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Product Reviews

7 (14% helpful)

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  1.  Big Brother needs watching


    This is a lengthy, thorough and engrossing portrait of one of the key San Francisco hippy outfits. Big Brother's reputation as a mediocre live band was largely undeserved, as many of the rare and fascinating full-song live performances here testify - especially their magnificent flowering at Monterey Pop, which broke Janis Joplin as a star and, ironically, triggered the fall of the band. Lengthy interviews with band members intercut the music, there's footage taken in the studio, plus psychedelic goodies in the extras. An essential purchase if you're into the 60s West Coast scene.

  2.  Too much of too little


    You had to be there to appreciate punk, or at least the 70s wave. The real talents in 'plug-in and blast' minimalist rock were the mid-and late-60s US garage outfits, like the Seeds. 70s punk may have unblocked rock's arteries but it didn't cause much of value to flow through them. Very few people, least of all in The Ramones, knew how to write a strong song. Playing something very loud and fast says nothing about power or commitment, let alone artistry. This is for Ramones fans only - anyone else tempted by this band's hype will be badly let down. There's about twenty minutes of good stuff here: just how often can you listen to the same song with a different title?

  3.  Not cool - just great


    The Eagles have never been a cool band - too smooth, too derivative, too commercial. So I was a bit resistant to this live dvd at first. The bad suits and council-haircuts didn't help - only bassist Tim Schmit looks like a proper rock star. (These things matter.) But there's no denying that these guys have written a lot of songs of real quality, while in the band and after the split - a mix of both features here. It's all impeccably performed, both by the four original Eagles and the superb backups. 'Lyin' Eyes' is as utterly seductive as ever, and they can rock out, too - their take on Don Henley's 'The Boys Of Summer' is stunning. Long set, excellent vibe from the Aussie crowd, flawlessly recorded and shot. Not every band has to be cool - turning in effortless, world-class entertainment is pretty ace too.

  4.  Best psychedelic revival gig ever


    The Electric Prunes' cult reputation has for forty years rested pretty much on just two tracks - 1966 smash single 'I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night)' and its nearly as ace follow-up 'Get Me To The World On Time'. True, these were two of the greatest psyche-pop singles of all time, but the band's albums were patchy and the original line-up lasted little more than a year. So when three key founding members reformed the Prunes and put out this 2002 live gig on dvd, I didn't expect a great deal. Wow, was I surprised! This is seriously excellent stuff. The Prunes are one of those rare bands who understand the power of the hypnotic riff, and this set stirs the ghosts of Cale-era Velvets and Syd's Floyd. (Yes, it really is that good.) The hits are highlights inevitably, but don't stand out nearly as much as you'd expect - the mix of old album tracks and new material more than holds its own. But it's the relentless power and ruthless panache with which the stuff is blasted at you that really thrills here. These guys make today's spindly little indy bands look and sound like school prefects sound-checking in the library. The Prunes radiate hippy attitude: in-your-face, anti-war, acid-fried.... big hair, excellent stetsons, handbands....all present and correct. The set (shortish, no encore) is drenched in studio-added psychedelic effects: they're very well done and add to the vibe, but if you like to study band members' interaction you might suck your teeth a bit amidst the technicolour chaos. Excellent sound and good extras too. Four stars for the music, a fifth for unreconstructed, unrepentent Sixties authority and cool.