Welcome to the musical meandering insights of Aaron Joy. Here you'll find 600 reviews of CDs & DVDs of rock & metal in all its variations, mainstream & indie. What they all share is that the album or band is unique in some way & not every submission was reviewed. Please share these reviews or link to them if you like what you read. Reviews are no longer being posted here but feel free to e-mail Aaron & post comments. (Formerly the Roman Midnight Music Blog)

Sunday, October 28, 2012

DVD: 60's Pop Rock Reunion Live! (comp)

(No official website.)
Style: classic rock, pop rock
Label: Time Life/Eagle Vision
Year: 2004
Home: n/a

Concert location: Cleveland, Ohio
Year Recorded: 2003
Length: 82 minutes
Bonus Features: "Upstage With The Artists" interviews with Mark Lindsay, Gary Lewis, Chad & Jeremy, Rob Grill, Tommy James & Carl Ciammarese of the Buckinghams

Members: Herman's Hermits starring Peter Noone, Tommy James & The Shondells, Mark Lindsay, The Buckinghams, Gary Lewis & The Playboys, Chad & Jeremy, The Grass Roots ~ n/a
Norm N. Nite ~ MC


Originally broadcast on PBS, this live concert shares the music of back when three chord songs rocked & didn't mean punk or hard rock or heavy metal. Some of these performers have been performing steady since their name faded from the Billboard, while others retired to come back for the popular reunion circuit. One would like to say its obviously which have grown old gracefully & which should retire again, but that would be splitting hairs & even being mean. Yes, there's a nostalgia vibe ... as the Buckinghams say "Our most recent hit record, it was 1968" ... yes almost everyone is trying to look updated with leather pants, yes its a mix of session musicians & only a few members of the original bands such as the Shondells & Playboys, yes some voices are older & not so strong, yes in the modern age of performance just standing on stage seems strange & unenthused ... but there's a reason these folks are gathered to perform together & its because of the songs. The songs are classic & classic for a reason & hold up to the test of time without issue & nobody is going to perform them like originally, so this is the next best thing. The visuals might be nostalgic but the music is as great as ever & that's what this is all about. The weak moments are more than made up for. You'll be digging around on wikipedia to find out where all these folks have been over the decades, for sure, let alone pulling out your old albums. This concert isn't about trying to recreate the past or introduce new music by old bands or old music to new fans, but just enjoy the great old songs. Tommy James puts in the guitar rock moment & its obvious he's been on the circuit non-stop as "Draggin The Line" & "Crystal Blue Persuation" have modern arrangement with distorted electric guitar solos. He also might be the most relaxed of anyone, as there's no sense of comeback reunion in his manner but just doing what he always did, so what's the big deal about? He also comes across as the rocker in a midst of singers. Mark Lindsay of Paul Revere & The Raiders, might not be remembered outside the band he helped form, though he had many solo albums under his own name. Retired & now back to performing he puts in a fun couple songs with the classic hits moniker landing at home with "Kicks" & "Indian Reservation". With a tall lanky frame, dark hair & even a costume change he might have the best stage look. Ironically, "Indian Reservation" was recorded for his solo album & then released as Paul Revere & The Raiders ... so really you do know his solo career. The Buckinghams, looking very Donny Osmond in business suits which is not much farther from their original look, are the most pop & slick putting in a relaxing moment. The Buckinghams was the first Chicago band to feature horns, with their producer going ont to produce the band Chicago Transit Authority. Gary Lewis & The Playboys, here a session backing band, puts in the roughtest performance partially looking odd in all leather & with a shot voice. While his choice of "Green Grass" may not be the strongest song to compliment "This Diamond Ring", or anyways, I know some other songs more than that one. No, he doesn't look like his dad anymore. Of interest, he retired from performing & became a drum teacher. Chad & Jeremy was a band I couldn't remember until I heard them, here performing for the first time in over twenty years on just acoustic piano & nylon string guitar. Unglamorous in jeans & looking almost out of place, they put in the most intimate performance of the night. "A Summer Song" will nearly have you in tears. There's a reason they get a standing ovation. The Grass Roots, a band I've always liked, is an interesting group as its a collection of rotating musicians primarily doing the catalog of two songwriters who wrote for many other folks. Here its original bassist/songwriter Rob Grill, an excellent bassist by the way who died in 2011, joined by one of the many line-ups ... Grill is the only one who gets a literal spotlight. It's like Tommy James in the fact that you can tell the group never split up & you can tell. But, the songs are so good I was back checking out their old catalog. Of interest a brief Grill solo tour saw him opening for Fleetwood Mac on their Tusk tour. We all know the catchy memorable songs of Herman's Hermits with Peter Noone, now in leather pants but still looking young, but I found him the most disappointing. Perhaps the its the geeky look & funny faces. But, he's got the best line: "When the person singing on your right isn't singing, hit them ... let's get in the newspaper." Though, this is one of two Hermits. All the members of the original left leaving drummer Barry Whitwam keeping the band going as the sole original member. Noone would return to performing with his own Hermits, which this is, with all new faces. For the trivia buff, their "Something Good" was co-written by Carole King. Closes with Tommy James leading a a group take on "Mony Mony", like every group take its about the visuals. Many of these bands have performed together on the nostalgia circuit already, so bringing them all together both isn't so much of a startling fresh idea, but already being done. It just took someone to record it all. If you like the music it's well worth picking up. Bonus feature includes on stage intervierws that are very off-the-cuff & full of fascinating history. When Mark Lindsay is asked what he regrets - not seeing the Beatles or Stones or anyone live, as he was either on the road or recording all the time. Gary Lewis belays the fact that Leon Russell was his arranger & co-producer, let alone the inside scoop of timing hit records around Beatles hit records. The conversation, as expected, eventually turns to Gary's dad, Jerry. While Rob Grill of the Grass Roots is given a surprise visit from Peter Noone during his talk. While Chad says he wanted to do it one last time, though because of this special concert they would be far from doing something one last time but would continue to tour & record.

Track listing: Tommy James & The Shondells:
Draggin' The Line
Crystal Blue Persuation
Mony Mony
Crimson & Clover

Herman's Hermits starring Peter Noone:
I'm Into Something Good
I'm Henry VIII, I Am
There's A Kind Of Hush
Crimson & Clover

Mark Lindsay:
Indian Reservation (The Lament Of The Cherokee Reservation Indian)
Kicks

The Buckinghams:
Susan
Don't You Care
Kind Of A Drag

Gary Lewis & The Playboys:
Green Grass
This Diamond Ring

Chad & Jeremy:
A Summer Song
Yesterday's Gone

The Grass Roots:
Midnight Confessions
I'll Wait A Million Years
Let's Live For Today


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