on 28 July 2005
As the Mott the Hoople anthem "All The Young Dudes" intones, "Who needs T.V. when I got T.Rex?"
Now you can indulge both obsessions in one glorius package. Beyond essential if you are a Rexhead. Essential for any serious student or historian of the endangered species Rock Music. Glam ruled the world for a short sweet time and Marc Bolan was the monarch. So much so that a feature film was obligatory. The resulting 1972 theatrical release was too patchy, disjointed and meandering to reward one concentrated sitting.
Fast forward to the 21st century. "Born To Boogie" has been reborn and lovingly restored. This project was about process and the process that birthed "Born to Boogie" is gloriously splattered across two DVD discs for your surfing and skimming pleasure. Sure, the original feature length film is here; buffed and spit-shined to sparkly effect. However, the real treasure is the extras and special features. Two full length London concerts are expertly remastered by T.Rex/Bowie Producer Tony Visconte and are splashy, trashy fun. English Punk starts here. In the glitter rock era, tunes were the thing and tunes are plentifully offered. Marc Bolan had pop smarts and they are in peak display on Born To Boogie. T.Rex may have been a hard sell in America, but clearly, there was no human being on the globe having a better life than Marc Bolan in 1972.
Irony and historical perspective comes courtesy of Producer/Director Ringo Starr. Ringo labors unmolested at the watermark Wembly concerts a scant 6 years after Beatlemania. T.Rextacy was the catch phrase for the panty-wetting hysteria surrounding Marc Bolan's 18 month reign as newest biggest thing in Rock. Both concerts have highlights and warts to please all. Marc manfully conquering a wayward vocal mike during "Telegram Sam" and tuning mid-song during "Bang A Gong". Marc cared and was a at the very least a seasoned pro. In 1972 even the prettiest stars of Pop music were required to have certain proficiency skills in music. Imagine Justin Timberlake or Britney Spears doing all the writing, singing and guitar playing on their records. You can't. Marc Bolan deserves his props for being a teen idol with a soul and vision of his own construct.
The real hidden treasures lie on Disc Two. A wonderful mini-rockumentary "When Glam Ruled The World". fills historical gaps without deconstruction of the essential mythology of Marc or Glam. For tech heads, we have Marc's son Rolan going on a voyage of paternal discovery through the celluloid remains of his father. 272 cans of original film footage were exumed and the restoration process is facinating. Give thanks to Ringo's forward thinking crusade to document the biggest thing in Rock since, well.... himself. A nice bonus is outakes of a super session comprising Marc Bolan, Elton John, and Ringo. Scene selection allows us to sample the sillyness and ephemera without overdose. This is the 5 pound See's familty sampler of Glam Rock. Not for one sitting, but best enjoyed and savored over time.
You got it. Definative. 5 stars.
Words cannot really do this DVD justice. It must be seen to be believed!
As a longstanding Bolan fan with an old worn copy of the vhs movie i was excitedly awaiting this release. I was particularly interested in the reported reels of unseen footage promised when the project first took off. What you actualy get is 5 plus hours of T.Rex at their majestic peak. The movie 'Born to Boogie' itself is ok, though i was never a fan of the 'surealist' sketches which interupted the flow of the live experience. Instead Go straight to the matinee and evening concerts, here in their glorious entirety, and be prepared to be blown away by the T.rex live experience. The picture quality is breathtakingly gorgeous. Every bead of sweat on Bolan's brow and every crease in his satin loons are crystal clear in widescreen. He looks fantastic (and he clearly knows it!)
The band sound raw and powerful and it's all mixed to complete audio perfection by Tony Visconti. It really is stunning both visualy and in the quality of the sound.
If that wern't enough there's plenty previously unseen footage of the Bolan fans both inside and outside of the arena. Feather cuts, Bolan ringlets, satins and flares aplenty and more than the odd girl (and boy)with a touch of glitter to their cheeks. Superb.
I cannot rate this movie highly enough. It easily outranks the Pennbaker ziggy stardust movie in terms of sound and picture quality (and as a screamage document of the glitter era). Buy it now and dust off that satin jacket for the full on glam experience!!
on 27 October 2005
A stunning restoration of this film with the great care and attention that was needed to do it justice. Transports you back to 1972 as though it was yesterday. The fun and humour of the time and the affection with which all those involved look back at the period and project is infectious and heart-warming. How modern technology enables material of this type to be cleansed and invigorated with new life is as remarkable as the performance of the band itself.
Outstanding value at twice the price.
on 26 July 2006
Although I am a big fan of TREX I was always worried that this film was going to be poor. I couldn't have been more wrong!!! The bulk of the film is concert footage with a few strange bits of Marc doing weird stuff and generally looking out of his head. But while the film is short, it holds the attention and shows you just what made TREX the phenomenum that they were.
And while this film was made 30 years ago, it shows clearly just how much things have changed in that time!!! You could go and see the countries top band for 75p and could get one of the nations top TV stars to appear in your film with the promise of luxury handburgers (I kid you not). A large part of the extra features go towards re-creating 1972, to show you the world TREX ruled.
The rest of the extras are a very nice touch for TREX fans, because whereas most things linked to the band focus on Marc, this disc really shows the importance of the rest of the band. The interview with Bill Legend is great. I am sure he did it to promote his christian beliefs, but when he introduces himself as the "guy that played on all those TREX records" he looks as if he can hardly believe it himself. He was a great drummer that has sadly been sidelined for to long in the TREX history. This disc puts him back in alongside Bolan. And it is great to hear Finn playing his instruments, and hearing that he was a good musician.
This is a brilliant package. A good film, an extra concert, and a ton of extras on top. It is just a shame that Ringo couldn't be persuaded to give an interview!!!
on 1 October 2007
The remastered DVD is fantastic & this CD supplements it with the soundtrack of the film & the live performance from the "bonus" DVD of the two disc DVD package.
The live recording in particular crackles with energy & excitement. You can feel the hysteria & you can hear the quality - this really does make you wish you could see Marc live again.
The film soundtrack CD is also of the highest quality & offers ample evidence of just how good Marc could be.The live recording was made at the height of T.Rextasy,when T.Rex were the biggest name in British popular music & Marc & the band,were absolutely rocking.
The "soundtrack" disc has the famous "Tea Party Medley" with Marc strumming his acoustic guitar,accompanied by a string quartet, along with collaborations with Elton John & Ringo Starr ("Tutti Frutti" & "Children Of The Revolution"), some T.Rex anthems, some of Marc's poems (& spoken extracts from the film) plus a "bonus" BBC interview at the end, from 1971.
A really good mix of hits & fans favourites, it's a must. It's great value & really is just fantastic all round.
on 16 February 2013
I've waited years to see this movie, but I'm glad I hung on for the deluxe DVD edition; the wealth of extras make it the ultimate purchase, giving you not only a cleaned-up version of the original film, but both Wembley gigs that provided the backbone of the movie. The surreal interludes are along the lines of 'Magical Mystery Tour' and are short enough not to become too self-indulgent; the jams with Ringo and Elton are great because everyone seems to having fun, and the documentary as Rolan speaks to those involved in the genesis and restoration of the film (minus Ringo, alas - one would think he'd be happy to discuss something other than The Beatles) are fascinating.
But it's the live footage that makes this DVD worth every penny. Looking at the frenzied fifteen-year-old girls in the audience, I couldn't help but muse on the sad reality that their equivalents today would be attending a show by One Direction; and the contrast between those cynically-manufactured marionettes with a self-made superstar playing and singing his own songs, oozing charisma and presenting such an odd, quirky, but brilliantly effective twist on the standard rock formula, is a sobering one indeed. You're being sold short, kids of today. The Fab Four tore down Tin Pan Alley and Bolan was a beneficiary of that demolition; who'd have thought, forty years later, that we'd have retreated back to a time before rock 'n' roll first dented the cartel of Svengali's and hack songwriters who made the early 50s as dull as they've made the 2010s? Every time some old rock journo moans about the pre-punk 70s, remind them that they didn't know how bloody lucky they were!
on 27 May 2005
Forget the half baked after-thoughts, T-Rex were THE band that transformed music for ever at the start of the 1970's, and this superbly restored DVD catches them at the height of their powers. Bolan struts about the stage with all the arrogance of a true superstar, but he also nods towards his hippie "Tyrannosaurs" roots with a cross-legged acoustic set. The film itself is based around the Wembley concert, with the classic tunes only occasionally punctured by the surreal images of Bolan, the poet-in-chief, and Ringo Starr, dressed as a mouse, joking around on an airfield and a show stopping performance from Mickey Finn devouring jam at the mad hatters tea party. There is also the unforgettable collaboration with Elton John, where Bolan's head appears from inside Elt's piano, painted white like a musical spectre. The film alone is worth the entrance fee, but the extras complete a breath-taking package, including: both concerts from Wembley in full, a documentary headed by Bolan's son Rolan (and you thought Brooklyn was bad!) And the earliest surviving black and white recording of Tyrannosaurs Rex, to name but a few. This is an epic DVD set which no music fan should be without. As Bolan himself said, "If there is a rock and roll history, this will go down in it". It certainly has! Boogie on.
Now approaching my 50th birthday I treated myself to this double DVD set. What a pleasure it is to finally see my teenage hero live, through the magic of digital restoration! The original 16-track tapes and 5-camera 16mm negatives have been used to recreate not only the Born To Boogie movie itself - lying somewhere between The Song Remains The Same and Magical Mystery Tour, it alternates gig footage with odd fantasy sequences - but better yet, both the 5:30 and 8:30 performances at Wembley Empire Pool (now Wembley Arena) in Spring 1972. In front of 10,000 happy and devoted fans, here are T. Rex at their peak.
It's a great show. Now I finally realise where Marc Bolan's great talent lay, as a singer looking back to the 50's (especially Eddie Cochran, whose Summertime Blues is the encore) and as a songwriter redefining pop as an opportunity to unleash an intimate sexuality to a mass market. As a rhythm guitarist he is hot and driving, as a lead guitarist merely exciting without really trying to play anything in particular! I can't imagine he ever put much practice into his lead guitar work. But who cares, these are seriously strong rock'n'roll songs and really don't need instrumental flash as I'm sure most of you already know. But his guitar nonsense is no worse than most of what Jimmy Page does on the Zeppelin DVDs and oh, how much less of my life he wastes spouting it :-)
The big revelation when seeing T. Rex live for the first time is the punch and tightness of the band. Bill Legend is extraordinarily powerful and tireless, pushing the band headlong through the set without putting a foot wrong, and never missing a cue from Marc. These two work as one. Steve Currie and Mickey Finn are just as committed but look slightly less fulfilled than the other two, each displaying a bit of "temperament" from time to time. But as a long-time Currie fan it's great to hear the man play - tough, tight, steady, trying to put as much melodic interest into his lines as he can, a bit like a punk John Paul Jones - or a punk Chris Squire in the longish jam section of Get It On, the set's closing number.
Marc's performance displays sensual sensitivity to his own music, strong musical control of the band, a huge sense of fun (that's what T. Rex is about) and an amazingly aristocratic manner for a Hackney boy. He really knows what he's doing here... entertaining purely through music, any posing is just from feeling the funk. No theatrics (unless you count the frantic tambourine/guitar shagging session in the Get It On jam) a static lighting rig, no smoke, no backdrop, no lasers of course - just men in colourful satin grooving on their own sexy beat. and one of the most involved audiences I've seen - a LOT of them are dancing and bouncing, not just a few.
If you like T. Rex, click that "Add to Shopping Basket" button right now and prepare to smile that great big all-over-the-face Marc smile when it hits your doomat.
on 10 March 2007
OK, the film itself has some very strange moments ,which are pretty nonsensical but these are easily forgiveable in terms of the performances delivered by Marc & the rest of the band.
The film has been very well restored & the clarity is much improved on the old VHS version. The "bonus" DVD of live footage is truly excellent & is a top quality addition to a fantastic package.
Well put together, well presented , an absolute essential for all Bolan fans - both this & the CD soundtrack are excellent - worth every single penny, Marc was at the top of his game when this was recorded, absolutely superb.
on 11 June 2010
The bonus DVD of the concert footage is superb! I remember reading the music paper write ups at the time and wishing I'd been there. So to watch both the shows all these years later was the best.
'Born To Boogie', the DVD of the movie, is a must for all fans as it's fun, nonsense, embarrassing and wonderful, all rolled into one! I reckon it's also an accurate marker of the beginning of Bolan's decline. But that's another story.
A big HI! to all the 50 something guys like me who were proud to be counted at the time for being as in awe of him as the girls were. History has proved us right fellas!