In no particular order, some of the best from this crazy year include:
RUSH: CLOCKWORK ANGELS TOUR – Holy Tom Sawyer! Rush with an eight-piece string section? Yes, and combined with over three hours of newly performed classics and deep album cuts, this DVD is a winner all the way from Vancouver to Halifax. Cool camera angles abound.
STEVIE NICKS: IN YOUR DREAMS – A terrific documentary on the making of her latest solo long player, which was issued earlier this year. If you want to know how Stevie writes, crafts and produces her material, then this is the “Wiccan way” to find out.
JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE: HEAR MY TRAIN A COMIN’ – How do they keep finding great unreleased performances from Jimi? This DVD boasts 13 unreleased performances from various sources including the infamous Miami Film Festival. There’s also rare footage from the concert in Germany that was the last show Hendrix ever performed before he joined the infamous “27 Club.”
METALLICA: THROUGH THE NEVER – Nimrod and Lars? This ambitious venture of combining cinema with live performances cost almost $20 million to make. It grossed less than $4 million in a limited theater run as the band counted on sales of this disc and the future tour revenues to make up the difference. The concert itself is rip-roaring (of course), and a great primer for old and new fans alike.
BIG STAR: NOTHING CAN HURT ME – As bittersweet as baker’s chocolate. This heartbreaking tale of the legendary Memphis power pop trio’s career is a must. Former Box Tops (The Letter, Cry Like a Baby) vocalist Alex Chilton’s early ’70s reinvention of rock should have sold millions – but it didn’t. This DVD tells why, and why not.
JOE BONAMASSA: AN ACOUSTIC EVENING AT THE VIENNA OPERA HOUSE AND TOUR DE FORCE – As anyone who witnessed Bonamassa’s mind-blowing show at the Bell last month can attest: this guy is unreal! Both DVDs are just marvelous in every way as they showcase his immense acoustic and electric skills. The Tour de Force set contains four DVDs and includes Sloe Gin, The Ballad of John Henry, and Joe’s blistering take on the late Gary Moore’s Midnight Blues.
NIRVANA: LIVE AND LOUD – OK, you can now throw away your old, worn-out VHS tape of this wild performance that features the band in its final, four-piece lineup. Happily, Kurt Cobain is in good spirits throughout the show as he and the band tear through Lithium, Come as you Are, Heart Shaped Box, and their oh-so-cool take on David Bowie’s The Man Who Sold the World.
PAUL MCCARTNEY AND WINGS: ROCKSHOW – Macca had not toured the states in 10 years when he visited in 1975 and 1976. The DVD features mostly solo and Wings numbers (Silly Love Songs, Let ’em In, Listen to What the Man Said) as well as a few Beatles numbers performed live for the first time (Lady Madonna, I’ve Just Seen a Face, Blackbird). Sure, Sir Paul’s voice is still good nowadays, but on this set it’s jaw-dropping in its range and versatility.
THE BEST OF FRIDAY’S: TV SERIES – This show was created in 1980 to compete with Saturday Night Live. Boasting a cool cast that included then-up-and-comers Michael Richards and Larry David, the show had some extremely edgy and outrageous moments. Guest hosts included Andy Kaufman Billy Crystal and even William Shatner. One-of-a kind performances from The Clash, The Cars and Devo are featured, too. It’s a good set to rent.
Happy Holidaze, everybody!