11/17/04 - TAPNotes by Matt Rowe
Hello again to our latest installment of TAPNotes.
This time we'll look at a nice selection of music that should appeal
across the board. From your hippies to your Death Metal to your Hard
Core to well... we've covered a lot of ground.
We had a Neil Young: Greendale
giveaway last shot. It was tough because so few guessed my favorite
song. Of course, like lots of Neil Young fans, I have a lot... but
the order is 1) Winterlong, 2)
Powderfinger, and 3) Like
a Hurricane. No one guessed the first two and so we had
to give 'em away for a fairly obvious choice, Like
a Hurricane. Yeah, but it still is a great song, no
We have a lot to get through today so we'll pop right in.
FYI, all titles reviewed in TAPNotes
can be ordered from Amazon.com by clicking on the cover art (as
always, doing so supports The Digital
Dead: The Grateful Dead Movie
"Pass here and go on. You're on the Road to Heaven."
This is some serious stuff here. There are few among you who
haven't heard about The Grateful Dead, and for good reason.
They've influenced multiple generations of musicians in their
playing styles. It's hard to not realize the impact that The
Dead has had on the jam band Phish, for example, and a host of
others. The Dead inspired thousands of fans to collect
everything they've done, from bootleg concert shows to albums.
In this age of DVD, it's foolish to not think that The Dead
would eventually provide collectibles in this format as well.
Monterey Video has released the extraordinary Grateful Dead
feature, The Grateful Dead Movie,
and has gone to great lengths to supplement it fully and make it
release of epic proportions. In addition to remastering from the
original 35mm film into high-def and delivering the image to
your screen in full anamorphic widescreen video, you also get a
Dolby Digital 5.1 mix of the theatrical audio, the theatrical
audio in its original stereo and a completely new Dolby Digital
5.1 mix for home theaters, all created from the master
multi-tracks. The feature also includes full-length audio
second disc features never-before-seen concert footage (of some 24
songs - more than 95-minutes worth in all), as well as several
documentaries, photo and art galleries and visible lyrics in a
subtitle feature (all in full frame). Also included with this 2-disc
set is a photo-filled, highly detailed, 24-page booklet.
Every nuance of a Dead concert, from setup to soundchecks to actual
performance, is shown here. The unseen footage is like a Christmas
gift and the timeframe is heavily nostalgic. For music fans younger
than this era, I think you'll be enthralled seeing how Mom and Dad's
generation rocked. The beer can bong is an absolute hoot to recall
Folks, this is the real deal. If you're a Grateful Dead fan, you've
struck gold. Complete, this set is without question THE music DVD
issue of the year so far.
Ritual: Live at CBGB
New York City's CBGB has played host to so many different bands
and styles throughout the years, that it shies away from
nothing. Superjoint Ritual is the clearest proof of that.
Profane, thrashing and raw, SJR provides a mainline of
adrenaline in this concert footage. The crowd is whipped into a
frenzy as they move to the stage and jump into the crowd. The
mosh pit is especially dangerous as you'll see.
The band's rap with the audience is straight, the setting
intimate as SJR steamrolls through their CBGB set. SJR, headed
by ex-Pantera Phil Anselmo, is in the middle of this
self-created pandemonium. These unabashed musicians provide a
collection of 9 hard-core songs with all the heat of a burning
Fans of SJR will not be disappointed with this DVD's non-stop
crunch. This disc is presented in its full-frame video with PCM
Stereo audio. The extras include two music videos, for Waiting
for the Turning Point and Dress
Like a Target, and a band interviews segment.
Stewart: VH1 Storytellers
One of the great singers in the pantheon of rock music, Rod
Stewart's involvement has run from the Jeff Beck Group, The
Faces (this writer's idea of the purest Rock 'n Roll) and a
highly successful solo career. There is no argument of Rod the
This VH1 Storyteller
edition is a presentation of 9 songs and is fortified with 2
bonus tracks not seen in the original broadcast. Among the
classics found on this DVD are Stay
With Me (the Faces' only bonafide hit single - you
can see it in Stewart's eyes that he misses this period), a
stirring version of Ronnie Lane's masterpiece Ooh
La La and the solo hit Maggie
Rod is in good form here as he obliges fans with answers
concerning his songs, even allowing one fan to come to the stage
to assist in the singing of a tune (extra value for those
inflated "golden circle" seats).
This DVD includes the original full frame video with audio in
Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 Stereo. In addition to the bonus
songs, there's a "music only" feature that allows you
to watch the program while skipping the banter in between.
There's also an enclosed booklet with a discography and a
At the Palace
Brit Pop sensation, Travis, typically art-school in style, has
been around for approximately 14 years. They've infused a more
Rock sound into Oasis' lushness and created a hybrid sound that
is still quite popular today. Out of the gate, they achieved a
strong following with several high charting singles.
This DVD presents a sold out Travis performance filmed at the
Alexandra Palace in December of 2003. The set includes 22 songs.
among them Why Does It Always Rain on
Love Will Come Through and
The great thing about this DVD is the way that it's presented.
You not only get a veritable smorgasbord of Travis songs in a
live setting, but you get them in captivating anamorphic
widescreen video with your choice of DTS 5.1, Dolby Digital 5.1
or Dolby Digital 2.0 audio for the purists. There's also a
22-minute documentary on the preparations for the show. Once
again, Rhino's created another excellent DVD production for
Peter Gabriel, the theatrical frontman extraordinaire
originally from the progressive band Genesis, has always had a
flair for the avant-garde merger of visuals and music. After he
left Genesis, he embarked on a highly successful solo career
that spawned many hits and fan favorites. During the MTV era, he
was widely known for producing cutting edge videos that
entertained so well that you often saw the visuals in your mind
when you later heard the tune.
Warner Music and Gabriel's production team have put together a
fantastic array of Gabriel videos for this DVD - some 23 in all
spanning 25 years - including classic signature songs like Sledgehammer,
Games Without Frontiers,
Shock the Monkey, Solsbury
Hill (my favorite) and In
Your Eyes, as well as more recent songs like Lovetown,
Growing Up and The
Barry Williams Show. Some of these videos you're
likely not to have seen before, and it's a pretty the complete
are great extras as well. With a programmable feature, you'll be
able to choose up to 18 of your favorite songs to create a playlist
for straight-thru play or looping. Other extras include a reworked
Games Without Frontiers, live
clips, introductions to many of the videos by Gabriel (some
featuring vintage footage) and trailers for other Gabriel DVDs. The
videos are presented in their original aspect ratios (some full
frame and some anamorphic widescreen), and audio is available in
96/24 DTS 5.1, Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 Stereo. The new DTS 96/24
mix was produced by Daniel Lanois and Richard Chappell, and it's
absolutely outstanding - definitely the preferred audio selection
This is a stunning music DVD in virtually every way. Not only do
you get great and innovative Gabriel videos, but the sound,
especially the DTS, is beyond words. It's all slip-cased into a
digipak and includes a beautifully designed, full-color, 24-page
booklet with lots of photos and which leaves nothing out in terms of
details for each track. All that and the menus are cool too. Where
else are you going to get such love and joy? Very recommended.
Clapton: Crossroads Guitar Festival
This concert, recorded live at The Cotton Bowl in Dallas,
Texas, is 2 DVDs worth of Clapton, with the likes of JJ Cale, BB
King, Joe Walsh, John McLaughlin, Robert Cray, Santana and lots
more. The set kicks off with a barrage of introductory comments
by many of the artists found here, but when Clapton takes to the
stage with a rousing rendition of Cocaine,
you know that you're in for a treat.
This 34-song blues-fest (some 210-minutes of music and
observations) will be a constant companion for your DVD player.
The video quality is fantastic, and the audio options include
DTS 5.1, Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 Stereo mixes that will please
even the most hard to please.
Within the expanse of these two discs, you'll hear such
classics as I Shot The Sheriff
and Have You Ever Loved a Woman
by Eric Clapton, Rocky Mountain Way
by Joe Walsh, Steamroller
by James Taylor, I'm the Hell Outta
Here by Steve Vai (the Devil's protege in Crossroads
for you movie buffs), After Midnight
by JJ Cale (with Eric Clapton) and Tush
by ZZ Top. Mere appetizers.
include a photo gallery and in-depth artist interviews. The
packaging features an Amaray slipcased in a cardboard sleeve. The
discs sit in a split tray that allows both discs to lay one over the
other. The set also includes a fold-out booklet that details the
songs and the cause (a fund-raising event to help Crossroads Centre,
an abuse rehabilitation program founded by Clapton).
You can't go wrong with this concert footage. No way!
Rock 'n Roll would be incomplete without the many talents that
contributed to its mystique outside the realm of just the music.
No one occupies that space more deservedly and more
confrontationally than the creator of Gonzo journalism, Dr.
Hunter S. Thompson. Thompson, as some of you may know, was the
subject of Terry Gilliam's surreal Fear
and Loathing in Las Vegas, based on his book of the
same name and starring Johnny Depp and Benicio Del Toro.
This 91-minute documentary is a "stitched together"
span of accumulated film and video segments gathered since
Thompson's emergence into the pop consciousness of the 1970s.
The Doctor has always embodied the outer periphery of our times,
with all the wit and insight afforded a man of such unique
vision. Employed by Rolling Stone's
Jann Wenner to chronicle the political trail of 1972, Thompson
produced a collection of stories published as Fear
and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72, which gave
voice to a generation of politically aware young adults.
You'll watch as Thompson terrorizes Wenner, engages in various
seemingly anti-social behaviors and, best of all, attempts to
explain the sanity of his acts. You'll also visit Ralph
Steadman, Thompson's choice for the artist that best captures
his visual thoughts.
to the DVD include PJ O'Rourke's reading of the rare Screwjack,
more discussions with PJ (Thompson's Rolling
Stone political desk successor), a filmed editing of
several of Hunter's books, a warm lyrical discussion between the
Doctor and the late Warren Zevon, and more. This documentary is
presented on disc in its original full frame video, with Dolby
Digital 2.0 Stereo audio.
If you were previously aware of Thompson's influence and his sharp
humor and wit, then you'll fall in love with this revealing and
wonderful documentary. Thompson is the author of my favorite quote,
a quote that sums up life very well:
"But the ticket, take the ride."
This review is dedicated to the memory of Dan Williams, who shared
with me the love of the above quote.
Knack: Getting the Knack
For those that remember the high-flying song My
Sharona, the hit that was inspired by the lust for an
actual woman, then this 110-minute documentary will be
revelatory. It deeply probes the beginnings of The Knack, makes
its comparisons and then lets us watch as the band (as the film
states) goes from 0 to 90 and then crash.
The doc is complete with a ton of photos and clips and a
running commentary of different personalities, most often the
original band members. As it moves along you'll see Sharona, the
cute girl that became immortalized by an awe-struck Fieger. You
also see footage that shows the band's power pop, delivered with
The Knack became a sort of iconoclastic band, helping to change
the world's musical view into New Wave. Los Angeles and the U.S.
needed big names to help offset the "as usual" inflow
of successful British talent. The Knack, for a time, provided
interesting tidbit here is the fact that the first Knack album cost
a mere $17,000 dollars to produce. It's fun to just listen to My
Sharona, which dominates this DVD, and allow yourself the
luxury of slipping back to a time when music was somewhat more
innocent than it is today. Visually, The Knack are reminiscent of
early Beatles, right down to the simplicity of the drum kit.
Video is full frame and audio is Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo. Extras
on this DVD include a new video of My
Sharona using footage from the 1979 recording session of
the song, a live Whisky film, acoustic Fieger, a drum demonstration,
raw rehearsal audio of My Sharona,
and a string of interviews that include the still hot Sharona.
If you were a fan (and who really wasn't?) you'll get everything
Knack you could possibly want in this package. Including Sharona.
Over the years, there have been a number of amazing and
historic concerts, all of them tremendous undertakings. One of
the early concerts designed to help the needy in other, less
fortunate lands was the incredible Concert
for Bangla Desh - the George Harrison aid vehicle to
help raise funds. There was a call for help which was answered
by the Rock giants of the time. But the Concert
for Bangla Desh pales in comparison to the immensity
of the Bob Geldof-led humanitarian effort the world has come to
know as Live Aid.
On July 13th, 1985, Geldof's clarion call of help for Africa
famine victims was answered by a large outpouring of musicians,
including many of the great bands of the time - more than 60 in
all. The day-long Live Aid
concert event was broadcast live on MTV and other networks
around the globe. The concert unfolded in two locations on two
separate continents (JFK Stadium in Philadelphia through the USA
for Africa contingency and Wembley Stadium in London spearheaded
by Geldof's Band Aid). Linked by the love of humanity, the music
world (and mankind as a whole) performed one of the greatest
miracles of unity and compassion to date.
4-disc release begins with the videos that set off this
extraordinary happening, Do They Know
It's Christmas and We Are the
World, along with a short BBC news piece on the famine
itself. The London half of the concert then commences with Status
Quo preforming Rockin' All Over the World.
A very apt beginning.
As the day progressed, the Philadelphia program joined as well, and
we were treated to more than 10 hours of some of the best music of
the early 1980s, featuring remarkable performances by David Bowie,
Sting, Elvis Costello, Queen, Elton John, U2, The Who, Madonna, Dire
Straits, Adam Ant, Hall & Oats, Sade, The Cars, Eric Clapton,
Duran Duran, Billy Joel, Simple Minds, Neil Young, Santana, The
Pretenders and many, many more. We even saw a reunited Led Zeppelin
This collection is presented in a gate-fold digipak with a
slip-case. The contents of the discs are displayed in their original
full frame TV presentation, with available audio choices of DTS 5.1,
Dolby Digital 5.1 and Stereo 2.0. It's important to keep in mind
that both the video and audio quality are a bit mixed. The concert
was originally not intended to be recorded for legal reasons.
Luckily, both the U.K. and U.S. crews largely ignored the
restriction. Unfortunately, some performances were still lost a
variety of technical reasons. In addition, some of the U.K. footage
features horizontal banding (known as microphony) due to the 1980s
tube cameras being affected by the loud volume of the stadium
amplification. Given all this, however, what you do get here is
pretty remarkable - some 10 hours of extraordinary music.
In addition to the concert itself, there are a smattering of extras
that help to value this set even further. A number of performances
that weren't broadcast on the day have been restored for this DVD,
and there are several additional performances included here that
didn't take place during the Live Aid event, but which were
dedicated to the cause nonetheless (these include sets by Run DMC
and others). There's a documentary on how the concert succeeded in
raising aid money and what the result of that was. There's also a
booklet that lists all the songs, provides background notes on the
event and the foundation and even includes some behind-the-scenes
It's also important to mention here that the proceeds from this DVD
will funnel into the coffers of the Band Aid Trust that, to date,
has spent over $144 million to help relieve the famines in Africa.
Great music, great memories, great cause. I was transported. You
will be too. Live Aid
absolutely demands a place on your music DVD shelf.
Last time, I promised to look at Roxy Music and John Entwhistle
DVDs. I was just so overwhelmed with the titles that I presented
here that I've "pushed" them over to the next installment.
Which, incidentally, will be available in a few weeks BECAUSE there
are so many more music titles to get through. Of those, I expect to
look at new DVD releases by David Byrne, CSN, Ray Charles, John
Lennon, Godsmack, Jimmy Page/Robert Plant and few others as well.
Until next time...