A Bill Hicks Goldmine!,
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Essential Collection (2CD+2DVD) (Audio CD)
This set has 4 discs. Two discs of audio, and more importantly two DVDs.
The two audio discs are culled from all of Bill's previous releases, with a handful of tracks from a previously unheard performance (San Ramon, California). Bill's material is brilliant, as you know, but it could have used some better editing. The discs play somewhat randomly, but it's still nice to get some new material in there.
These two audio discs are beside the point, though, because the two DVDs are filled with things fans have been waiting many years to see. It's an absolute goldmine!
The first disc is all early performances from 1981 to 1986. These are COMPLETE, unedited performances with a total running time of over two hours! As all of Hicks's famous releases are from 1989 to 1993, it's wonderful to finally be able to go back and watch his evolution as a performer. Not to mention see new material.
There are five performances, they are:
Houston, TX 1981 (21 mins)
Houston, TX 1984 (19 mins)
Indianapolis, IN 1985 (40 mins)
Houston, TX 1986 (20 mins)
Houston, TX 1986 (26 mins)
There's also one of Hicks's performance as part of the infamous Texas Outlaw Comics (5 mins) and an interview with Bill discussing the group's origins (13 mins).
There's also a brief 1985 TV interview with Bill (2 mins) and a collection of photos from the Hicks's family collection. (It's surprisingly poignant to see Bill with his family.)
It's wonderful to finally to be able to see this rare footage!
THEN we have disc four! NINJA BACHELOR PARTY in the best quality! (30 mins) This classic home movie made by Bill and his friends in the 80s. Sure, it's VHS and completely homemade, but it's fantastic fun. The audio is perfect. The video is what you'd expect for a homemade VHS movie, but the Karate action preserved. As one review succinctly put it: NINJA BACHELOR PARTY is the Citizen Kane of Ninja Bachelor Party movies.
On the rest of the disc are clips from different performances from 1991 to 1993. Some of these were actually used for Rant in E Minor and Arizona Bay. It's fascinating to actually see Bill perform these moments, having heard them so many times over the years.
They are all from the Austin Laff Stop (one of Bill's favourite venues -- the audience loved him there), and were recorded by Bill's brother, Steve:
November 1991 (11 mins)
December 1992 (20 mins)
June 1993 (19 mins)
October 1993 (40 mins) (Hicks's last performance there)
Although they aren't full performances, they are mostly focused on material Bill didn't use on the albums. Plus we finally get to see a great "Elvis & Charlie Hodge" routine.
I really hope there is some viable way for these full performances to be released some day. It's hand-held camera footage, but it's still great to watch. (Maybe iTunes?)
Finally, we also get access to an entire album of Bill's music, via a cool card and the Bill Hicks website. It's essentially demos for an album he never properly recorded, but it's great to listen to. Here's a side of Bill we haven't heard. If you know his Arizona Bay music, or his Marblehead Johnson music - this is different.
In all, I'd have to recommend that you buy this set. It's full of rare archival video and other Hicks goodies, and the sales may encourage more video releases. It's a must for any Hicks fan -- thanks to his family for helping put it together!
Please, RykoDisc bring on more audio and video recordings! Put all of Hicks's performances on iTunes at a reasonable price, or something!