California Classic Rock (1986)
"Thank you, music lovers! Thank you!"- Peter Noone
Stars: Canned Heat, The Chamber Brothers,War, Spirit, John Sebastian, Buffalo Springfield, Eric Burdon, Peter Noone
MPAA Rating: Not RatedRun Time: 00h:55m:02s
Release Date: 2005-03-29
DVD ReviewNow that the baby boom generation is full bore into the nostalgia business, we even get to get nostalgic about the nostalgia now. This DVD release offers a concert from twenty years ago, featuring performers whose moments in the spotlight came twenty years before that—their songs have since become the stuff of lite FM radio and soft drink commercials. But they're still pretty tuneful and worth a listen; this is music that goes down easy, even if the talent isn't of supernova status and the technical values here are wanting.
The title of the disc might be a little misleading; if you're looking for stuff from The Beach Boys or The Mamas and The Papas, perhaps the two signature groups of the California sound, you won't find them here. Instead, we're moving down the rock food chain just a little bit, for a concert that was held in the summer of 1986 in San Bernardino, featuring some aging rockers. Generally, they're in pretty good voice, but their wardrobe choices betray the historical moment: they tend to look very Crockett and Tubbs, with Peter Noone in a particularly unfortunate canary yellow suit with the sleeves rolled up. The shoot is pretty pedestrian; there are title cards and primitive wipes between the clips of the performers, and we never get a feel for the event, really.
On the bright side, the music is actually pretty good, if this is your thing. War doing Low Rider is a particular crowd pleaser—the audience in general seems to be grooving on the whole event—and it's a little odd to hear the Standells rip through Dirty Water while playing the Inland Empire. (When the name of the DVD is California Classic Rock, you're generally not expecting to hear about the river Charles.) There are some old reliables, like a reconstituted version of Buffalo Springfield telling us to stop, children, what's that sound? Less impressively, Eric Burdon's voice seems to be letting him down here, and he barks through yet another rendition of Misunderstood. And the show closes with Noone, who seems to be the de facto headliner, and not exactly the hardest rocking guy to come out of the 1960s. (He seems bored himself, and at one point even checks his watch.) The editing has compressed what must have been an hours-long event, as the sun sets rather abruptly about halfway through. Anyway, here's the full set list:
Canned Heat, Going Up the Country
Canned Heat, On The Road Again
The Chambers Brothers, Time Has come Today
War, Low Rider
Spirit, Nature's Way
Standells, Dirty Water
John Sebastian with N.R.B.Q, N.R.B.Q. Jam
Buffalo Springfield (Revisited), Hello Mr. Soul
Buffalo Springfield (Revisited), For What It's Worth
Eric Burdon, Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood
Eric Burdon, Don't Bring Me Down
Peter Noone, The End of the World
Peter Noone, Mrs. Brown You've Got a Lovely Daughter
Peter Noone, There's A Kind of Hush (All Over the World)
See you all Behind The Music some time.
Rating for Style: C+
Rating for Substance: B-
|Aspect Ratio||1.33:1 - Full Frame|
|Original Aspect Ratio||yes|
Image Transfer Review: Shot on video and not made to last, the feature has a ghastly amount of contrast and very poor resolution.
Image Transfer Grade: C-
Audio Transfer Review: There are some awful balance problems on both available audio tracks; the lead singer for Canned Heat suffers especially, as he's just about impossible to hear over the overamped bass. It certainly seems as if very little effort went into the technical preparation of this DVD.
Audio Transfer Grade: C-
Disc ExtrasFull Motion menu with music
Music/Song Access with 16 cues and remote access
Extras Review: Only chapter stops.
Extras Grade: D-
Final CommentsAn hour of second-tier hits from the 1960s; worth a spin if you really need to relive the magic.
Jon Danziger 2005-04-21