A splendidly entertaining document of this seminal 'New Wave
Dave | United States | 02/18/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Although certain Cars fans favor the "Heartbeat City" era, I suspect that a high percentage of Cars lovers lean toward their first couple albums, from 1978 and '79 respectively, as their favorites. The concert performance contained herein was recorded for the German pop music series Musikladen in late 1978, and although The Cars received notoriously unflattering reviews from the British press on this European tour, every track is performed with a lot of energy and conviction anyway--it barely feels at all like they're merely going through the motions. The only time that technological primitiveness seems to be a problem is with the pompous, overloud syndrums at the beginning of "Good Times Roll"--the syndrums were kept in check on the studio version--and if this was the best they could do in a live setting, they should have just been smart & ditched them altogether instead of feeling the need to recreate the studio version so exactingly. As for the camera work, it's very tastefully done--Elliot Easton was a great lead guitarist and thankfully both he and synth player Greg Hawkes are given solid coverage so you can actually watch what they do. Hawkes' performance with various devices on "I'm In Touch With Your World" is impressive and highly amusing, plus it's interesting to see him switch to guitar making for a 3 guitar attack on "Take What You Want". Hawkes usually looks incredibly stiff and hopelessly nerdy on stage, but what the hell, it's pretty amusing--it's probably just what came naturally to him. Ben Orr had a total command on playing bass guitar, and he's in great voice here, plus he kind of serves as the "front man". Ric Ocasek's stage presence is ultra-collected--he never smiles or speaks to the audience (it's no surprise to learn that Ric hated touring)--and when matched with his confident performance, not to mention his sunglasses, it provides a certain mysteriousness which is quite fitting for a guy like Ocasek. The background vocals leave a little to be desired, but still, it's not a huge gripe. Don't come to this DVD expecting "Jurassic Park"-style sound & visuals--the sound quality, although mono, is real good sounding mono, and the picture quality is very good as well. Plus, there are no weak tracks in the entire concert. Although others have complained about the audio & picture quality, I must say I feel the lack of gloss and relative 'lo-fi'-ness to be a refreshing change of pace. If you prefer gloss and polish, then go listen to the Cars' studio albums.
In addition to the concert, you get a 40+ minute interview segment with all 5 Cars members together, and it's a major addition. Although there is a slight sense of awkwardness from time to time, Easton, Ocasek, and David Robinson are all in great spirit and display cool personalities that are impossible to dislike. Easton had long hoped for a Cars reunion and he's clearly delighted to be with his old band-mates again. And Ocasek once again comes across as mysterious yet with a solid dose of whimsy--he has a way of being amusingly evasive. Hawkes, true to form, is pretty quiet, as is Orr. It's obvious that they all knew Ben Orr was nearing the end, and indeed, he died just a few months or so after the interview took place--this probably had a lot to do with the idea of bringing the full band together one last time, but either way, I think it's really great that they did so before it was too late.
If you're a bonafide Cars fanatic, I can't imagine you'd think this is anything less than a supremely enjoyable DVD. Even medium-level fans ought to find it worthwhile."
Here is the song list I found
handle123 | New York | 08/03/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"1. Good Times Roll 2. Bye Bye Love 3. Nightspots 4. I'm In Touch With Your World 5. My Best Friend's Girl 6. Candy-O 7. You're All I've Got Tonight 8. Take What You Want 9. Since I Held You 10. Don't Cha Stop 11. Just What I Needed"
It's about time!
Paul H Scates | 01/17/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As a longtime fan of The Cars, I was very happy to see this DVD released. It's divided into two main segments, the 1979 German TV show performance and a very recent (this summer?) interview with all five members, sitting together and talking about the old times: interesting, and sometimes amusing, recollections of their early live dates, how they met one another, album cover art, how they never seemed to play into the whole "rock star" image and kept their feet on the ground and remained a Boston-based band. Sadly, Benjamin Orr appears very ill and weak, and therefore says the least. But he smiles quite a bit and offers some nice comments. As epected, Ric Ocasek seems to do a lot of the talking, although guitarist Elliot Easton really seems the most open, relaxed and talkative. They seem to genuinely enjoy being in each other's company again. Especially touching is Easton's claim that he was "very proud" of the work he - and the band did - and then he looks over to the other four and says "I'm very proud of these guys". For a band with an image/reputation as somewhat cold and aloof, this interview goes a long, long way to change that. The performance footage itself is great. Yes, a little rough. Not the best sound in the world, but their playing is energetic and great to watch, especially Easton, Orr and Hawkes. Ben Orr certainly had a wonderful stage presence. Dressed all in black leather with shaggy hair, sleepy eyes and all, he LOOKED like a cool rock bassist. Easton's guitar work is exceptional, especially on "My Best Friend's Girl", where he nails the solo (notes AND tone) from the recording. I recommend this DVD to anyone who was ever into The Cars...you'll really enjoy it."
Best Live Show Ever (in a cool, understated kind of way...)
tashcrash | South Shore, MA | 07/18/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I can't accurately explain why, but this is my all-time favorite recorded performance of any band ever - better than STOP MAKING SENSE, better than GIMME SHELTER, etc. It's just the presense of the Cars, circa 1979, that is somehow...hypnotic? Uncanny? I don't know. It's just that each member had a presence that was somehow so extremely different from the other, that each managed to work out their own, individual brand of appeal. I love the way Ric Ocasek wanders around indifferently (and dig those praying mantis sunglasses!), the way David Robinson plays the drums with a goofy-yet-precise rock n' roll manner, the way Greg Hawkes diplays his endearing, not-of-this-earth new wave preening (often directly at the camera), the way Elliot Easton tosses off his Kinks-like riffing (complete with eye squints, gaping mouth, and glossy stare), and the way Ben Orr (the greatest voice of the era and my sentimental favorite) exudes the ideal sensibility, a combination of arrogant swagger and artsy sensitivity. The Cars have unfortunately faded in reputation, yet this dvd monumentalizes all that was great about them, a group of great musicians who all brought something unique to the band, giving it a one-of-a-kind chemistry. As a humourous plus, the Musikladen audience seems every bit as "out there" and indifferent as Ocasek! Sure, the interview that is included on the disc is tinged with melancholy (especially when Ocasek pats the visibly ailing Orr on the shoulder...), yet it's an invaluable document. Let's hope Rhino continues to maintain the legacy of The Cars - they've done a stellar job so far."
A nice glimpse
tommy-tommy | USA | 09/04/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I have been a Cars fan since the early 80s, and The Cars are a band that sounds fresh every time one hears them. FM radio has beat the hell out of the early hits, but the albums themselves reveal all kinds of hidden jems (esp. "Heartbeat City" and, IMHO, "Door to Door.")
I wish I could tell you that I purchased this DVD for the performance, but I would be lying. I actually bought it for the interview segment with the band members, especially the late Benjamin Orr.
The live stuff is great sound-wise, but otherwise kinda boring. The classics are there, but aside from some occasional interaction between Ben Orr and Elliot Easton, it's not terribly exciting.
It is great to see the band members discuss making music during the interview, and despite his frail condition, Orr still contributed witty and insightful comments. Aside from a very nice write-up in Rolling Stone, I believe that rock music in general doesn't realize the talent that died with Ben Orr.
I would say this DVD is a great addition to any hard-core Cars fan's collection (I was happy to find it after years of looking). It is a nice glimpse into a band that was very original and was an integral part of the late 70s and early-to-mid-80s. The uninitiated Cars fan who knows only the stuff from "Heartbeat City" and "The Wedding Singer" soundtrack might wind up scratching his or her head, however.