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H. Siebert | Germany | 10/12/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Skin It Back
The appearance of Little Feat at the Grugahalle in Essen, Germany, in July of 1977 was unusual in more ways than one:
First there was Peter Ruechel, creator of the Rockpalast (Rock Palace), who was a long time fan of the band. A year earlier he had gone to a Rolling Stones concert in Stuttgart just to see Little Feat, who were the opening act. From then on he worked like crazy to arrange for their appearance at the Rockpalast. It was to happen during the first long RP night, and it was to be broadcast live all over Europe.
Then there were the local TV crews, who got their first experience in filming and broadcasting 3 rock concerts that went on all night long.
Little Feat's music seemed unusual to some, and they were relatively unknown in Europe, although they had reached a high point in their creativity in the USA. They were, and still are today, at their very best during live performances, and members of the Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin were often found among the concert goers.
Bootlegs, unauthorized live recordings, had flourished for years on the black market. So Little Feat decided to release an official live album, which was recorded in London and Washington, DC during the 7 shows after the historic Rockpalast appearance. The result was "Waiting for Columbus", by many fans and critics considered to be the best live rock album of all times, even though it was overdubbed in the studio later.
The Rockpalast concert is pure live Little Feat, as is breathtakingly evident on "Skin It Back". Although the VHS version, and later the 2000 DVD version with commentary from keyboardist Bill Payne and guitarist Paul Barrere circulated for years among fans, this new release is the one that really kicks! Both audio and video have been remastered for a listening pleasure beyond comparison.
As a bonus there is the 30 minute sound check from the afternoon of July 23, 1977, a real diamond in the rough with its seven tracks, including "Rock And Roll Doctor" which, unfortunately, didn't make it into the recording of the show. These tracks, known only to a few insiders, have been pulled from the holy grail of the Rockpalast to be enjoyed by all like a fine, rare wine.
30 minutes of bonus material might not sound like very much, but 30 minutes is a long time for a sound check. Cameras are everywhere, giving the viewer the feeling of being right there on stage with the band for the first Rockpalast night. It is obvious that the TV crew is testing their limits and that Little Feat themselves are having a great time.
Not a trace of the rumored tension between band members, except for one time during the show when Lowell George left the stage during "Day At The Dog Races" to demonstrate that the jazzy instrumental was not exactly his cup of tea.
Unlike the rest of the DVD, the bonus tracks have not been remastered, giving viewers the chance to experience this piece of rock history as it was originally recorded.
Kudos also to the extensive info in the liner notes, which includes a story by Peter Ruechel about his memories of the first Rockpalast night with Little Feat and many previously unpublished photos.
Little Feat "Skin It Back - Live At Rockpalast" is not just for die hard Featfans, but also a must-have for all friends of excellent, timeless rock music recorded by a band at the peak of their creativity.
Rockpalast '77 concert with bonus footage
Patrick Henry Lavery | 12/02/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is the same concert that was released a few years back, this time with a little more video clarity, better sound and outtakes from the rehearsals before the show. For diehard Feat fans, it's definitely worth having."
Scott Wilson | Tallahassee, FL USA | 11/04/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you are a fan of the band, this dvd is a must purchase. All things considered, its an excellent keepsake of the Feat circa 70's. This dvd was shot just before the recording of one of the greatest live albums ever, the Feat's Waitin for Columbus, so if you enjoyed (and still enjoy) that record, you'll really enjoy one of the few, if any, good quality audio/video representations of the Feat from that era. And its great to see Lowell George again - a true rock n roll giant."
Tallulah | Charlotte, NC | 05/21/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I ordered the DVD for my birthday and it was great. It took me back to a time that made me feel happy and free. I loved it!!!"