Rock music is many things to many people. For some it started and ended with The Beatles. Others will sing the praises of U2, others still will get into a lather over poodle rockers such as Poison and Twisted Sister. Trying to come up with a collection of rock videos that will appeal to a range of rockaholics is impossible, so this collection is certainly a mixed bag, but I defy anyone to find 20 tracks that we all agree on.
Kicking off this collection is Alice Cooper with one of his ‘80s biggies, Poison, which was a sizeable hit and a catchy number. Alice in Chains with Would? follow Cooper, and yes it’s a heavy little number but they are a tight band. Local Perth outfit Ammonia get all serious with Drugs, and Automatic urge you to Pump it Up but I recommend the Elvis Costello original myself.
A blast from the past is the Cheap Trick smash If You Want My Love, and then you get the synthesizer onslaught that announces the arrival of Swedish poodle rockers Europe with their only huge hit, the apocalyptic The Final Countdown (you’re already doo-doo-doo-doo’ing the big synth intro in your head, correct?). Indie rockers Fuel follow up with Shimmer before Jeff Buckley gets very un-Jeff Buckley-like with a live version of Eternal Life.
Almost half way now and we get a pretty much unknown band, K’s Choice with Not An Addict, fronted by the only rock chick on the DVD. Tripped-out English indie-rockers Kula Shaker give us their take on the classic Hush then it’s the American band Living Colour doing Cult of Personality. Things move closer to home with Noiseworks, fronted by current INXS frontman, Jon Stevens, and one of their bigger hits, Hot Chilli Woman.
Reef’s Place Your Hands will be familiar as it was used recently to advertise something, jeans I think, (I don’t watch much TV and pay even less attention to advertising). The Screaming Trees deliver Nearly Lost You (as this DVD may have done by now), and then there's a serious moment as Soul Asylum give us Runaway Train complete with its appeal to runaway children to phone home.
The pop-rocking Spin Doctors biggie Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong is next which can still impress with its funky bass line. British fey-indie-rocker Brett Anderson fronting Suede is next with Animal Nitrate, which is rather good, but you’ll be thrown a curveball with the next video from The Hooters, All You Zombies. I think this video may have been stuck in by mistake. A blast from the past all the same, and annoyingly enjoyable.
The last two videos are also from the vault, being Warrant’s awful and sexist Cherry Pie and then a scorcher from Canadian band Loverboy (complete with leather pants and pink shirts) with Turn Me Loose which still rocks.
So there you have it, a licorice all-sorts of rock. Some certified smashes, some naff poodle rock, some serious pop rock, a clanger or two, and a few Aussies all wrapped up into an 85-minute melting pot.
When you remember that some of these videos have literally been laying around gathering dust in some vault or other for years, then it will come as no shock to learn that there is a wide range of quality here. Some are grainy while others are quite sharp and clear, the older videos being more affected.
Almost all are in full frame ratio, with a few cropped to a letterbox ratio of 1.78:1, but not enhanced. There are no really serious problems and most are remarkably free from dirt and scratches. Colours vary wildly however, with a few of the older clips looking washed out and faded, while the newer videos have occasional bursts of colour. There are some cool video techniques thrown in, and a noticeable lack of aliasing and shimmer. If you can see past the few really grainy and soft videos that no doubt come from an analogue source, then the collection scrubs up reasonably well.
The Dolby Digital stereo re-dubbing, however, sounds pretty damned good in all the videos. There is a genuine clarity in some of the tracks that I have not noticed before, and good separation. The acoustic guitars in the Cheap Trick video sound as good as I have ever heard them, and there is good solid bass throughout. Drums sound wonderfully clear and deep, vocal performances sound rich, and there are no issues with synchronisation. Some of the volume levels fluctuate slightly, but this is probably attributable to source material and style.
There are no extras included.
Video collections are invariably hit and miss affairs, and this one is no different. No doubt most of us will enjoy a few of them, tolerate a few, and totally avoid the rest. Of course one man’s trash is another man’s treasure (sexist, I know). It would be interesting to know if there is any chance of getting custom made DVD video collections as was being touted for CD collections some years ago. At least then we would have a DVD that we could watch and listen to all the way through, instead of having to keep the remote close by.