Category Archives: DVD Reviews

Def Leppard

vivahysteria1VIVA! Hysteria by Def Leppard (Frontiers Records)

A three-disc CD/DVD combo package features a full live recording of rocking out Def Leppard is something to blast real loud. Def Leppard dove into the classic-album in its entirety. They did this when they played an 11-date residency at the Hard Rock in Las Vegas. 1987’s Hysteria from start to finish with adding other classic hits to round it out the set. These Vegas gigs were also filmed for a limited edition theatrical release called Viva Hysteria.

On the CD, the first disc contains the full Hysteria album along with Rock of Ages and the band’s big hit Photograph. The second 15 tracks of deep cuts includes opening with the 1980 B-side Good Morning Freedom which is a great song to have live. The other 14 songs run though the bands other albums : On Through The Night and Pyromania. It’s actually quite endearing to hear this legendarily polished band reveal some humanity, since they sound so powerful throughout both sets. Def Leppard shows that glam rock is still at the band’s heart, which is why it still sounds so good when performed live. There’s no denying that Viva Hysteria is one for the fans.  Thanks Def Leppard for keeping us reminded of what the rock and roll scene was really like and will always be.

By: Jonathan D. Wright

Def Leppard on Facebook

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Less Than Jake

DVD ANTHOLOGY by Less Than Jake (Sleep It Off Records)

The Cure did it with their DVD called Trilogy. I am a big supporter of bands performing their albums in their entirety, as it’s a unique experience from both the band’s and their fans to enjoy. Oh sure Less Than Jake throw in some extra footage and couple extra songs on this four disc set. But here is a true way to really get to see the band function and play these CD in order. Less Than Jake played all six of their full-length albums from front to back over the course of six days at three different venues in their home state of Florida. Then the performances were documented on film. It may have taken awhile, but the shows are now available on the band’s new DVD set, Anthology. Enjoy and see how ska is really done and done well on here live.

(Review by Jonathan D. Wright)

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Megadeth

Rust in Peace Live CD/DVD by Megadeth (Shout! Factory)

If you were one of the lucky few that got to experience Rust In Peace Live at the Hollywood Palladium on March 31, 2010 then you know how insane the night was. If not, here is your chance to crank up the volume and attempt to create your own mosh pit. I was there, and the night was memorable, with Testament and Exodus digging deep into their catalogs for some thrash metal classics before Megadeth took the stage.

The audio and video documents of that night are superb, if truncated and edited versions of what really went down, with Megadeth opening with a few songs before crashing into Rust, then treating us with six more songs full of metal mayhem then ending the night with a reprise to Holy Wars. Regardless, the DVD gets into the band’s faces and fingers so all the guitarists out there can better examine the lightning fast picking of Dave Mustaine and Chris Broderick. Just study the soulful solo from Broderick during Tornado of Souls for proof of how brilliant he is.

Drummer Shawn Drover keeps the beat hard and precise and original bassist and co-founder David Ellefson is back in the fold! Mustaine is burying the hatchet with his oldest Mega-partner and the audience couldn’t be happier to see and hear the two together after all these years.

Fans that weren’t even born when Rust came out in 1990 are given ample reason to bang their heads to Megadeth’s music. They’re one of the most accessible heavy metal bands around, with catchy lyrics and choruses and astounding solos that weave in and out of the songs’ overall melodies. Mustaine’s lyrics are topical, political, violent and angry, but he’s always championing the metal masses. The music on Rust In Peace is timeless and some subjects just as relevant today, and all the songs are suitable to bang your heads to like maniacs.

Also included on the DVD is before show footage of the band practicing, sound checking and hanging out in their room and of the early arriving fans showing their love for Megadeth. I’d advise you to watch this footage before thrashing out to the main live footage, you’ll be pumped just seeing the fans going crazy!

(Review by Bret Miller)

Megadeth Official Homepage

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Reel Big Fish

reelbigliveinconLIVE IN CONCERT by REEL BIG FISH (Rock Ridge Music)

In an interview with Reel Big Fish I did before The Vans Warped Tour, I had mentioned to them about that the punk ska band New Found Glory having a cover record out. I had mentioned that Reel Big Fish should also put one out as well. We low and behold they did just do that!   It was called Fame Fortune And Fornication with covers done in the classic Reel Big Fish style.

With after putting out this CD now, out comes a live show tour DVD of the tour for The Fame Fortune And Fornication Tour. The DVD was recorded in the bands hometown of Anaheim, California.  Included with some of the bands best covers from The Fame Fortune And Fornication CD and songs from their past records. Some of the highlights of the 20 songs on here are Beer, She Has A Girlfriend Now, I Want Your Girlfriend, Another F U Song and of course the crowd singing along of the Ah Ha cover Take On Me.

This show was recordedREELBIGFISH 002 lr on January 4th 2009 in at a sold out show of 2500 people. This video shows you why Orange County California Reel Big Fish have been entertaining the punk and ska music scene for the past 15 years. I am sure after you see this concert live DVD you will have to find your own way of catching a live show with the band in your home state area venue.

At press time it was announced that Reel Big Fish will be on the entire 2010 Vans Warped Tour!  Go check them out!!!

(Review and band photo by Jonathan D. Wright)

Reel Big Fish on Myspace

Rock Ridge Music on Myspace

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Fountains Of Wayne

FountainsofWayneNO BETTER PLACE: LIVE IN CHICAGO by FOUNTAINS OF WAYNE (Shout Music)

Some people might think that this is where Material Issue left off but this band found it’s very own pop harmony alternative punk sound all on their own. Though recorded in 2005 the release of this came out in 2009. Fountains Of Wayne still have the original line up of Chris Collingwood guitar, Adam Schleesinger bass, Jody Proter guitars, Brian Young percussion and Steve M. Gold is on Keyboards. This five member piece are based out of Chicago. They make pop music look easy with the alternative and punk flares thrown in for good hooks and catchy melodies. This release marks for the band’s first ever live DVD. 

Of special interest is that they added some cool things that other live DVD shows don’t give. For example the sound is in 5.1 Surround Sound which puts you right into the theater venue as if you are the band and the attending audience all at the same time. The format is in widescreen format so your able to see the whole stage and wide shots of the full audiences. The career set includes punched up performances of the bands show biz hits including Hey Julie, Survival Car, Radiation Vibe, Denise, Sink To The Bottom and of course a newer cool version of Stacy’s Mom. But in this package of songs is also a very intricate five song acoustic set performance of the songs Joe Rey, Fire In The Canyon, Someone To Love, I-95 and It Must Be Summer. Though filmed in October this pop gem makes it feel like summer.

(Review by Jonathan D. Wright)

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Depeche Mode

THE DARK PROGRESSION DVD by DEPECHE MODE

depechemodeThis new unauthorized documentary focuses on the four albums of the band’s career that saw them conquer the United States, rise up the charts and at their biggest show of the 80’s, play to a sold out crowd of 65,000 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. Depeche Mode went on to become one of the biggest selling bands both on CD and on stage, living through dark times, drug use, soul searching, endless hours on the road and making some quite excellent music. Black Celebration was the beginning of the quartet’s ascension. This was the one where they experimented with samplers and found sounds, spurred on by the Industrial sounds coming out of Germany. People Are People combined Martin Gore’s intelligent lyrics with Dave Gahan’s sensual vocals and metallic percussion to create a distinct sound the likes that most hadn’t heard before. From there the band crafted Music For The Masses with Gore incorporating more guitar-like sounds and the band using the sound of a throbbing Porsche engine as the heartbeat for Stripped. About this time photographer-turned video director Anton Corbjin brought Depeche Mode into kids’ homes with his scenic presentations of the band out in the desert and these promos forced radio to take notice.

With the Masses tour culminating in their 101st and last show of the tour at the Rose Bowl and the D.A. Pennebaker directed documentary 101, Depeche Mode took a few years off before returning with a new producer and new take on their synths and samples style, opening up the mix to let Gahan’s vocals breathe and introducing Gore’s incredibly memorable guitar work as heard on Personal Jesus, Enjoy the Silence and Policy of Truth. With Alan Wilder’s intensive studio work crafting the songs into a pop sheen. The band again took to the road, playing stadiums as they broke the Billboard Top Ten. Another several year break followed with the band working hard to top the successes of Violator, searching for a direction. Digging deep into his soul, Gore wrote some of his best songs with Wilder stripping the demos down to their bare bones, to build Songs of Faith and Devotion from 1993, which included I Feel You, Walking in My Shoes and the biggest departure, the heavy gospel Condemnation.

The Dark Progression features interviews with Gahan, Gore and Wilder plus contemporaries and pioneers in their own right in OMD’s Andy McCluskey, Thomas Dolby and Gary Numan, all three obviously huge fans of DM. Producers, engineers and journalists, including DM biographer Jonathan Miller also give their testimonies and thoughts on the evolution and growth of the band.

Los Angeles-based KROQ has long supported DM and in 1990 17,000 people came to see the band at a Wherehouse Records store in West Hollywood, getting the band on the news. They were a true power now in pop culture. To bring everything kind of full circle almost twenty years from that event, thousands of people came to see Depeche Mode play in the middle of Sunset Blvd. for a free concert this April courtesy of former KROQ personality turned late night host Jimmy Kimmel. Depeche Mode’s new album Sounds of the Universe is proof that the band still has the fire that The Dark Progression documents.  (Review by Bret Miller)

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