Jim Kiefer | Cleveland, Ohio United States | 09/02/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Harry Chapin was always better as a live performer than as a studio recorder. The personal touch he added to the songs made them more heartfelt. I was fortunate enough to have seen Harry live at least 6 times. Therefore, it was with great joy that I slid this Disc into the DVD player, dimmed the lights, and drifted back in time. Most of what Chapin fans loved is on this disc. At last, the complete version of Corey's Coming is available on a digital medium. (Previously only available on "Legends of the Lost and Found", which was never released on CD) "Mail Order Annie" is beautifully done, and the rest of the set is well read. While "30,000 Pounds of Bananas" is cut short, (maybe the German audience wouldn't have understood the various endings) the rest of the included selections are quite good and the band is excellent as they always were. The only real glaring omission is Harry's self-professed favorite song, "A Better Place to Be", but if you included everything, this would have been a 3 hour concert, (as many of his live shows were).
All told, this is alot of what Harry Chapin fans have been waiting for. For those who want to go back and recapture the feeling of Harry live, it's a great trip back. For those who never had the pleasure, it's a nice sample of a great live performer."
Yes, the video quality is bad but Harry still sounds great
Lawrance M. Bernabo | The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota | 06/10/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This Harry Chapin concern was taped in Germany on April 12, 1977 as an episode of the German television music show "Rockpalast Live," shortly after the release of the double-album "Dance Band on the Titanic." That accounts for both the poor quality of the video and the selection of these particular fourteen songs:
"Dance Band on the Titanic"
"Six String Orchestra"
"Mail Order Annie"
"30,000 Pounds of Bananas"
"Cat's in the Cradle"
"Odd Man Job"
"I Wanna Learn a Love Song"
Actually only a couple of songs come from the "Dance Band on the Titanic" album, with five of the songs coming from the "Verities and Balderdash" album three from "Short Stories." Of course Chapin plays his most recognizable "hits," which are the few songs of his that got a lot of A.M. radio air play: "W.O.L.D.," "Taxi," and "Cat's in the Cradle." But long time fans will appreciate the chance to hear big John Wallace help out on "Mr. Tanner" and Harry's bittersweet love songs like "Mail Order Annie." The gem this time around would be the almost nine minute version of "Corey's Coming." The band consists of Chapin on acoustic guitar (and wearing a yellow shirt), Wallace on bass, brother Steve Chapin on keyboards, Doug Walker playing electric guitar, Howie Fields on drums, and Kim Scholes playing the cello. Of course everybody gets to join in on the fun with the sing along "Circle."
There is another Chapin concert out there, a PBS "Soundstage" concert released as "The Book of Chapin," but for Harry's fans any opportunity to see him perform again is worth the having. Even the strangeness of the German audience, who obviously have not already taken this music to heart, works because Harry makes a big effort to connect with them (but avoids doing the alternative endings on "30,000 Pounds of Bananas" because this audience is probably not going to get the jokes). But even if the video quality is suspect at times the audio is pretty good and that is what matters the most.
Harry was posthumously rewarded the Gold Medal of Freedom by Congress for his work fighting hunger in this country. He was something special and I still remembering hearing about the big LA radio station that played his song "What Made America Famous?" every hour during the 4th of July weekend the year I graduated high school. It is impossible to listen to any of his songs and not mourn the tragic accident that took him from us way too soon and to wonder about the dozen albums he would have put out between then and now and all the great songs we missed out on hearing. But we do have his excellent body of story songs and a few concert vidoes to remind us how great Harry was in concert."
Where's the audience?!!?
Brian | Ohio, United States | 05/22/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is a rough show to get through, but it has such wonderful moments that pop up that they make it worthwhile. For starters I know of no other place where you can find "Dance Band on the Titanic" and "Blues Man" live or "I Wanna Learn a Love Song" and "Corey's Coming" on film. The latter is the long concert version which I hadn't heard before.BUT the audio mixing isn't always the best with some bad backing vocals at time (perhaps just poorly mixed) and the video is grainy and for most of the show Harry's head is cut off on the top and when the song titles appear on the bottom they are often cut off as well. There are some moments where Harry sings to the camera which feels odd to me-I'm used to seeing him sing to all corners of the audience rather than right at the camera.Much of the humor is lost on the german audience. Harry doesn't treat them like germans and does his usual schtick which seems lost much of the time. "...Bananas" is interesting. It takes awhile for the audience to get into it and the extra endings aren't played.It is a very rare chance to see the man in action so it is worth the shortcomings but I think that the Soundstage concert is the best."
Memories are made of this!
Rosalind Leggatt | Burntisland, Fife Scotland | 09/09/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Despite the audience from hell this is a wonderful trip down memory lane for anyone who was fortunate enough to see the great man live. I saw him twice at the Glasgow Apollo and this DVD brought back warm memories that only Chapin live could give. Most of his classic tracks are here including my favourite, Mr Tanner but as I have previously stated the fact that he is "live" is the bonus factor. I had forgotten the warmth of the man on stage and the brilliance of his band and their on stage camaraderie. Every song is a story and I am not afraid to admit that I had tears in my eye's remebering the loss that Harry Chapin is to music. He has never been replaced so if you are a fan buy this, switch off the lights and go back to the concert venue that you last seen Harry and enjoy."