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MPI Home Video presents
"It's a badge of honor to be included in the world's largest memorabilia collection."
DVD ReviewIn the annals of cool jobs, Don Bernstine certainly seems to have one of the cooler ones. He's the Manager of Acquisitions for The Hard Rock Cafe, and in simple terms that means he pals around with rock stars and tries to entice them to give up some piece of rock history to be displayed at a Hard Rock property.
And in Hard Rock Treasures cameras follow Bernstine around to auctions, tour buses, goes backstage at concerts and into the homes of big name rockers as he gathers up iconic pieces of the past. He isn't called the "Indiana Jones" of rock for nothing, and while this disc is admittedly a bit fluffy around the edges, it does give rock fans a chance to sort of look behind the curtain into some of music's biggest names. And if nothing else it shows that they're often as much packrats as I am.
There's a veritable gaggle of famous rock faces who sit down with Bernstine spread across the 85-minute runtime—including Jimmy Page, Ian Paice, Dimebag Darrel Abbott, Rick Nielsen—and they all cough up some valuable mementos, toss out some anecdotes, and basically show off their own collections. There are tours of warehouses where bands like Aerosmith or Styx store their past tour goodies, but for me the most curious bits were when Bernstine would visit the home of a musician. Nice digs all the way around, but when he sat down with Black Sabbath's Tony Iommi I was fixated on the fact that Iommi has a couch with a flowery print. It just seemed weird to me on some strange level that the guitarist for Black Sabbath would have such a "normal" piece of furniture.
Bernstine also puts in a visit to the temperature-controlled Elvis Presley Archives, bids on Freddie Mercury's trousers at Christie's, and shows off the installation process of the rock memorabilia at a new Hard Rock in Detroit. There's a bit of supposed history on how the restaurant's whole hang-guitars-and-things-on-the-wall idea came about (hint: it was Eric Clapton), and it's stressed how every piece is authenticated before it can be displayed. As host, Bernstine comes off as a likeable, unassuming guy, and even though he's been in the rock game for a long game, he seems genuinely humbled to think that a legend like Jimmy Page knows who he is.
This wasn't as blatant a shill for the Hard Rock as I anticipated going in, though to be honest I now really have a desire to visit my local one in Chicago to look around, so maybe the pitch was just under my conscious radar. But for all the mentions of Hard Rock, the charm of this is the up-close visits with the musicians who hand over the clothes from this tour (B-52s Fred Schneider) or the car used in that video (Metallica's James Hetfield), because at the end of the day it offers a measurable, tangible connection to rock fans that goes beyond just the music.
This isn't a hard-hitting exposé, just a moderately lightweight but very watchable doc filled with famous musicians, interesting stories, and all sorts of items that have some significance in the world of rock music.
Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: B
Image Transfer Review: The 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen presentation sports bright colors, with pleasant, natural fleshtones. Some of the archival performance footage varies in quality, but the interview segments with Bernstine all look strong. There is some minor flicker in a few spots to mar an otherwise nice transfer.
Image Transfer Grade: B-
Audio Transfer Review: A pair of audio choices are available in 2.0 stereo or 5.1 Dolby Digital surround, and for what is largely an interview-driven title, the stereo track will provide a more than adequate delivery. The 5.1 mix, however, does offer a larger, wider feel to the music used as transitions and backgrounds, making the entire program sound noticeably fuller and deeper.
Audio Transfer Grade: B
Disc ExtrasStatic menu with music
Scene Access with 28 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
Extras Review: Extras include what are essentially three longform deleted scenes, in the form of A Visit with Dimebag Darrel and Vinnie Paul (16m:08s), Backstage with Slayer's Kerry King and Judas Priest (14m:27s) and Tour of the Hard Rock Vault (16m:03s). The Dimebag/Damage Plan material has a lot of what's already in the final cut, while the Slayer interview is altogether new. Likewise with the Bernstine tour of the Hard Rock warehouse, on what he calls an "average day at the toy store." Also included is an insert promo for the coffee table book Treasures of The Hard Rock Cafe.
The disc is cut into 28 chapters, with optional English subtitles.
Extras Grade: B-
Final CommentsRock fans will want to make this a rental at the very least. Very enjoyable stuff, and if nothing else, this makes me very jealous of Don Bernstine's job.
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