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Customer reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
John Martyn - The Man Upstairs [DVD] [2008]
Format: DVD|Change
Price:£24.99+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime

Watched an excerpt from the performance presented on this DVD on YouTube, in which Martyn performs Solid Air. Totally blew me away. Since first hearing it I've always loved that song (and the album), but nowt I'd heard of his had quite prepared me for this. Only saw him once live, right at the very end of his career, performing the Solid Air album. That was great (and rather sad too), but not a patch on this.

Whilst tuning his guitar he snaps a string, and then banters with the audience and a roadie/crew guy, whilst re-stringing and retuning. The effect is rather like one of those Tom Waits shaggy dog stories he would tell before hitting you with a heartrending ballad. The contrast heightens the effects of poignancy and pleasure. I love that Martyn is a total artist: to me he's as much a jazzer as a folkie. Hearing how he twists, turns, changes and just plain improvises with the vocal melody on this is just exquisite.

I've watched and listened to a number of versions of this song now, but at present this remains a firm favourite. In the afterglow of first seeing this on YouTube I did a quick bit of research, and then immediately ordered this DVD here on Amazon. I'd happily pay the current asking price of the entire DVD for this priceless performance alone. The fact that there's more great music and performances on it is just a fabulous bonus.
3 people found this helpful
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on 24 January 2018
Sublime....the usual JM.
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on 17 February 2013
His usual quirky rapport with the audience. Good set of his timeless pieces. Brings back happy memories of the many times I was fortunate enough to see him live from around the time of this recording up to a year before his death.
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on 17 November 2013
A live show from relatively early in his career showing a true uncompromising musician and songwriter at the height of his guitar playing powers.

For me the later part of his career was enhanced by a vocal ability with wonderful phrasing, expression and raw emotion that cannot fail to move anyone who has loved.
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on 24 November 2013
This DVD was everything I hoped it would be, an awesome John Martyn concert. It's him performing on Rockpalast in Germany, 1978. He's funny, quirky, drunk, you get to watch him tune in between songs, but when he sings, it's just unreal. This is John Martyn at his peak. Definitely, definitely worth the buy. Now only if I can find John Fahey's Rockpalast concert!
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on 23 July 2016
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on 5 October 2010
The Man Upstairs is an absolute must for any John Martyn fan.
This is JM in his pomp, recorded in Germany in 1978.
Lots of his best tracks on here and some great ad-libbing.
Watch for the part where he changes a string, absolute golddust!John Martyn - The Man Upstairs [2007] [DVD] [1978]
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on 30 November 2008
If you've ever seen JM in the late 70's & early 80's and want something to remind you of great gigs gone by, buy this, play it through a decent sound system and project it onto a wall.
18 people found this helpful
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on 14 April 2009
This is one of the best John Martyn DVDs and includes some wonderful performances from John. It does however show what a John Martyn concert in the 70's was really like, heavy drinking, endless tuning and the off the cuff comments. I doubt that anyone would get away with such a live performance in 2009 but its really a testament to the time and provides a good understanding of the wonderful but flawed musician who sadly passed away recently. Picture quality and sound very good in comparison to other videos from the same period, and the music is first class.
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on 19 February 2013
This provides a good selection of live performances across his early to middle career - overall an under-rated guitarist that produced a limited body of work... a bit repetitious in that he covers the same material in different concerts ...I wish BBC would release of this type of material...
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