on 4 July 2005
It's a testament [ probably one of the few] to America, and to Sony [ for all their faults] that material from musical virtuosi like Stevie Ray Vaughan still comes out regularly. I know Elton says that our charts are more diverse than the States, but I can't see a large UK record company [are there any?] putting out this kind of stuff with anything other than a bargain bin, minority interest vibe. Nuff said.
Those of us that have, shall we say, unofficial audio and video of SRV gigs know that there is a mountain of stuff still waiting to be released, but finding a way to package it as anything but another SRV gig is difficult. Sony have succeeded in doing this by following up on the Audio release of this material a couple of years ago, picking up the theme of a tale of two gigs - the first gig launching Stevie's career, despite a less-than-enthusiastic reception from the audience and the second gig on the DVD being the triumphant return 3 years later.
What do we get then?
Firstly, generally enhanced sound and picture quality from any unofficial video releases - great news.
It's not that brilliant tho' folks. Again, like the Rockpalast stuff, the original TV sound mix lets it down a bit in places.
What else do we get? Well, the first gig is very much how Double Trouble were before the first album came out - a pretty straight blues set, few effects, only two amps and only two guitars. It's a non-headlining gig, so is limited to 8 songs. It's a good performance, pretty much straight through with little introduction in between songs. I love this era of Stevie's playing, as it shows the band as a real working unit, having to work their audience.
The second gig is quite different. There is far more flambuoyance, longer songs - including a guest spot from Johnny Copeland - and more chat between songs. This is a more assertive Stevie, playing songs from his first three hit albums.
Guest spots are always better when you are there, but as a record of Stevies respect and generosity to other players, this is interesting and all in all pretty good stuff.
There is a 25 minute documentary which sums up the significance of the gigs, included as a bonus on the DVD, plus a discography [ more about advertising than anything].
So, what is not so good about this DVD?
I'm not sure what John Mayer really adds to the documentary. I know he's been influenced by Stevie and he's a nice bloke, but that's all . The documentary would benefit from using more unseen footage from other gigs as links between interviews, instead of rolling out excerpts of the El Mocombo and Austin City Limits gigs, and studio tracks that are just quiet enough to make out but not hear properly. The menus on the DVD are also a bit repetitive - I've seen better active menus on other music DVDs that are easier to use - and again the same stills and slow-mo shots are used while the menus load.
The TV coverage is limited to a long shot for the encores - I presume this is the venue's own camera rather than the TV company's- and when it is knocked [or moved] Stevie goes out of shot. Sony insert some more of the tedious active menu pictures I described above during this part of the gig. It's a shame that the TV company finished recording properly, as SRV fans know that Couldn't Stand the Weather was a real tour de force in an SRV live show. The audio remains however, so it's not a complete disaster.
To summarise then. Long awaited in this format, and a truly excellent representation of two quite different SRV eras - both excellent in their own way.
on 19 March 2006
Without doubt this is Stevie at his best! Disk No.1 (Montreux 1982) showcases Stevie and double trouble playing the blues as only Stevie does- raw and with explosive passion! Anyone who knows anything about blues music or any budding blues guitarist will be blown away with the first three numbers of the set - any one but the Montreux 1982 audience that is. At one point the cameras scan the audience and subsequently highlight a series of individuals booing Stevie and doubled trouble. At the end of the set (having given his all) Stevie walks off stage bemused - a camera still is used to capture the anguish on his face -the rest as they say is history. Disk No.2 (Montreux 1985) has Stevie returning to Montreux as the all conquering hero. The band has won a Grammy whilst their album Texas Flood as sold in its millions - surly a lesson to us all, that if at first we don’t succeed....Disk No.2 has thirteen tracks which showcase some of the most awesome blues guitar playing ever captured on video –some may say that having watched the video that Hendrix has lost his crown – you decide. In addition the double DVD pack also features a documentary and a discography. Worth every penny and a must have for any self respecting blues guitarist.
on 3 November 2005
Very quickly, the back story to these gigs: SRV and band play their first gig outside of the USA at a well known jazz festival (disc one). Acoustic jazz and blues rule the day; they turn up, crank up to ten and go down like a lead balloon with the majority of the crowd. SRV and band go back to America, record numerous, brilliant, top selling blues albums, wow crowds world over, return to festival a few years on and are treated like lost sons (disc two).
Now, to sum up these two gigs, I'd start by saying I'd tip my hat to any band who could play this good - and that's before we even touch on the negative crowd reaction to the first of these two concerts. How these guys played so well at the first gig with this amount of booing I'll never know. Probably because they were already pros, and not in the big bucks, slick, stadium rock band sense. They just knew in their heads and hearts that what they were playing was just so good and fully formed.
I consider myself quite a SRV & DT fan so I say, if anyone doubts whether a white man can play the blues they need to hear SRV. Okay, he was a magpie to a degree (Hendrix, Buddy Guy and Albert King licks pepper his music), but he played with an intensity, amazing passion and heart that there is no way someone like Clapton could achieve, even if you set his trousers on fire. As a rhythm section Double Trouble were also impeccable and extremely inventive.
This DVD highlights that at the first gig some people certainly dug what they were doing, but by and large it shows that no matter how great you are, bands playing festivals if they're on at the wrong time, or on the wrong bill can fail to inspire a crowd. It's a bizarre reception as, in retrospect, it's absolutely and completely clear it's A GREAT SET! Three piece bands can struggle to create enough sound to fill a venue, but the boys didn't have that worry. It's just one great blues song after another - played with so much intensity by SRV it blows my mind.
The second disc is the weaker of the two, although it's far from a washout - believe me. Overall though, an enthusiastic crowd reaction not matched by such an intense performance. Why? Lots of reasons - my personal feeling are the drugs were to blame. Not to say the band play badly, but the edge is a bit duller. Look at SRV for a start - with the full beard going on and THAT hat?! Still, they play brilliantly and with a guess spot by Johnny Copeland, appear to be having a ball.
Overall then - I highly recommend this DVD to everyone. It's a great package and well worth checking out.
on 17 May 2006
Both of SRV's performances are outstanding. I'm guessing you've heard of him getting booed off stage by an arrogant audience, but don't let that make you think he played rubbish, because he is amazing on both shows. Seriously! Obviously, the first show is shorter than the second, but you can clearly see that he is a thousand times happier in the second, having released an album, making him a rising legend. I don't want to go on, just buy this DVD. It is mindblowing.
on 4 December 2004
Concerts you never went to must include quite a few... Stevie & the boy's first trip outside the USA ? God,this is the stuff of legends!
The story goes that SRV & DT were picked to play at the Montreux festival,the only unsigned band ever to do so,by a promoter.The guy's thought that they'd give it a go and,low and behold,they played their 1st gig on an acoustic night!Needless to say that the locals were shocked at the pure electric texas blues frenzy that followed...
The crowd boo'ed them...but they played on....funnily enough that they gained a Grammy Award for Texas Flood,recorded at this concert!That the guys just grit their collective teeth and played a blinder of a gig is enough to give courage to any struggling band today...'..well,if Stevie could do it...' ect.
They came back 3 years later to headline,dragging Johnny Copeland to guest with them,and made it look all so easy....
With a documentary with Double Trouble,Jackson Browne & John Mayer,discussing the importance of the gig,what it did for the blues and what SRV & DT mean to a lot of people today just gives great weight to the collection.
An essential purchase...An essential concert...A riot in audio & vision! Buy it!!!!!!
on 20 February 2007
This dvd is just great !!. The classic tone, the heart rending bends and the fiery licks are all on display here in stevie's playing. A must for all guitar fans. Forget the imitations this is the real deal. The first show from 82 shows Stevie & DT battling against a hostile crowd but still delivering the goods in true pro style, While the second show from 85 is a more polished performance from a more relaxed outfit at the top of their profession. Plenty of close up shots of SRV's often inspired playing and the sound is great too.
on 23 November 2004
I couldn't believe it as i was looking on this site and found that they have finally released the Montreaux concerts on DVD, and in such a good way. The documentary is also very good in its own right but the concert footage itself is utterly unbelievable, you have got footage of Stevie before it all happened, and in the midst of it all, and it is all great!! Well worth the twelve quid!! NOt the best of quality, but the music makes you forget about all of that. If you have or don't have the CD of the same thing, it doesn't matter, it is a great buy for die hard Stevie fan's, or the people who have heard his name through the grapevine, it is a fantastic watch.
on 6 July 2014
Concerts you never went to must include quite a few Stevie & the boy's first trip outside the USA ? God,this is the stuff of legends!
The story goes that SRV & DT were picked to play at the Montreux festival, the only unsigned band ever to do so, by a promoter.The guy's thought that they'd give it a go and, low and behold, they played their 1st gig on an acoustic night! Needless to say that the locals were shocked at the pure electric texas blues frenzy that followed!
The crowd boo'ed them but they played on. Funnily enough that they gained a Grammy Award for Texas Flood, recorded at this concert! That the guys just grit their collective teeth and played a blinder of a gig is enough to give courage to any struggling band today; '..well,if Stevie could do it' ect.
They came back 3 years later to headline, dragging Johnny Copeland to guest with them, and made it look all so easy.
Stevie ups the 'bling' quota in this one, with his natty threads and a fine beard. They play well and hard, just maybe not as well as their debut performance.
With a documentary with Double Trouble, Jackson Browne & John Mayer, discussing the importance of the gig, what it did for the blues and what SRV & DT mean to a lot of people today just gives great weight to the collection.
Stevie was, as is, my guitar hero and a fine songwriter.
An essential purchase. An essential concert....and another really good one. A riot in audio & vision! Buy it!!!!!!
on 21 November 2004
Good live Blues performances on DVD are not exactly numerous and those of one of the greatest ever, SRV, rare indeed.
If you like great guitar and great performance this is a treat.
Not quite as raw, and down and sweaty as "Live at the Mocambo", but a greater range of material (albeit with some duplication) and some wonderful solos.
Buy it and you won't regret it.
on 16 February 2009
This is a great combination of concert footage. It very nicely highlights the development of SVR and Double Trouble from an insider tip to super stars.
The contrast between the concerts is incredible with the music being equally good but just so different and delivered in such different environments (the earlier one is a fairly tense atmosphere compared to the surefooted and relaxed cruising of the second concert)
All in all a great DVD.