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Bob Dylan: Dont Look Back Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Glimpses into the Heart of the Artist

Come gather 'round people and watch one of the greatest documentaries ever made.
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By the time Bob Dylan toured England in the Spring of 1965, he’d released five albums (two of which went platinum), scored a couple of number one hits, been covered by such luminaries as Joan Baez and The Byrds, written some of the greatest songs in popular music, and became the voice of a generation. Critics loved him, fans mobbed him, and journalists followed him about, asking him an endless supply of inane questions. Though he started out writing protest songs and was heavily involved in causes such as the anti-war movement and the civil rights movement, by this point

Black Stone Cherry: Thank You: Livin' Live, Birmingham, UK Review: An Enjoyable Performance in Spite of the Low Vocals

The concert was fun to watch but there were some issues listening to it.
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Recorded October 30, 2014 on their Magic Mountain tour, the four-man band from Kentucky brought their brand of hard southern rock to England. The concert featured 20 songs picked from each of their four studio albums. The show was high energy, featuring a straight-forward performance with a minimal amount of visual effects and stage decoration. There’s a giant drop cloth behind the band with mountain scenery sketched on it. The only other extras on the stage are two short tables that the guitarists used to stand on giving them a little more elevation for the audience to be able to
Southern rockers Lynyrd Skynyrd had quite the homecoming this year. More than 50 years after Jacksonville teenagers Allen Collins, Gary Rossington, and Ronnie Van Zant formed their first band, My Backyard, Rossington brought the current incarnation of Lynyrd Skynyrd to Jacksonville’s Florida Theater. Over the course of two nights in April, they performed the band’s debut album and follow-up, (pronounced 'Lĕh-'nérd 'Skin-'nérd) and Second Helping, in their entirety for the first time. Although Rossington is the sole member to have played on those albums, the 2015 line-up does the music and former members proud with their faithful recreations. Playing both

Katy Perry: The Prismatic World Tour Live Blu-ray Review: Visually Impressive, Thematically Confusing

While the visual and the musical aspects of the concert were well done, there were a few things that were not so good.
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Capturing Katy Perry’s 2014/2015 concert tour recorded in Sydney, Australia last December, the show features seven different acts, nine costume changes, five hair changes, and a giant triangular stage that runs throughout the arena floor. Everything included is sixty tons of equipment requiring thirty trucks to transport. With everything needed to put on a show of this magnitude you would expect it to be an impressive performance, and visually it is. The giant triangle-shaped video screen behind the stage was crisp and clear as it projected various pictures and videos that went along with the different themes. During “Dark Horse”

Frank Zappa's Roxy: The Movie DVD Review: A Necessary Purchase for Any Zappa Fan

The Wait is Over: Frank Zappa and the Mothers legendary Roxy shows revisited.
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The concert film Roxy:The Movie starring Frank Zappa and the Mothers, filmed in 1973 during a three-night engagement at Sunset Strip’s 500-seat Roxy Theatre, captures Zappa at a pivotal point - post-hippiedom and pre-mainstream media attention for Valley Girl and the PMRC hearings. We’ve heard bits and pieces of these concerts before, in Roxy and Elsewhere and You Can't Do That on Stage Anymore, but an entire concert film escaped release due to a technical glitch at the time of recording. Forty-two years later, Roxy: The Movie has been released by Eagle Rock Entertainment, after some intense film and audio

Just Let Go: Lenny Kravitz Live Blu-ray Review: A Giant Directorial Miscue

It's very difficult to enjoy the presentation as a whole, which is a shame because the music is so good.
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In support of his tenth studio album, Strut, Lenny Kravitz has released a live concert film that was recorded over a three-month period during the European leg of his 2014 tour. While there are twelve songs on the disk, it does come across more as a documentary than a concert performance. Between songs and sometimes right in the middle of them, there are interviews with Kravitz and the band. It’s a strange combination because just as the viewer is getting into the songs the entire vibe changes as you listen to philosophical explanations of what music is, and how the

Jeff Lynne's ELO: Live in Hyde Park Blu-ray Review: So Good You Won't Get It out of Your Head

Highly recommend for ELO fans and the greatest-hits setlist would make a good introduction to those new to the band.
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Founding member Jeff Lynne was such an essential component to the massive success of Electric Light Orchestra throughout the '70s and '80s as the band's sole writer, arranger, and producer after fellow founder Roy Wood left during the making of their second album, ELO 2, it seems a tad redundant for him to be leading a band called Jeff Lynne's ELO. But setting aside whatever legal and/or ego entanglements may have been involved in that decision, Jeff Lynne's ELO headlined BBC Radio 2’s Festival in a Day in Hyde Park on September 14, 2014. Joined by keyboardist Richard Tandy, an

Album Review: The String Cheese Incident: Rhythm of the Road: Volume 2, Live in Las Vegas

Three hours of rock and roll jam for your listening pleasure.
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Arguably the first live rock and roll record was Got Live If You Want It! by The Rolling Stones. Released in England in 1965, it contained just six songs (interestingly all covers, no originals). Its sound is raw and ragged (it is said to have been recorded from a microphone hanging from the balcony though some overdubs were apparently added at some unknown point). Live music had been recorded before this of course, most famously by John Lomax in the 1930s who roamed the countryside recording local musicians. Fans were secretly recording rock concerts from pretty much the beginning and

George Strait: The Cowboy Rides Away: Live from AT&T Stadium DVD Review

What makes this concert stand out is that you can feel how truly special it is for all involved.
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Growing up, I always dreaded when my mom would put on her country music. She warned me that when I got older I would change my tune, and she couldn't have been more right. One of her favorites for as long as I can remember has been George Strait. When he announced his farewell tour, I hoped to go but his continued popularity denied me tickets. At least I was able to get the next best thing with the DVD release of his tour finale. The Cowboy Rides Away: Live from AT&T Stadium features a star-studded line-up including Vince Gill,

Van Morrison: Another Glorious Decade DVD Review: For Dedicated Fans Only

An informative, yet rather dull documentary about an transitive period in his career.
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In the summer of 1973 after a grueling tour and an emotionally devastating divorce, Van Morrison took a several-weeks vacation to Ireland. Living in America for the better part of the preceding decade, he’d not been to his homeland in about six years. Due to the Troubles, he was not even able to go to his actual home in Northern Ireland during the visit. It was during this emotionally distraught time that he wrote Veedon Fleece, his eighth studio album. Though it was an intensely personal album, it was critically panned at the time and sold quite poorly. Afterwards he

Aerosmith Rocks Donington 2014 Blu-ray Review: The Band Keeps A-Rollin'

You won't want to miss a thing once Aerosmith hits the stage.
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The Blu-ray for Aerosmith Rocks Donington 2014 takes the viewer straight into the main feature rather than offering the menu. This is quite apropos because once this June 15 headlining performance from the Download Festival begins with a raucous cover of "Train Kept A-Rollin'" the band keeps a rollin', reeling off 20 songs comprised of classic-rock staples, crossover pop hits, and a few deep cuts from across their impressive 40-plus career. Watching this performance, it's easy to forget the band members (vocals Steven Tyler, lead guitarist Joe Perry, drummer Joey Kramer, bassist Tom Hamilton, and rhythm guitarist Brad Whitford) are

Music from Love & Mercy Review: An Auditory Journey into the Mind of a Troubled Genius

The soundtrack reveals the good and bad in the life of Brian Wilson.
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The word "genius" gets thrown around a lot when referring to various musicians, but in the case of the Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson, it is genuinely appropriate. Of course, many musical geniuses tend to be troubled people and, in that regard, Wilson is no different. The movie Love & Mercy, which stars Paul Dano as the young Brian in his 1960s creative peak and John Cusack as the overmedicated, misdiagnosed “patient” of Dr. Eugene Landy, does an excellent job of showing both the highs and lows - and there are plenty of both - in Wilson’s life and career. Of

Heaven Adores You Blu-ray Review: As Personal as Elliot Smith's Music

The friends and family of Elliot Smith create a beautifully intimate film about his life and music.
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I wanted to watch and review Heaven Adores You, the new documentary about Elliot Smith, because I am a huge Elliot Smith fan. Though I cannot claim to have discovered Smith’s music off of a mixtape out of the Portland music scene, my connection to his music is still a deeply personal one. I believe that such a personal connection is a common thread among Elliot Smith fans, regardless how or when they discovered his music. When I heard the news that Elliot Smith had died, I was riding shotgun in my manager’s car. We were on our way to

Can't Stand Losing You: Surviving the Police DVD Review: An Inside Look at a Legendary Band

Based on Andy Summers' memoir, the documentary reveals the rise and demise of the defining 1980s band.
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When the Police ceased recording in 1984, rumors swirled as to the cause. Sting, Andy Summers, and Stewart Copeland became infamous for their constant fighting, sometimes ending up in fisticuffs (such as during a 1983 MTV interview with Martha Quinn). Summers and Copeland’s intense jealousy of Sting’s notoriety was cited as another factor. The new documentary Can’t Stand Losing You: Surviving the Police presents Summers’ side of the story, suggesting that the Police’s dissolution resulted from a multitude of complicated reasons. As hard on himself as on the other band members, Summers provides narration while archival footage as well as

Stray Cats: Live at Rockpalast DVD Review: A Great Live Concert DVD

Two amazing Stray Cats concerts from 1981 and 1983 recorded live in Germany.
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The American Rockabilly scene would not be what it is today without the influential music of the Stray Cats. Their rocking sound introduced a new generation to the sounds of the 1950s while helping change the 1980's music scene with their original sounds and songs. Stray Cats: Live at Rockpalast features two early Stray Cats concerts, both recorded in Germany in the early 1980s. The earlier concert footage is from Satrory-Sale Cologne on July 16th, 1981, and the later concert is from Open Air Loreley on August 20th,1983. This is the first time in over 30 years this concert footage

The Who: Live at Shea Stadium 1982 Blu-ray Review: Long Live Rock

If this was the only concert of the band on record, there'd be no doubt why they are rock 'n' roll legends.
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Reading up on The Who, it appears what was intended to be a tour in support of It's Hard became a farewell tour because of Pete Townshend's personal issues and the friction they contributed to between he and his bandmates Roger Daltrey and John Entwistle. Although they have reunited many times since, and Daltrey and Townshend, the last living original members, are currently touring in celebration of the band's 50th anniversary, it's fantastic to see this document of The Who still at the peak of their abilities. Taken from their October 13, 1982 performance, the second of a two-night stand

R.E.M. by MTV Blu-ray Review: Fables of the R.E.M. Construction

This should satisfy fans, most of whom likely already know the story, but it's great to hear it directly from the band members.
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Previously a part of the REMTV boxed set, the documentary R.E.M. by MTV is now available as a separate release on Blu-ray and DVD. It presents the history of the band through archival interviews and clips of news and performances, much of it, but not limited to, material from MTV. The band (Peter Buck, Mike Mills, Michael Stipe, and Bill Berry) and associates tell the story chronologically through interviews conducted over their decades-long run. The viewer witnesses R.E.M.'s career arc going from a cult favorite and critical darling to a force on the pop charts with hit songs and albums
It’s been nearly 20 years since Slash was a member of the heavy metal band Guns N’ Roses. Since then he’s put out multiple solo albums and was a founding member of the highly successful band, Velvet Revolver. But in this recent video release the legendary guitarist shows off his incredible chops over his entire musical history. And once again he has teamed up with an exceptional vocalist, Myles Kennedy, who has his own unique singing style and sounds like a cross between Axl Rose and Scott Weiland. Since Slash has been making his own solo albums for years now,

Grateful Dead Meet-Up at the Movies: Alpine Valley, WI - 07/19/89 Review

Live from Wisconsin, it's the Grateful Dead!
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Hosted by Fathom Events and Rhino Entertainment at theaters across the country, the fifth annual Grateful Dead Meet-Up at the Movies presented the band's performance at Alpine Valley, Wisconsin on July 19, 1989, the third concert of a three-night stand. The line-up featured guitarist Jerry Garcia, drummers Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann, bassist Phil Lesh, keyboardist Brent Mydland, and guitarist Bob Weir. They sounded in very fine form as one can tell from the bootleg available below. With the band celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2015, I would have thought interest in the band would be at a high point,

The Other Side of the Mirror: Bob Dylan at the Newport Folk Festival 1963-1965 Blu-ray Review

"I try my best/ to be just like I am/ but everybody wants you/ to be just like them." - "Maggie's Farm"
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Murray Lerner filmed the performances at the Newport Folk Festival in 1963, ’64, and ’65, and from those concerts created the Academy Award-nominated documentary Festival! One of the musicians who appeared at all three events was Bob Dylan, who went from an up-and-coming folk singer to a “there he went and good riddance” singer according to the reaction of some audience members. Back in 2007, Lerner released a film that focused just on Dylan titled The Other Side of the Mirror: Bob Dylan at the Newport Folk Festival. It serves as a great document of Dylan’s performances, though rather than

The Midnight Special Three-DVD Set Review: Relive Friday Night at Any Time

A great snapshot of a bygone era of entertainment.
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StarVista and Time Life have released another collection of clips of The Midnight Special, a late-night variety show that aired on NBC from 1972 to 1981, on three DVDs. To make things nice and confusing, there's no subtitle to help identify this set from other Midnight Special sets. As S. Edward Sousa described previously in his review of a six-disc release, which also had no subtitle, "The Midnight Special...was the Friday night follow-up to The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, packing a 90-minute time slot with the era's biggest names in rock, pop. and disco. Unlike its predecessors or competitors,

B.B. King: Live at Montreux 1993 Blu-ray Review: Let the Good Times Roll

B.B. reveals himself to be the consummate professional throughout the night.
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B.B. and his band had been frequent performers during the Montreux music festival’s long history. Over the course of 100 minutes, the viewer will see a master showman at work on a Blu-ray disc that is a worthy addition to any music library. Led by saxophonist Walter King, B.B.’s nephew, the band sounds good as they open the set with a few numbers on their own. Dressed in a turquoise dinner jacket with some type of Asian design on it, B.B. makes his entrance. He picks up his guitar Lucille and immediately makes her sing in the recognizable sweet, sweet

Album Review: The Cure: Three Imaginary Boys (Expanded and Remastered)

A good listen at "10:15 Saturday Night," or any other time you desire.
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In 2004, Rhino Records released a deluxe edition of The Cure’s first album, Three Imaginary Boys, which was previously only available in the U.S. as an import. What was their first U.S. release, Boys Don’t Cry, has eight songs from Three Imaginary Boys. Two other tracks from Boys Don’t Cry appear on the second disc and they happen to be two of the most popular from this early period, the title track and “Jumping Someone Else’s Train.” Disc one is their debut album in its entirety, clocking in at a meager 36 minutes. The songs are short, and the structure

Daryl Hall & John Oates: Live in Dublin DVD Review: 90 Minutes of Hits

Singles kings Hall & Oates are served well with this 2014 concert in Dublin.
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My connection to the music of Hall & Oates goes back a long way. I remember “She’s Gone” in 1973, “Sara Smile” in 1976, and so many more. I first saw them in concert in 1984, on the Big Bam Boom tour. Incredibly, it seemed as if they had peaked at that moment, after having one hell of a run. But those things come and go, with that incident now some 32 years ago. So what have they been up to since? Doesn't matter, does it? Hall & Oates is the brand, and classics such as “Maneater,” “Say It Isn’t
Shania: Still the One Live from Vegas captures the complete stage performance of Shania Twain from her two-year residency at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace that ended in December 2014. The 90-minute concert features 25 songs covering her biggest hits, country songs, and crossover favorites. I have always been a big fan of Shania with several of her CDs adorning my shelves but for some reason I've never considered seeing her live. Watching this has me very disappointed about that, especially missing this show in Las Vegas. The concert is visually stunning and would have been even better to experience

The Wrecking Crew Movie Review: A Musical History and a Labor of Love

Denny Tedesco's loving tribute to his father and the talented musicians who made up The Wrecking Crew.
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A few months back Marc Maron released an episode of his podcast, WTF, where he sat down with Denny Tedesco to talk about his project The Wrecking Crew. I listened to him talk to Maron about this documentary and I was intrigued and excited to see this film when it came out. I am happy to say I was not let down. The Wrecking Crew is not just a film about the group of ultra-talented musicians whose work you have heard over and over on some the biggest albums of all time, but it is Denny’s loving tribute to his

Come Together: A Beatles Tribute Documentary Review: Meet the Faux Beatles!

A Beatles documentary with a twist, the film pays homage to international tribute bands.
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At this very moment, a Beatles tribute band is likely playing a concert somewhere throughout the world. Over 8,000 groups worldwide regularly recreate the music and, occasionally, the exact image and accents of the Beatles. Come Together: A Beatles Tribute Documentary examines these tribute bands, which range geographically and even in gender. Hosted by John Lennon’s half-sister Julia Baird, the film interviews several musicians who earn a living imitating their idols. While interesting, Come Together provides little insight as to the benefits and pitfalls of such a career. Baird often appears in various locations throughout Liverpool, from the recreated Cavern

The Godfather LIVE Review: An Event You Shouldn't Refuse to See

With a live orchestra playing, it draws attention to Nino Rota's amazing soundtrack.
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While any chance to see the Francis Ford Coppola's award-winning masterpiece is a great treat, this LIVE presentation of The Godfather by CineConcerts was delightfully augmented by Nino Rota's classic score being performed on stage by the Hollywood Studio Symphony. The Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE was buzzing with excitement. Many attendees had their pictures taken in front of the stage before most the musicians were seated. I had a front row seat off to the left side of the theater. As it was set below the stage, my view was limited to a small porton of the orchestra and its

The Doors: Feast of Friends Blu-ray Review: Strange Days Revisited

A good meal for new fans; a familiar one for long-timers.
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Hitting the vaults once again, The Doors and Eagle Rock Entertainment have re-teamed for Feast of Friends, a short film the band self-produced about their life on the road while touring in the summer of 1968. Having only played at a few film festivals previously, this first official release of Feast of Friends (HD, 39 min) has been "restored from the original negative...color-corrected and cleaned in high definition with the soundtrack totally remixed and remastered by Bruce Botnick." The band's music has been paired with visuals of them in concert and between gigs, creating a longform document of those moments

The Rolling Stones: From the Vault - Hampton Coliseum (Live in 1981) Review: A Welcome Trip Back

Relive the last classic Stones era in this 1981 concert film.
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Recently released from the Rolling Stones archives, this show took place on Keith Richards’ 38th birthday on Dec 18, 1981. The first pay-per-view concert ever, it captures the band during their prime, in their last U.S. tour until 1989’s Steel Wheels. Eagle Rock Entertainment’s 2 CD/DVD set comes with a booklet with a blow-by-blow description of the show and still photos from the performance. In this day of instant video streaming, the thought of waiting patiently by your analog TV, suffering through the same preview a half-dozen times before the show went live, seems like medieval torture. And the waiting

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