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page added: 6/23/04

TAPNotes by Matt Rowe

6/23/04 - TAPNotes by Matt Rowe

I am so bloody embarrassed. I present a new column and what do I do? I just plain disappear, that's what I did. The important thing is that I'm back, and so intend to be back more regularly. It's why they call it a column, right? In my absence, I've dug out a few oldies that I thought that you'd be interested in as well as some upcoming and current releases. And they're lots of fun.

Just FYI, all titles reviewed in TAPNotes can be ordered from by clicking on the cover art (as always, doing so supports The Digital Bits).

The Doors of the 21st Century: L.A. Woman Live The Doors of the 21st Century: L.A. Woman Live

This controversial reunion of originals Ray Manzarek and Robby Krieger, with Cult's vocalist extraordinaire, Ian Astbury, and drummer Ty Dennis created a lively discussion among fans, culminating in the usual "Is it real or is it Memorex?" question. In this DVD issue, you get to search your heart to see if this band should be on the road... or not. There is the full complement of Doors songs occasionally sandwiched by explanations, like the humorous reasonings for LSD usage and the need for spirituality that comes after Break on Through to the Other Side. I'll divorce my own thoughts on this formation and say that this DVD completes the experience for people who have seen this version of The Doors and want a document for the keeping. The music is top-notch and, coupled with Cult-sounding vocals (duh) and 60s acid-drenched visuals, this DVD works. The old-timers haven't lost it. Most of your favorite songs are here along with a chilling version of Riders on the Storm. The rest of the DVD is rounded out by a stills gallery, song selection and stunning DTS 5.1 audio along with Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0.

The Cult: Live Cult - Music Without Fear The Cult: Live Cult - Music Without Fear

Although Ian Astbury is presently with D21C (see The Doors above), his heart and soul lies firmly within the confines of The Cult. With the Cult, Astbury gets to be himself, and here he makes a fine show of it. Performing with Billy Duffy and Matt Sorum (presently of Velvet Revolver), this 17-song live set at The Grand Olympic Auditorium shows you just why fans love this band. Energetic and full of good stuff, this DVD serves as a reminder of great rock. The disc serves up DTS 5.1 and Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 audio. This DVD also has a Behind the Scenes featurette that shows a brief look at the evolution of the show, and made me miss my days as a promoter. I can't recommend this one enough. And if you're a Cult fan, but came on the scene with their Electric album (Love Removal Machine), jump back a space and pick up their Love album as well. It enjoys permanent residence on my IPod.

Show: A Night in the Life of Matchbox Twenty Show: A Night in the Life of Matchbox Twenty

This 2-disc set contains a 2003 show recorded at the Philips Arena that is, simply put, worth the price all by itself. With 20 songs, including fan favorites Push and 3AM, as well as a time-blend of their other songs (no Rest Stop, boo-hoo), the first disc is a great time spent. But I did say 2-disc, right?. The second disc is complete with a documentary, Tour!, that spins through the band's experiences on the road. Also on Disc Two is a standard photo gallery, multi-angle renditions of Soul and Bright Lights, and complete lyrics that scroll... fast (you'll want to use the 'pause' button on your remote a lot). The sound is Dolby Digital 5.1 (no DTS - bummer) and 2.0. There's an Easter egg for you too, free of charge. On Disc One, highlight "Individual Songs" and press the right arrow. A red dot will appear on the bottom right of your screen. Press enter for a comedy routine. This is a satisfying DVD that, if you're a fan, could live in your player for several weeks before removal.

Saturday Night Live: 25 Years of Music Saturday Night Live: 25 Years of Music

This 5-volume box of Saturday Night Live's great years of musical guests is a dream issue that stands the test of time. Many of our great bands received first recognition from audiences on this show, and it's only fair that we recognize the necessity of this package. You'll find the set divided by musical timeframes and interspersed with comedy sketches - the format is familiar and somehow feels natural. As far as the musical acts, you'll run across the likes of Patti Smith, Elvis Costello, The Band, The Talking Heads, Duran Duran, Sting, The Pretenders, Tom Petty, R.E.M., Paul McCartney, Dave Matthews, U2 and scores of others. Surprisingly, this is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 surround. You won't regret picking up this nostalgic treasure box of music from 1975 to 2000, narrated by Chevy Chase and Lorne Michaels. There's a lot of segments here so historically rich and steeped in trivia that you'll find yourself spending serious quality time with this DVD. It's a beautiful thing.

Wishbone Ash: Classic Rock Legends Wishbone Ash: Classic Rock Legends

For fans of classic rock and Wishbone Ash, this DVD from Classic Rock Legends presents the second go-round of the band's original Mark I lineup. Culled from the tour that supported their second IRS Records release, Here to Hear, this DVD offers up 6 songs plus a medley of 5 more. The show is full screen only but the clarity is nice, making this set a plus for Wishbone Ash fans. Additionally, the label is a cool place to get discs from other 70s-era bands like Uriah Heep, Steeleye Span, Hawkwind and more. I chose this disc not only to present the label's cool classic rock bent, but also because I think Wishbone Ash is the finest of the classic rock bunch, highly under-rated and having the best of the guitar heroes in Andy Powell. For a complete listing of all Classic Rock has in DVD goodies, click here.

Go West: Kings of Wishful Thinking - Live Go West: Kings of Wishful Thinking - Live

80s singles band, Go West, released a flood of songs between 1985 and 2001, including some of the most popular stuff from the period. Songs like Call Me and We Close Our Eyes, as well as the popular King of Wishful Thinking, were among their strongest efforts stylistically. Angel Air from England has issued a pretty good live concert in this set, which contains 17 songs plus bonus features (song previews, an interview with Cox/Drummie and a history of Go West). This band always put on a great show, so I was pretty interested in the presentation. This DVD runs almost 3 hours and is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1. For nostalgic 80s/retro lovers, Angel Air also has a set of concert DVDs for Culture Club (Live at the Royal Albert Hall - The 20th Anniversary Concert), Colosseum (The Complete Reunion Concert - 1994) and Saxon (Rock Has Landed - It's Alive). There are other great titles as well, so let me point you over to the Angel Air website for a complete listing. Note that they also release concert CDs for 70s and 80s bands.

I want to close by telling video fans about the 5-6 music video packages that Universal has been releasing in greater numbers as time goes by. Some of their latest include ABC, Tears for Fears, Asia, and others. With a very nice price, they make for lots of fun viewing. Also, next edition I'll have a special treat for Pink Floyd fans. No, it's not the long awaited Pulse, but it's a surprise ne'ertheless.

Thus concludes my second edition of TAPNotes. I'll be back in a much shorter timeframe than the last, I promise. In the meantime, pick up a music DVD and enjoy great performances from your favorites. I hope that I've pointed you toward something you might interested in here. Additionally, if you have a suggestion for a great music DVD for review, let me know. I'm open to anything; just e-mail me at the link below. And if you're an issuer of music DVDs and would like me to consider reviewing one of your titles in this column, give me a holler.

Matt Rowe

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