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A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z Back to main page

Jethro TullJethro Tull
Around The World Live
(Eagle Rock)

Pulling together material from concerts throughout their career beginning at the Isle Of Wight Festival in 1970 and ending in Switzerland in 2005 (much of the material being previously unreleased). Packaged in a natty hardback book which contains photos from Ian Anderson's personal archive and notes on all the shows by Joel McIver. For most fans (especially those who already own the Live At Isle Of Wight Festival DVD) the real draw here will be the 1976 show from Tampa featuring what many consider to be the finest Tull line-up (Ian Anderson, Martin Barre, John Glascock, Barrimore Barlow and the demented gurning nutcase that is John Evans), and it doesn’t disappoint with the band clearly at the top of their game. The other enticing show is from Munich in 1980 but this is sadly more bootleg quality (although once again the band are in full flow, and it will be of interest to long term fans). Of the remaining discs (there are four in all), the three tracks from ’82 and ’86 leave you wishing for more and the show in Chile in 1996 is also well worth a look, although by then it is clear that Anderson is beginning to struggle with the higher ranges of his vocals. All together though this is a terrific package which no Tull fan will want to be without.
The Oracle

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Jane’s AddictionJane’s Addiction
Live Voodoo
(Eagle Vision)

Always one of those bands that polarise opinion – several folks in the office insist Jane’s are nothing more than a bog average rock band fronted by a preening oaf with a weedy voice who looks like Lionel Blair – and in truth Perry Farrell does a fair bit of preening here, decked out in what appears to be a net curtain and a baco-foil suit. This is however not aimed at such dreadful old fogeys but at long term JA fans who are dead keen to see the original line-up (including bass player Eric Avery) in full flow, which is exactly what you get here. Recorded in 2009 in New Orleans the vast majority of the set being drawn from the first two ‘classic line-up’ JA albums and featuring band classics such as ‘Stop!’, ‘Been Caught Stealing’ and ‘Jane Says’ (fifteen tracks in all including bonus cuts) and regardless what you think of Mr Farrell, the rest of the band – Avery, Dave Navarro and Stephen Perkins – whip up a fair old racket proving themselves rather more than ‘a bog average rock band’. Whilst unlikely to make any new converts Live Voodoo will certainly satisfy the faithful.
Ray Harper

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Daniel JohnstonDaniel Johnston
The Angel & Daniel Johnston: Live at the Union Chapel (Adjustable Productions)

The next time some idiot points at yodelling buffoons like Mariah Carey as an example of music with ‘soul’ feel free to look down your nose and tut at them in an offhand manner before pointing them towards this DVD, and if they can watch Daniel sing ‘Silly Love’ or ‘Grievances’ without filling up then they are heartless bastards of the first order and should be shunned. It's pretty true to say that due to the nature of his illness (Bipolar Disorder) catching Johnston live can be a hit and miss affair but this show certainly belongs firmly in the hit column as we find him playing alone and with support from admirers like James Yorkston and Adem, Brett Hartenbach and Johnston’s own band, filmed very sympathetically and from several, not always obvious, viewpoints. Occasionally this can be heartbreaking to watch as Johnston's skewed body mirrors his skewed songs and his palsied shaking makes Joe Cocker's flailing arms look positively static, but this is a genuinely moving show performed for a rapt and enthusiastic crowd. Bonus features include several extra solo tracks, rehearsal footage and a brief but very touching interview.
Ruby Palmer

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The Jim Jarmusch Collection Vol.2 The Jim Jarmusch Collection Vol.2
(Optimum Home Entertainment)

So why exactly do we have a box set of feature films on the music DVD pages? Well aside from the fact that Jarmusch’s films are very entertaining - albeit in a skewed, highly stylised way, punctuated with numerously languid panning shots, and Pinter-esque (often very funny) dialog and studded with long silent sections – it’s because of the high level of ‘muso’ involvement in the man’s projects. Let’s kick off with the soundtracks to the three films in this set, the first supplied by John Lurie (the Elvis themed, Mystery Train), Lurie incidentally also starred in JJ’s previous films Down By Law and Stranger Than Paradise, then we have Tom Waits (Night On Earth) who can also be found in Down By Law and Coffee And Cigarettes and finally Neil Young (Dead Man). But that’s not all, oh no, all three films feature cameos by musicians like Screaming Jay Hawkins, Rufus Thomas, Joe Strummer, Iggy Pop and Tom Waits (again). Of course being a great musician doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to be over endowed with acting chops (we love Joe Strummer but the lad can’t act for toffee), however all three films are eminently watchable, and great late night entertainment.
Josh Marks

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Quincy JonesQuincy Jones
50 Years In Music - Live At Montreux 1996 (Eagle)

Celebrating Jones' 50th year in the industry this show was staged, suitably enough, at Switzerland’s annual Jazz Festival with stars such as David Sanborn, Phil Collins, Chaka Khan and Mick Hucknall joining the man on stage alongside uber session band Greg Phillinganes, A. Ray Fuller, Nathan East, Steve Ferrone and Luis Conte (also featured is the Northern Illinois University Jazz Band). Q (to those close to him) is a conductor, record producer, musical arranger, trumpeter and probably one of the few people on the planet who can claim to have worked with both Michael Jackson and Frank Sinatra, he is also the most nominated Grammy artist in history and notches up several more levels of cool by introducing himself in French and English whilst cherry picking highlights from an astonishing career (from early big band hit ‘Kingfish’, via soundtrack classic’s like ‘In The Heat Of The Night’ and beyond). Sadly he doesn't pick up his horn during the concert as he was advised not to play after suffering a brain aneurysm twenty odd years previously, but this is a small complaint more than compensated for by the masterclass bonus lecture delivered to an avid audience included as a DVD extra.

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Jean Michel JarreJean Michel Jarre
Oxygene - 30th Anniversary 3D DVD (EMI)

Right first off let’s clear up a little confusion, yes this is a 30th Anniversary release, but no it is not simply a buffed up re-master of the old tracks, this is a brand new recording of the album – although you’d probably need to be a devoted fan to notice the difference – using proper old analogue kit (normal people who could care less what the hell something is played on look away now) like ARP 2500's, Mellotrons, Eminent 310's and of course Moog’s (Hoy! It’s all over, you can look back). So already a step up from the usual 'chuck in a few demo's and b-sides' approach, but where it gets really cool is he has also filmed himself and mates playing it in 3D! The DVD even comes with a couple of sets of those daft glasses and it’s a hoot (ooh, look at that knob sticking out, fnar fnar), although to be fair this reviewer got better results on his computer than on the old telly box. The whole performance has a relaxed ‘let’s set up the gear and do it here’ vibe and for those of you that can’t be bothered with gimmicks there's no need to use headache inducing specs as there's also a 2D version and a raft of extras like JMJ parping around on instruments like a delighted school-kid.

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Jethro TullJethro Tull
Live At Montreux 2003
(Eagle Rock)

Often overlooked in the great pantheon of classic rock acts formed in the late ‘60s, Jethro Tull, due in no small part to enigmatic front-man Ian Anderson, were always a magnificent live proposition, a reliably proggy album act, and despite having almost as many different line-ups as the Fall (well around twenty anyway, including appearances by Tony Iommi and Phil Collins), the core membership of Ian Anderson and guitarist Martin Barre – who replaced original guitarist Mick Abrahams - have remained intact since 1968. This show catches them live at the Montreux (not really a) Jazz Festival (anymore) and if the Anderson voice occasionally sounds a little reedy nowadays his breathy panting bug eyed flute style is still wonderfully present and correct - he also generally keeps both feet planted on the ground nowadays but to be fair the old ham is still pretty damn mobile. The generous set is roughly split into acoustic and electric halves, is peppered with classic Tull moments like 'Living In The Past', 'Fat Man', 'My God', 'Nothing Is Easy', 'Aqualung' and 'Locomotive Breath' and romps along in fine old style, Anderson’s between-song music hall banter delighting the crowd and staying just the right side of cheesy.

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Daniel JohnsonDaniel Johnson
The Devil And Daniel Johnson
(Tartan)

Ostensibly the same sort of movie as the recent fine documentary Derailroaded: Inside The Mind Of Larry Wildman Fischer – young man with fragile psyche makes music/art, heads for the bright lights and big city, tastes success, takes acid, goes bonkers – only in Johnson’s mind at least going bonkers is entirely attributable to demonic possession, possession which will lead him to chase old ladies out of windows, clang his manager with an iron bar and grab the keys from a flying aircraft (piloted by his father), chuck ‘em out the window and then do his level best to land nose first. Then there is Daniel the artist drawing his endearing, occasionally disturbing, cartoon figures and Daniel the musician, his songs fragile, lo-fi, off-kilter, lyrically see-sawing between insight and nonsense and, on the whole, altogether charming (quite unlike Fischer who only ever yelled a lot). The lasting impression you are left with however is sadness, both for his long suffering parents, and for Johnson himself when his aged parents are no longer there to look after him. It's only be a matter of time before Syd Barrett gets the same treatment, let’s hope it’s done with as much sensitivity and thoughtfulness as this wonderful film.

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Elton JohnElton John
Greatest Hits
(Mercury/Universal)

Some might argue that we need another Elton John DVD like we need a third term by George Dubya - don’t panic, it’s constitutionally impossible - the ubiquitous queen of pop, tantrums and vaguely embarrassing eye furniture (we found ten on Amazon in the first three minutes of looking). So why should this effort part you from your hard earned when the choice out there is positively dizzy making? Well for a kick off the sheer bloody volume of material is mighty impressive, including 2.5 hours worth of DVD material (live and video) and no less than thirty-four of his greatest hits - many of which qualify as the finest pop songs ever created - spread over a further two CD’s. The DVD in the main is a typically lavish effort filmed at Madison Square Garden for several million people (or whatever the capacity there is nowadays), with a truckload of special guests including Bryan Adams, Mary J Blige, Billy Joel and Ronan Keating and, given that the man is a consummate performer, trundles along very nicely thank you (and no he doesn’t play the hideous remake of Candle In The Wind). In short all the Elton John you are ever likely to need in one nifty set then

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Jethro TullJethro Tull
Nothing Is Easy
(Eagle Vision)

Built around the Tull’s live performance at the ailing end of the Isle Of Wight Festival when the money had run out, tensions were nearing breaking point and anarchy was breaking out beyond the fence (all of which is documented here). It’s often forgotten just what an astonishing showman Ian Anderson was (especially in these days of mundane standing stones like Oasis), throwing wild shapes, gesticulating wildly and flourishing his flute like a phallic silver baton. It should also be noted he can really play that phallic silver baton, wrenching all manner of weird, wired and wonderful noises from it – in fact the whole band are pretty damn hot, something that a lot of these newly exhumed old performances are proving wasn’t always the case back in the day where live inaccuracies became horribly clear and mistakes grimace inducingly amplified. Of course there’s a drum solo, a staple of this era – thank you Ginger Baker - that has fortunately fallen out of favour (having said that Clive Bunker is an exceptionally fine drummer). If there is a downside it’s the paucity of songs (seven only), but they are elongated efforts and the additional, reasonably frank interview with Ian Anderson, rounds things off nicely.

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Elton John

Elton John
To Russia With Elton - Silver Anniversary Edition
(Carlton Visual Entertainment)

In 1979 Elton John became the first western pop act to play Soviet Russia, and this newly re-released recording of the Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) show held behind the Iron Curtain, and the stripped down nature of the tour – Just ol’ Elt and percussionist Ray Cooper – prove the Elton John of the late seventies was no slouch on stage. Under the production and direction helm of Ian La Frenais and Dick Clement (of Porridge and Auf Wiedersehen Pet fame), Your Song, Daniel, Rocket Man, Candle In The Wind, and many more, receive impressively impassioned performances and are inter-cut with behind-the-scenes interviews, tour footage and personal insights. Ray Cooper could probably irritate for England should such a sport ever arise, but there’s little doubting his percussive skills, and on the closing Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting and Pinball Wizard medley the two performers belie the simply piano and percussion line-up and thunder along in a fine old stylee. Elton has since blotted his copy book in any number of tasteless and soulless ways but if you want to see why he became the world wide phenomenon he did then you could do far worse than spend an hour and a quarter in the company of To Russia With Elton.

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