fidelity of the alternate Dolby Digital 2.0 mono track is similar to the 5.1 version, however the sound space is more limited and presents a bit more of a distant sound, with a slight touch of analog hiss that's absent in the more open, fresher-sounding 5.1 flavor.

Kinks fans rejoice - this is the DVD you've been waiting for! After you've rocked out to an exciting hour of classic Kinks tunes, take a stroll down memory lane with the very entertaining Dave Davies on the commentary track. Given the limitations of the source material, the audio and video presentations are extremely well done and are sure to please anyone who's ever played back-up air guitar to Dave Davies on You Really Got Me. Good fun.

Song Listing

All Day and All of the Night
Low Budget
Celluloid Heroes
The Hard Way
Where Have All the Good Times Gone
You Really Got Me
Catch Me Now I'm Falling

Greg Suarez
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