Rock Solid – DVD Edition
We review and rate the last ever Hanoi Rocks’ concert, Steve Vai showcasing his Where The Wild Things Are set, the Black Crowes recording their new album in front of an intimnate audience, Nirvana’s legendary Reading 1992 set and the return of US stadium rock megastars Creed.
Make your choice and take your chance…
It doesn’t seem possible that this landmark gig in the brief but brilliant career of grunge pioneers Nirvana took place 17 years ago. But the advance of technology and the clamour for all things Kurt meant 2009 was the year a suitable celebration of the Seattle stars’ standing emerged.
For anyone who owns one of the various bootleg copies of this sensational show it’s time to move on. In 5.1 surround surround and with enhanced images this might not be the raw Nirvana experience die-hards crave but it’s the best way to see and hear one of the most significant bands of the 20th century.
Aneurism, In Bloom, Come As You Are and Negative Creep are given a new lease of life thanks to the sound and vision revolution of the last five years but this is never too polished. Cobain and co. cut quite a dash as raucous rock rebels without a cause and this set is the definitive statement of Nirvana’s intent.
rushonrock rated: 8/10 The Reading Group
One of the most-hyped comebacks of the year is captured on neatly packaged and well produced DVD which lets the music do the talking. Extras are limited to a photo gallery and a rather uncomfortable reunion documentary which, for the most part, feels scripted and over rehearsed.
Whether Scott Stapp and his old mates really have rediscovered their spark – or simply an appetite for huge commercial success – remains to be seen but it’s impossible to find fault with an incredibly focused and watchable DVD.
Creed’s music may polarise rock fans the world over but there’s no doubting their ear for a good hard rock tune and anthems like My Sacrifice and Higher are delivered with unshakeable confidence in front of an army of adoring fans. If you’re looking for the ultimate audio visual experience this Christmas then this could be the film for you – just don’t expect any surprises.
rushonrock rated: 7/10 Creed Aim Higher
This could be the most intriguing rock DVD you see all year – perhaps even better than Maiden’s Flight 666 or the achingly amusing Anvil. Never ones to follow the norm, the Robertson bros. opted to record their latest double album, Before The Frost…Until The Freeze in front of an intimate, live audience and this is the visual record of a unique experience for band and fans alike.
An original version of Little Lizzie Mae and covers of Velvet Underground’s Oh Sweet Nuthin’ and Fred Neil’s Dolphins are the outstanding tracks exclusive to the Cabin fever DVD and are genuinely collectible extras. But as a whole this is an exceptionally rewarding package and a product which restores your faith in the values of good old fashioned rock music.
If you liked the Crowes’ new album you’ll love this. And if you like the thought of multi-million selling rock stars putting their reputations on the line you’ll love it even more.
rushonrock rated: 9/10 Crowes Spread Wings
Released as a CD and a DVD we suggested some time ago that the latter was the best way to appreciate the latest demonstration of Vai’s incredible artistry. It’s all very well listening to the maestro float across a succession of hand crafted fret boards but watching the way he does so is simply priceless.
Conceived, performed and produced by Vai this is one DVD where the word powertrip springs to mind. However, there’s little evidence of any overbearing ego as you watch the axeman dovetail perfectly with a hand picked band of fellow musos. Given licence to do whatever the hell he wants, Vai actually makes a point of allowing his band the room to impress and that’s why this is such a fascinating film.
The first half of the first disc is actually the best spread of tracks performed with the most vigour. Whether Vai and his colleagues relaxed after the initial rush of adrenaline is open to question but the energy and emotion so obvious on tracks like Now We Run, Tender Surrender and I’m Becoming dips ever so slightly as the show moves on. But it’s a minor criticism of a massively entertaining DVD.
rushonrock rated: 8/10 One Wild Night
Anyone who witnessed Mike Monroe and his buddies blaze a trail through British venues in 2008 will be fully prepared for the sleaze rock onslaught that is Buried Alive. Those unlucky enough to miss Hanoi’s bittersweet swansong will be blown away by just how good the band had become before their decision to split for good.
This is the band’s last show, filmed in front of an understandably emotional crowd, in their native Finland. And it’s absolutely mind blowing stuff.
From the off Tragedy strikes a painfully ironic note and more than two hours later you’re humming any number of Hanoi classics all given a typically glossy sheen by the ultimate showman Monroe. The 5.1 sound is a little more impressive than some occasionally shaky camera work but in a way that adds to the unique atmosphere generated by the Tavastia Club faithful.
The 12-minute ‘Last Week With Hanoi Rocks’ documentary is a decent enough extra but rarely hints at the real reasons why such a talented and prolific act felt the need to call it a day. But they did and this is their breathtaking final hurrah.
rushonrock rated: 8/10 Get Your Rocks On