Essential for Roxy Music and T. Rex fans
happydogpotatohead | New Orleans, LA USA | 07/21/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is something of an odd pairing, since the bands have little in common other than being lumped under the "glam" category by unperceptive music critics. This is, however, one of the few chances you'll get to see what a live T. Rex show might have been like in the Electric Warrior phase of the band. And it goes without saying that there isn't much footage of Roxy Music when Brian Eno was with the band. On that basis alone it's worth seeing.The T. Rex set is interesting because the five songs selected illustrate Bolan's rise and fall deftly. This may have been unintentional, but it's interesting. The set starts with "Jeepster" and "Life's A Gas," with the basic band from the "Electric Warrior" album. Marc Bolan is elfin, sexy, charming, and rocking, and it's not hard to see why he became a star based on this. Sure it's a little sloppy, but this is T. Rex, it's not like it's King Crimson (to use a contemporary). From the "Electric Warrior" songs, the DVD goes to "Ride a White Swan" and "Jewel," which features T. Rex during their transition from an acoustic hippy act to electric pop stars. No drum kit, just Mickey Finn on some percussion, and Bolan launches off on an ill-advised but funny guitar solo on Jewel. In spite of the sloppiness it's still engaging. The same can't be said of "20th Century Boy," which is downright depressing. Bolan looks sick and bloated, and worse still, seems to be posing and taking himself far too seriously as a Rock Star. The rest of the band looks drugged and unwell. It reminds the viewer that Bolan hit a bad period, and that "20th Century Boy" was one of the last of his singles to make any serious impact on the charts. A sad and disappointing finish to the T. Rex segment. The Roxy Music segment is nothing but great. For one thing, it's funny to see early Brian Eno. For the past 30 years or so Eno has painstakingly cultivated the image of the coolly intellectual sound scientist. Here, he's dressed like a gay toreador on acid, hops around the stage shaking his booty when he's not making outrageous noise on a synth, and wears more makeup than Tammy Faye Bakker. For the record, he has on the same outfit as on the inside cover of "For Your Pleasure," which is where most of the songs come from. The band is definitely on, and they tear through versions of "Do The Strand," "Re-Make/Re-Model," "In Every Dream Home A Heartache," and "Editions of You." It's hard to describe how good this is. Roxy replicates the songs admirably onstage. Ferry looks the perfect dandy, his white suit contrasting with the crude look of the club they're playing in, taking organ solos and doing a little mugging. Phil Manzanera burns on the guitar, jumping up and down as he plays, and as usual Andy MacKay varies between Ace Cannon/King Curtis wailing and Albert Ayler freakiness. The last two clips, "Virginia Plain," and "All I Want Is You" are from other shows. "Virginia Plain" seems slightly slower than the record and more restrained somehow, but still comes off well. "All I Want Is You" is from the band's "Country Life" album and features an Eno-less group, with Ferry much more suave and less frenetic in his fascist tank commander outfit and pencil-thin mustache. The song, however, is brilliantly performed and closes out the Roxy Music part of the DVD nicely.All in all I would say this is definitely worth it for the Roxy Music part of the program. The T. Rex part of the program suffers from the inclusion of "20th Century Boy," but then again, the rest of the T. Rex selections show Bolan and Co. at their most engaging. A worthwhile purchase especially if you are a fan of one or both of the bands. Its historical value is inarguable, and musically (especially with Roxy) it's great."
Great... but not enough
allismile0 | Washington, DC | 01/03/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I am a fan of both Roxy Music and T Rex (though if stranded there would not be a T rex album on the desert island with me) and this is a very fascinating document espcecially of Roxy music in their prime (early 70's) on a german music show called Musikladen.
There are five performances from T Rex, three singles: Ride a white swan, Jewel, and 20th century Boy; and two songs from Electric Warrior: Jeepster and Life's a Gas. Overall, the performances don't do much for me and I musch prefer the sterling studio versions, especially Ride a white swan and Life's a Gas seem rather sloppy.
Then there's the Roxy Music Part:
The first five performances are from the Roxy Music/For your Pleasure period (songs: Do the Strand, Editions of You, In every dream home a Heartache, Remake/Remodel, and Virginia Plain); while the last song is a-better-than-the-studio-verison of All I want is You from Country Life with half of the band dressed in glam military garb. It's fantastic fun to see Eno and Ferry on stage together in the intimate atmosphere of the show doing their thing, the performances are so exciting and lively (which I can't say is true for the Marc Bolan T Rex part except for 20th century boy).
My only gripe about this DVD is that for both bands there is only about 24 minutes for each (although I have no idea if that was all they had in their archives or not). But this is the only documentation available that I know of where you can see early Roxy Music in all their glory- it's great fun"
Good, but not enough, part II
Katranna | Potomac, MD USA | 02/26/2003
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Interestingly, while I agree with the overall evaluation of the DVD, I seem to hold hold completely opposite views with the reviewer before me on several points. I am also a fan of both T. Rex and Roxy Music (though I bought the DVD for the T.Rex videos). And while this DVD is nice, it really doesn't contain nearly enough footage, nor does it really show off the groups to their best advantage.Roxy Music comes off best in this, and I found the performances of Do The Strand, Editions of You and Remake/Remodel particularly captivating. I have, however, not seen any other Roxy Music taped performances, and thus have nothing to compare it against.For T. Rex, I would actually say that Ride a White Swan and Life's a Gas, along with Jeepster, are the highlights. The 20th Century Boy performance is one I found disappointing: both for sound and stage presence, it never impressed me, and is the video I watch the least. The rest of the performances are better, though I can see why one might not consider them "exciting:" they're fairly straight-forward renditions, and several had been taped at the same time, so there is no visual contrast between them. I, however, enjoy the low-key, scaled-down atmosphere of just the band in front of the camera, which I think works better here for T. Rex than for Roxy (mostly because Roxy's costumes, no matter how "exciting," clash with the simplicity of the set-up). And I think the efforts for a psychodelic feel on the T. Rex vids add a nice touch.I think I would have less complaints had the DVD been longer, though. For only 5, 6 performances per group, you want these to be cream of the crop, and when they're not all up to par, it leaves you feeling restless and slightly unsatisfied.In the end, the DVD is worth getting as long as you know what you're paying money for, and I definitely don't regret buying it, but I wouldn't put it on top of my shopping list. For T. Rex, get "Born to Boogie" instead, for Roxy Music--well, just get some other DVD first. Then, if you're sure, come back and pick this up."