Randy Newman is best enjoyed in an intimate setting, so this 1983 performance at New York's Odeon nightclub finds the curmudgeonly Newman in his element. Whether he's playing popular favorites like "I Love L.A." and "Sho... more »rt People" or testing new material for a small, appreciative audience, Newman is a congenial performer whose skill as a composer is perfectly matched to his playful, deep-cutting lyrics and wry, often melancholy vocal style. It's no small task to sing edgy, provocative songs like "Rednecks" or the hilariously satirical "Political Science" and still maintain a warm connection to the listener, but Newman does just that, and his hospitality is extended to guest performers Linda Ronstadt and Ry Cooder, who enhance the rich emotions of Newman's music. Woodstock director Michael Lindsay-Hogg captures the relaxed mood of the one-hour set, and despite audible hiss on the 2- and 5.1-channel audio, this recording conveys the essence of Randy Newman at his best. --Jeff Shannon« less
"I recall when this came out on laser disc last decade and it was a charming, intimate performance of Newman in a New York club. I was thrilled to own the LD and hoped to see more of Newman in this format.
While the LD was the same length (I believe the entire performance should have been released), the quality of the laserdisc video and audio were superior in all aspects. Tape hiss was so minimal you could actually hear Newman hitting the sustain pedal. However, this DVD sounds like the audio was recorded in a tin can.
Rhino, what's going on here? I'm wondering if the Rhino engineers were sleeping on the job, but it's a shame they didn't get this one right. This lack of respect and concern suggests Rhino cared little about the historical significance of documenting Newman's live performances. After all this is the only video performance of his career in release today.
Come on Rhino, make amends, admit your mistake, reissue it and give a great performer like Newman the respect he deserves. Once again, this is another example of a DVD company releasing everything with so much expediency to "make a quick buck", the quality of the product suffers. "
Newman, same old Rand.
A Connolly | Finstock, Oxfordshire United Kingdom | 01/11/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Hate New York City. It's cold and it's damp. And all the people dress like monkeys." These are Randy Newman's opening lyrics as he plays to a packed New York club, in front of a bunch of New Yorkers. He goes on to tell them how much he loves LA. Of course, Newman wouldn't care if it were New York or New Year, he'd still find time for irony, potshots or just plain humour. And he does, regularly, in this vintage performance, in songs like 'Political Science', 'My Life is Good' and the matchless 'Rednecks'.
For those who are unsure, Randy Newman is, quite simply, one of the greatest songwriters ever. He came from a wealthy upbringing, gained a degree in music at University, and then took a job as part of the songwriting staff at a record label for a pittance. His voice was not considered good enough even to record demos and his songs rather off-key with the popular music of the early sixties.
Eventually, he made his breakthrough and caused a stir with his self-titled debut album, which included the quirky 'Linda' and the unrivalled disaster dirge 'I Think Its Going To Rain Today', both featured here. He went on to make more and more records, each time taking different musical influences and styles and making them his own. The most notable would be 'Good Old Boys' and 'Sail Away', two classics which are both well represented in this performance.
This show presents Newman at his flowing best. His live demeanour is engaging and warm to behold. His gags are delivered with the timing of an old pro, inevitably conjuring up Victor Borge and Tom Lehrer, but also the sincerity and awareness of his peer Loudon Wainwright III - possibly THE performing songwriter. The audience don't stop smiling because of it.
The guest appearances in the show are welcome, especially when Linda Ronstadt takes the mike for 'Texas Girl At The Funeral Of Her Father', although Ry Cooder's zombie-like delivery on 'Rider In The Rain' could have warranted a parental guidance certificate for the recording.
As the show unfolds, you see everything of Randy Newman that he wants you to see. His political concerns ('Christmas In Capetown'), his relationships ('Real Emotional Girl') and his constant awareness of how loneliness, religion, love and hate need eachother to exist ('God's Song', 'Baltimore' and 'I Think It's Going To Rain Today'). This makes the video worthy of bearing the man's name. It makes seemingly off-the-cuff ditties like 'Simon Smith And The Amazing Dancing Bear' resonate with all the meaning of any of the accepted standards.
This is Randy Newman live at The Odeon. Buy it, see it, hear it. Your life will be good too."
Randy Is Great! Sound [is terrible]
---- J. M. Donabie | Scarborough, Ontario Canada | 01/16/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"... Anytime you can find Randy Newman on a DVD........AND you get Ry Cooder to join you.........You've got to buy it. The playing is great great great. The sound [is terrible]! 5.1 channels of loud air. Bad background noise; but if you love the music.........you gotta buy it."
Randy delivers a great performance!
jeannnie | Beeton, Ontario , Canada | 07/18/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I own every one of Randy's CD's, but had never seen him perform. This DVD exceeds my expectations, and with each viewing becomes even more enjoyable.I feel as if I've been to a live performance of his, with front row seats. It's amazing to hear the great sounds he gets out of his piano, and he appears to do it effortlessly. What a treat to get to see him sing and play at the same time. His self-deprecating comments to the audience are hilarious.I'd never truly appreciated his song 'Rider in The Rain' before, until he performed it on the DVD with Linda Rondstadt and Ry Cooder. It's now one of my all-time favorites of his. His comments about his own singing while performing this number are priceless!The ominous sounds that Ry Cooder achieves on his guitar while playing 'Let's Burn the Cornfield' gives me goosebumps. It's great!Other reviews mentioned a Hissing sound, which must have been cleaned up on my copy, since I never heard any such sound. I even listened to this with earphones on my personal-sized DVD player, as well as on our full-sized sound system, and the sound quality was excellent.This DVD is a real treat and I heartily recommend it to all Randy Newman fans, and anyone else who likes top-notch entertainment. My only disappointment is that I don't know of any other Randy Newman live performance DVD's available and I want MORE!!!"
Background noise! With todays technology?
J. Robinson | Modesto, CA United States | 04/30/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I really enjoy Randy Newmans songs. I grabbed this DVD when I saw it on the shelf, I had to have it. Imagine my dissapointment when I listened to it. The background hiss is absolutely terrible. I know technology was not as good back in 1983 but come on! With the way technology is today, and the remastering of older recordings being what it is, whoever produced the sound for this disc should be ashamed. I am using the Bose Lifestyle 35 system to play it on and it sounds like ... Other than the bad sound the disc is great (good selection of songs). Maybe they should Remaster it and send new copies to all who bought this copy."