One of the hugest soul-funk groups of the last half of the 1970s, Earth Wind & Fire created a lush, trademark sound that reveals its infectious nature in this documentary look at the group's 30-year history. Founded by M... more »aurice White in the early 1970s, EWF broke out in mid-decade with its That's the Way of the World album. The documentary offers footage and reminiscences from the band, about its origins (White had been a Chicago session musician), its breakthrough and subsequent run as America's biggest soul band--and White's eventual burnout that led to putting the band on hiatus through much of the 1980s. It all has the homogenized sound of an authorized biography (no Behind the Music revelations here), but it gains energy every time a vintage musical performance takes center stage. --Marshall Fine« less
A brief glimpse into one of world's musical wonders
Clarissa Bolding | Austin, TX USA | 09/15/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Earth Wind & Fire is my favorite band of all time. Period. This video was a welcome addition to my collection of their albums, CDs and concert videos. Like the first reviewer, I enjoyed seeing the footage of "Reece" with Ramsey Lewis and hearing the story of how the "elements" were born. I was especially happy to see some of the original members discussing their musical experiences with EWF. (Larry Dunn, Louis Satterwhite, Al McKay, Freddie White, Phillip, Ralph and my favorite bass player, Verdine) Maurice White is one of a kind and no one can duplicate his extraordinary contribution to the music world. The Official Story shows how Egypt influenced the sound, message and look of EWF & we see footage and pictures from their tours and travels. There are clips of the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame induction at the end of this tape, showing all the remaining members together again. There's even snippets from the concert where Verdine levitates and the band enter/exit the stage in space pods. The Official Story is a must have for any EWF lover. My only complaint is that I wanted more! More footage from different concerts. More footage of behind the scenes on and off the road. More feedback from the original members. Who was the prankster of the group? Who was the serious one? Who was the ladies man? Why didn't they do shows like Soul Train or award shows? Why weren't there Earth Wind & Fire TV Specials? What are the older members doing now and how do they feel about each other? How did their families feel about their music? Will there ever be a reunion with ALL the original members? 90 mins is not enough! We're talking about a band that is three decades old and still going! I loved the in studio footage of Wyclef and Eric Benet. Hopefully there will be more in-depth documentaries made on EWF because they are legends and have touched so many lives. The new generation truly can learn a few things from these music masters.
Peace. Clarissa L.B."
Worth seeing if you liked Earth in their prime
chakasworld | 11/04/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is a must see if you were a fan of EW&F in their prime. It contains some excellent clips of early EW&F live. It also is interesting to hear the history of the band as they tell it. My only complaint is that there is not enough footage of them live in their prime. They sample a lot from the 1981 concert, which is also sold as a separate DVD, yet this tour took place after they were already past their peak. As they fully admit on this DVD, they had lost their magic and were getting too commercial, and Al McKay had already left the band. Why then do they use that concert footage so much? Their earlier concerts were much less cheesy, with better choreography, costumes, and special effects. Also, they don't showcase Verdine White enough, who is one of the greatest bassists in the last 50 years (not only can he play, he can dance). I wish someone would come out with a best of EW&F in concert DVD, which would show large portions of their earlier concerts. Lastly, I don't care much about seeing or hearing what EW&F did later in the 1980's or 90s, as none of it compared to the magic of the seventies."
Fitting Tribute For EWF!! Almost perfect DVD!!
chakasworld | Atlanta, GA United States | 08/27/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I was happy to finally add this DVD to my collection, and it was worth the wait. This DVD allows fans of EWF to hear from each group member, and learn about the roots of this legendary band. Maurice White is the star of this project, and his fight with Parkinson's Disease didn't prevent him from talking about EWF's past (as well as the future plans). You also get to see rare footage of Maurice in the 50's & 60's, as well as 'clips' from EARLY EWF concerts (before they crossed over!!
Overall, the DVD sounded great (some segments were mono, but it wasn't too bad!), and the old footage looks good. In addition to historical coverage of the 'classic EWF lineup', you get a sneak peek into their upcoming CD. There are comments from Wyclef Jean & Eric Benet, who were to co-produce the next EWF CD (but in the end, their songs didn't make it onto 'The Promise' CD).
The only drawback(s) involve the DVD packaging (no inserts, booklet, etc!!), and the 'bonus' concert footage is not rare at all!! It comes from the 1990 EWF Live In Tokyo DVD that is already on the market. Buyers are led to believe that the bonus footage will come from the classic EWF lineup concerts in the 1970's (The Gratitude Tour!!). Overall, I would reccomend this DVD to all EWF fans (especially the long time admirers!!). And these new schoolers need to see this for a much needed lession on what REAL BANDS are all about! Peace, SD (of 'Chaka's World')"
A Success Story
V. Tindall | NJ | 08/09/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Lots of great background info on one of my favorite groups. I though the first 10 minutes or so dragged, however, it picked up speed and became very intriguing soon after that. Lots of great clips - I learned stuff I never knew before about the group. worth ordering."
A Satisfying Look Inside A Musical Dynasty!!
MUZIK4THAPEOPLE!! | Orlando, FL | 11/16/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The thing that I like about this DVD is that it's straight from the people who made the legend come to life! Maurice, Verdine, Phillip, Larry, Al, Johnny, Fred, Ralph, Andrew and the surviving members of the Phoenix Horns all have their say and cover their miraculous career / journey in somewhat intimate detail. There are home movies of the band on tour during their hey-day, backstage footage, etc. as well as some well-placed snipets of the music itself. E,W & F, to me, will always be the baddest band of all time! Those classic albums from 1973's "Head To The Sky" to 1981's "Raise" are etched into my DNA and still provide joy and inspiration! A worthwhile addition to your DVD collection if your are into documentaries of the great artists who shaped their times and future times to come!"