Thursday, December 15, 2011
This year, Santa Claus has delivered a full bag of music DVDs just in time to become stocking stuffers for your crusty rock-crazed uncle or your niece who is taking a college course on the “History of American Music.” Here’s a look at five of the Weekly’s favorite new releases:
Some Girls: Live in Texas ’78
128 minutes, $14.98
Not quite as revelatory as last year’s Ladies & Gentlemen… The Rolling Stones, Some Girls Live in Texas ’78 still finds the band in fine form. Dressed in a white jacket and a patent red leather cap, Mick Jagger hints at the upcoming ’80s with his getup and dance moves. The charismatic vocalist also clearly enjoys interacting with Ronnie Wood onstage, at times slapping the guitarist’s hair and, at one point, grabbing his bandmate’s crotch.
The DVD is heavy on songs from Some Girls, which was at the top of the charts, including the eclectic “Shattered” and the country goof “Far Away Eyes,” where Jagger plays piano and Wood plays pedal steel as Keith Richards adds ragged, barroom backing vocals.
It all ends with a sped-up “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” that suggests someone in the band had been listening to some of the new punk rock coming out at the time.
Key Scene: A jammed-out take of the disco throb “Miss You,” where Jagger prances around the stage with a guitar while singing about Puerto Rican girls.
God Bless Ozzy Osbourne
135 minutes, $14.98
Produced by his wife Sharon and son Jack Osbourne, this 135-minute documentary on heavy metal icon Ozzy Osbourne focuses more on his transformation from a substance-abusing “Prince of Darkness” to a sober family man than on his music career. The film touches on well-known aspects of his life from his hardscrabble childhood in Birmingham, England to his early music career in the groundbreaking Black Sabbath and onward to his solo career with not much revealing new information.
Key Scene: Motley Crue drummer Tommy Lee describing a gross-out contest between the Crue’s Nikki Sixx and Osbourne. It is not for the squeamish.
Raw Power Live: In the Hands of the Fans
150 minutes, $14.96
Capturing a 2010 performance by a reunited Iggy and The Stooges at New York’s All Tomorrow’s Parties Music Festival, In the Hands of Fans finds the band revisiting their 1973 primal rock masterpiece Raw Power and other early Stooges tracks like “I Wanna Be Your Dog” and “1970 (I Feel Alright).” Through the 16-song set, which includes all of Raw Power, still charismatic 63-year-old frontman Iggy Pop writhes, stage dives and baptizes himself with gallons of bottled water.
The twist here is that six Iggy and The Stooges fans capture the action on film, which means the stage can be partially obscured by a forest of hands and there is plenty of cutting back and forth between shots. Still, it’s as good as any other way to witness live takes of gritty tracks like the bluesy “I Need Somebody.”
Key Scene: It’s hard to beat hearing guitarist James Williamson’s play on “Search and Destroy,” which has one of the best riffs in rock.
The Love We Make
94 minutes, $14.98
Having been on a plane preparing to leave a New York City airport on Sept. 11 as the World Trade Center was attacked, former Beatle Paul McCartney wanted to lend a hand after the tragedy. Co-directed by Albert Maysles, who also made the groundbreaking documentaries Gimme Shelter and Grey Gardens, The Love We Make follows McCartney around New York City as he prepares to be the headlining act at The Concert For New York City, a massive benefit concert featuring performances by David Bowie, Jay-Z, Elton John and more.
Thankfully, due in part to McCartney’s amiable personality, The Love We Make is not a downbeat film but rather a revealing look at one celebrity’s attempt to spread cheer in the city after the catastrophe. It’s also a glimpse into his interactions with musicians, politicians and journalists.
Key Scene: Though McCartney sounds great while performing Beatles classics like “Yesterday” and “Let It be” at The Concert for New York City, it’s a kick to watch him hang out with random celebrities like Steve Buscemi and Jim Carrey backstage. Best of all is a warm moment between the McCartney, James Taylor and former President Bill Clinton.
Willie Nelson Live at the U.S. Festival 1983
80 minutes, $14.98
Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak’s four-day U.S. Festival in 1983 included a “New Wave Day,” a “Heavy Metal Day,” a “Rock Day” and a “Country Day.” Country legend Willie Nelson headlined the Country Day with a loose 23-song set captured on this concert film. It includes the bandana-clad Nelson doing long exploratory jams on songs like “Stay All Night (Stay a Little Longer),” which would make Deadheads drool, as well as his jazzy ballads including “Funny How Time Slips Away.”
Fellow country outlaw Waylon Jennings joins Nelson for “Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys” and “Good Hearted Woman.”
Key Scene: The massive crowd claps along as Nelson performs “On the Road Again” with locomotive harmonica from his bandmate Mickey Raphael.