Dancing With Mr. D...VD

Musicasaurus.com excavates the best concerts on DVD…

A new review will be posted every two weeks, on Sunday evening.....All of the DVDs reviewed here are (or were!) commercially available for purchase.  We will list a few highlights from each of the DVDs, having mined them for the moments that make endorphins flow, pleasure centers pop, and smiles break wide.


Posted 6/16/19.....

(Next posting:  Sunday evening, June 30, 2019)

Johnny Winter  - Live Through The ‘70s - A 2008 MVD Entertainment Group release…

This DVD has gathered up both live-in-concert and television performances (1970-1979) from Texas blues guitarist Johnny Winter, and it features stops in Denmark, Germany and London in addition to native soil appearances in Chicago and Waterbury, Connecticut...

Recommended tracks:

  1. “Frankenstein” - from a 1970 performance...Albino blues brothers Johnny AND Edgar play on this instrumental that Edgar later on parlayed into a monstrous hit (he first released it in studio form two years later, via his 1972 album They Only Come Out At Night.)  The setting is a small stage in a low-ceilinged, firetrap-lookin’ teen club in Denmark, Copenhagen and the jam includes not one but two drum solos (one by Edgar, who jumped over from keyboards to drum kit perhaps to prove his “multi-instrumentalist” tag was warranted).  Admittedly, the song as performed here is not entirely captivating; it’s just worth a peek because of the look and feel of a young and hungry blues-rock band bangin’ it out in a club setting.
  2. “Be Careful With A Fool” - This is more like it.  From that same 1970 Denmark club session, Johnny stretches out on a B.B. King composition and plays heartfelt blues-rock riffs punctuated by his own guttural growls that seem to goad his flying fingers.  This is the Winter of my content--the more straight-ahead blues before he blossomed into an arena headliner a few years down the road, sometimes wearing (as he did on a ’73 Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert appearance), a top hat, cape and platform shoes.

Also on the disc:  Winter with bandmates Randy Jo Hobbs (bass) and Richard Hughes (drums) in performances circa ’73 and ’74, the time period that—on vinyl—Winter was also pushing out albums like Still Alive And Well and Saints & Sinners, both featuring guitarist Rick Derringer as well.  Still Alive And Well—a release so named because it marked Winter’s personal emergence from a heroin habit—is especially a treat.  Village Voice music critic Robert Christgau says of that record:  Winter will never be an especially personable singer, but I like what's he's putting out on this monkey-off-my-comeback: two late-Stones covers, plenty of slide, and a good helping of nasty.





Posted 6/3/19.....

Glastonbury - A Julien Temple film - A musical documentary (BBC Films / HanWay Films / TH!NKFilm) released as a two-DVD set in June 2007.





Posted 10/3/16...


Just a few weeks back, while filling the shopping cart on Amazon.com, I decided to put my near-future satisfactions in the hands of the Police...So I bought the following two concert DVDs, curious about what a gap of 24 years might look and sound like in terms of two different tours, that many years apart:

When the shipment arrived, musicasaurus.com did a quick experiment right out of the box (or boxes, technically).  I took one song, and not any of the hits which have nestled sometimes too well into our consciousness; to seek some measure of objectivity, I chose a track from the band’s first studio album Outlandos d’Amour from 1978--“Hole In My Life”.

It’s been a favorite album track of mine through the years, all punky and propulsive.  How would the songs compare?  In this corner:  The Police during their initial 9-year ascension to global superstardom.  In the other corner:  The Police reunited after 21 years apart--and was it for Love?  Or was it for Money?  Was it for Love of Money?

Comparing the Two Performances of "Hole In My Life" (performed live, 24 years apart):

The Crowd:

The On-Stage Look:

Production Values:





Posted 5/5/19.....

LIVE AID—July 13, 1985.....Various artists; staged simultaneously at Wembley Stadium in London and JFK Stadium in Philadelphia.....DVD released in November 2004.




Posted 4/21/19.....





Posted 4/7/19.....

THE OLD GREY WHISTLE TEST, VOLUME THREE..... The UK’s legendary live music show (DVD released in 2006).

This is the third volume in the 1971-1987 British television series that largely captured English and American artists in a high-quality, in-studio performance setting.

Musicasaurus.com’s Recommended Tracks in this Volume Three:




Posted 3/24/19.....

I stumbled upon an interesting DVD recently, and had known nothing about it beforehand.  It’s a unique mix of a concert and a history lesson—uh, remember the Alamo?

On the evening of May 2, 2005, an outfit called WOW Music Group produced and filmed a concert at the Alamo and there are full song performances on the resulting DVD from Gipsy Kings, Lyle Lovett, Los Lobos and…Arc Angels!  The latter is a supergroup—and maybe only rock snobs call them that—composed of killer guitarists Doyle Bramhall II (who’s played with Clapton) and Charlie Sexton (who’s played with Dylan), plus the rhythm section from Steve Ray Vaughan’s Double Trouble, drummer Chris Layton and bassist Tommy Shannon.  Back in 1992 Arc Angels released their self-titled debut album, and it is still one of musicasaurus.com’s favorite classic rock indulgences because of its rock ‘n’ roll heart and searing blues hues.  The DVD might be worth it for the Angels alone, but the other performances are really fairly riveting as well.

Here’s an explanatory snippet or two from a July 9, 2007 press release about the project and the event, from Cary Floyd of the WOW Music Group:

“The Remember The Alamo concert was designed to pay tribute to the Alamo and the City of San Antonio through an entertaining, made-for-history musical event. The concert film, via performances by some of the world’s best-known artists and light-hearted comedic entertainment by Paul Rodriguez, retells the story of the 13-day battle that took place in 1836, thus solidifying the Alamo shrine as an historical wonder of early American culture.

“The 90-plus minute concert film includes a documentary about the Alamo and an historical tour of the shrine led by Alamo Director David Stewart and Paul Rodriguez.”

Also interesting as hell:  The WOW Music Group were attacking this project as one of more to come.  They had created the concept of a Wonders of the World Music Series which was intended to marry together on film “distinguished musical artists with the world’s most storied historical sites”—and they may have since pulled another one off at the Great Wall of China, with more planned for the Grand Canyon, the Eiffel Tower and other key historic hotspots.  Cool idea, but I have no update on their progress…





Posted 3/10/19.....

Windham Hill is a record label—often labeled New Age—founded in 1976 by acoustic guitarist Will Ackerman.  By the time the compact disc began to penetrate home sound systems in the early 1980s, the label had expanded beyond its original folk emphasis into world and electronic music as well.  The Windham Hill “sound” became a brand of sorts; the production was superior, the album art classy, and the artist roster impressive.

Windham Hill In Concert...featuring the music of Will Ackerman, Scott Cossu, Michael Hedges and Shadowfax...released in 1986 (Windham Hill Productions, Inc. / Pioneer Entertainment)




Posted 2/24/19.....

Peter Gabriel’s Secret World Live…..This concert DVD is a product of Geffen Records / Real World productions; filmed in Modena, Italy on tour in 1994.

The Secret World Live band:

Musicasaurus.com’s recommended tracks:




Posted 2/10/19


This two-DVD set captures for posterity sixty-six musical performances that aired on The Johnny Cash TV Show from the summer of 1969 through March of 1971.  The show was produced in Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium which was, back then, the home of the Grand Ole Opry.  Johnny’s show was the first major network series produced at this venue, and as the DVD’s informational brochure points out, the Ryman today is a “refurbished, restored landmark.  The ’69 version, cramped and creaky, was untouched by modern heating and cooling.”




Posted 1/27/19.....

MUSIC SCENE:  THE BEST OF 1969-1970, Volume 2.....(DVD released in 2001)




Posted 1/13/19.....

Bryan Adams - Unplugged - recorded September 26, 1997 at the Hammerstein Ballroom in NYC - part of MTV’s Unplugged series - released on DVD in 2002




Posted 12/30/18.....

Musicasaurus.com was trolling for new concert DVD purchases when Celebration at Big Sur popped up on my computer screen--lo and behold, finally, here was a DVD of the September 13 & 14, 1969 folk festival at Big Sur, California.  I had heard about this particular “gathering of the tribes”, and that it had occurred just one month after the newly minted Woodstock generation was born on Max Yasgur’s farm in Bethel, New York.  But I hadn’t been aware that the film of this festival had finally seen a DVD release in 2011, forty-two years after the event...

Big Sur is a pretty, pristine location where the Santa Lucia Mountains meet the Pacific Ocean on California’s central coast, and from 1964 through 1971, the Big Sur Folk Festival was held there on the grounds of the Esalen Institute.  (The institute is a non-profit organization that espouses humanistic alternative education via teachings and workshop settings, and it promotes spiritual growth, psychology, environmental stewardship, mediation, organic food--you know, all of the things that the late-‘60s hippies should have embraced, without the detours to the brown acid and the EZ widers.)

The 1969 Celebration at Big Sur is a great snapshot of Sixties Youth and Change:




Posted 12/16/18.....

Classic Albums:  The Band (The Band) - Isis Productions / Distributed by Eagle Rock Entertainment.




Posted 12/2/18.....

Here’s a brief look at an early 1970s “master and commander” who was steeped in tradition and yet wooed & wowed the youth market during that era of unparalleled musical experimentation brewing in San Francisco...

Commander Cody - Blues-Rock Legends Vol. I (part of the Rockpalast series of concert DVDs recorded for German television, starting in 1974) - This particular performance was recorded on July 1, 1980.




Posted 11/4/18.....

Here’s a mixed bag of concert DVDs--one is from a North Carolina band whose style is a mash-up of influences.....the second is by a classic rock lygynd--er, legend.....and the last one features Finnish and Swedish jazz fusion guitarists.  If one doesn’t fulfill, you know another probably will...

The three DVDs:


  1. The Avett Brothers - Live, Volume 3 - recorded on August 8, 2009 at Bojangles’ Coliseum in Charlotte, NC
    • The band:  Two brothers front this North Carolina band that incorporates a wide number of influences into their music--folk, bluegrass, country, pop, alternative, and more.
    • Musicasaurus.com’s recommended track:  A tossup between “I and Love and You” (reminiscent--a little, at least--of The Band) and “Head Full of Doubt / Road Full of Promise”.
  2. Lynyrd Skynyrd - A double feature DVD including Freebird: The Movie and Tribute Tour 
    • FreeBird: The Movie is part documentary and part concert film, originally released in 1996.  Most of the live footage emanates from a festival performance in England in 1976, after Skynyrd had added guitarist Steve Gaines to the band.
    • Tribute Tour is a documentary about Skynyrd post-plane crash, and their decision ten years after that band-ending calamity to do a Tribute Tour--a reemergence that led to resurgence).
    • Musicasaurus.com’s recommended track from Freebird: The Movie:  Hands down, it has to be “That Smell”.  The band is crisp, tight and focused, and the guitar work by Steve Gaines and Gary Rossington is enough to make even non-smokers grab a lighter.  The song’s performance was shot in black & white which is neither a distraction or a detraction, but it also (unfortunately) has less-than-stellar sound reproduction.  Still, it’s a powerhouse performance.
  3. Jukka Tolonen and Coste Apetrea - Scandinavian Guitars - recorded February 19, 1982 at Holbaek Power Plant
    • The artists:  Jukka Tolonen is a Finnish jazz-rock guitarist of great renown in his native country, and he’s been on that music scene since the early 1970s.  While pulling together musicians for his five-man band in 1977, Tolonen welcomed in the Swedish fusion guitarist Coste Apetrea, and in 1982 the two paired up for a special acoustic evening concert which was videotaped for future sale.
    • Musicasaurus.com’s recommended track:  There are only four tracks on this 35-minute DVD, and all of them swing in this lovely acoustic-only, all-instrumental setting.  While one handles rhythm flourishes the other is tearing off fleet-fingered leads, and the style is a melting pot of influences including classical, jazz, Gypsy, and more.  Not for all tastes, but quite intriguing due to the level of artistry on display.




Posted 10/21/18.....

SHORT TAKES.....A couple of concert DVDs and recommended tracks...


1. GUSTER.....from Guster On Ice / Live From Portland Maine.....released in 2004.

2. R.E.M......from Perfect Square.....released in 2003.





Posted 10/7/18.....


Musicasaurus.com’s Recommended Tracks from Three DVDs recently unearthed from the archives…

1. The Jeff Beck Group’s “Situation”.....From the DVD The Jeff Beck Group / Got The Feeling...This is Beck circa ’71-’72, when his group featured Bobby Tench on vocals (even though the DVD cover clearly shows Rod Stewart, who by this time had left the band).  This unit produced two albums from this era, Rough And Ready and The Jeff Beck Group....Though the sound quality is flat--i.e., this television appearance predates any real audio advances in this area--the performance is blistering with Beck on guitar, Max Middleton on keyboards, and Cozy Powell on drums.

2. X’s “The New World”.....From the DVD X: Live in Los Angeles...This concert by this American punk-and-folk rock band was recorded in their hometown of L.A. in 2004 as a celebration of the twenty-fifth anniversary of their debut album Los Angeles.  The stand-out song of the moment is “The New World” which originally came from their 1983 album--the band’s fourth--More Fun In The New World, produced by ex-Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek.

3. Counting Crows’ “Anna Begins”.....From the DVD August And Everything After / Live At Town Hall...This 2011 DVD is the first official “live in concert” video release by the group, and it captures an innovative and accomplished rock band in its musical prime, aided immeasurably by the walking, stalking, ruminating, words-tumbling-forth style of lead singer Adam Duritz.  The performance consists of all songs, front-to-back, from their first album August And Everything After released in 1993...“Anna Begins” beautifully unfolds; it is like Theatre of the Mind--more precisely, a revealing and most melodious excursion into Duritz’s mind.





Posted 9/23/18.....

America:  A Tribute To Heroes (aired on television and the internet on September 21, 2001, and released on DVD & CD on December 4th of that year)





Posted 9/9/18.....

Stevie Wonder’s Live At Last (released in 2008)





Posted 8/26/18.....

Steely Dan:  Aja (released in 2006)




Posted 8/12/18: 

Abstract Logix Live!  The New Universe Music Festival (released in 2001)




Posted 7/29/18:  

Two concert DVDs that have at least a track each that are worth the price of admission to your music DVD collection:

Electric Light Orchestra:  Zoom Tour Live (released in 2001)

Calexico:  Live from Austin, Texas (released in 2009)




Posted 7/15/18:  

FILLMORE:  THE LAST DAYS.....(DVD released in 2009)





Posted 7/1/18:  

A COUPLE OF CONCERT DVD RELEASES BY FEMALE ARTISTS.....Here are two compelling women singer/songwriters in live performance...and my favorite track from each of their DVDs.

JEWEL.....from Live At Humphrey’s By The Bay.....released in 2002.

TORI AMOS.....from Welcome to Sunny Florida.....released in 2003.

Standout track:  “Cornflake Girl” (a song originally on 1994’s Under The Pink album).....The song takes a few minutes to actually commence.  After a couple of minutes of Amos talking to the audience, the song kicks off with a sinewy drum beat, bass, and then that piano...This is a superior performance captured in great “live” sound, and this three-piece unit rocks.  Amos has great command of her key instruments—her voice and her fingers.  The piano solos in this funky, rhythmic six-minute spectacle are intense, as Amos stands up from the piano bench and ignites the ivories.  Intoxicating...Seek it out...Enjoy!





Posted 6/17/18:  

A MusiCares Tribute to Neil Young.....(DVD released in 2011)

A friend alerted me to this DVD release that features 17 performances of Neil Young material and the artist line-up is eclectic and all over the map—true to the spirit of Mr. Young himself.  The roster includes Dave Matthews, Keith Urban, John Fogerty, Ozomatli, CSN, Lady Antebellum, Wilco, Ben Harper, Dierks Bentley, Elvis Costello, Josh Groban, and many others.

The MusiCares organization was first established in 1989 by the Recording Academy to benefit ailing and/or financially distressed musicians, and in 2010 boasted the largest number of clients served in its history—more than 2,200 members of the music industry had received needed funds via a grand total of more than $2.5 million in direct financial assistance.

Each year, the organization honors an individual in the business who, as the DVD liner notes say, “has made important contributions to the world of music and has demonstrated extraordinary humanitarian and philanthropic efforts.”

On the evening of January 29, 2010, Neil Young was feted at the MusiCares gala event in Los Angeles...One overarching comment here: Young is an amazing talent, and though I enjoyed the performances on this disc from his peer admirers, there’s simply nothing like taking journeys through the past with the man himself.

Musicasaurus.com’s recommended tracks:

1. “The Needle & The Damage Done”by Dave Matthews- It’s Dave unadorned, just solo acoustic (befitting the song).

2. “Ohio” by Ben Harper - Kind of a reinvention here by Harper...He has a slide guitar on his lap and he’s “zoned” into a passionate rendering with just three female vocalists as accompanists.   

3. “Helpless” by Elton John & Leon Russell - Perhaps the best of the lot...Elton and Leon are in fine form, facing each other, fingers flying over their ivories.  Guesting on the choruses are Sheryl Crow and Neko Case.

Musicasaurus.com’s honorable mentions, in several categories:

1. Quirky, Maybe Even Cool:  “Harvest Moon” by Josh Groban - Groban is playing piano, and the back-up musicians are perfectly in synch with all the right, light touches, but...but...it’s just a bit too much like a TV variety showkind of performance.  Groban does have the pipes, though.

2. Nice Try, but No Cigar:  “Rockin’ In The Free World” by Keith Urban and John Fogerty - Not that this is bad or embarrassing, there’s just not a real lift-off—and when you’ve seen Neil Young do this, or even Pearl Jam, it’s at a whole different level.

3. Best Dressed (couldn’t leave out this award; it’s L.A.):  Norah Jones, sleek and stunning in a black dress, sings “Tell Me Why” and it’s a near-perfect cover with that voice…Jones is accompanied by Sasha Dobson, a bandmate from one of her musical collaborations called Puss n Boots. 





Posted 6/3/18:  

Steve Hunter – Tone Poems Live...(DVD released in September 2014)





Posted 5/20/18:  

Jethro Tull – Nothing Is Easy: Live at the Isle of Wight 1970... (released in 2004 by Eagle Vision).




PLEASE NOTE!  Musicasaurus.com is on the run this part of the month, so there are no new posts until Sunday evening, May 20th in this DANCING WITH MR. D...VD section of the site...




Posted 4/22/18:  

(Next post:  Sunday evening, May 20, 2018)

Julia Fordham – That’s Live... (released in 2005 by Vanguard Records).




Posted 4/8/18:  

Legends Live At Montreux 1997 – Eric Clapton, Steve Gadd, Marcus Miller, Joe Sample and David Sanborn... (released in 2005 by Eagle Rock Entertainment).




Posted 3/25/18:

Rock ‘n’ Roll Party Honoring Les Paul – Jeff Beck... (released by Eagle Vision, 2010).




Posted 3/11/18: 

Spectacle – Elvis Costello With... (released to home video October 2011).




Posted 2/25/18: 

APPALACHIAN JOURNEY LIVE IN CONCERT – Yo-Yo Ma, Edgar Meyer, Mark O’Connor...Sony Classical (2000).




Posted 2/11/18: 

LIVE FROM ABBEY ROAD – Best of Season One...Fremantle Media Enterprises (2007).




Posted 1/29/18.....

One of television's music incubators, starting in 1975...

Saturday Night Live / 25 Years of Music / Performances and Sketches......released on DVD in 2003 (Warner Reprise Video)




Posted 1/15/18.....

Here’s a Double Shot of Required Viewings...And a Standout Track from each:

1.) LEON RUSSELL AND THE NEW GRASS REVIVAL (self-titled release)





Posted 1/1/18.....

I’ve got a one-track mind when it comes to certain DVDs.....so here ‘tis from the Coors, My Morning Jacket, and Ray Charles. 








12/18/17:  No posting this time in this DANCING WITH MR. D…VD section.

BUT THERE ARE brand new postings (as of 12/18/17) in the other sections of this website, in A DAY IN THE LIFE and in BUILDING A MIXTERY…



Posted 12/4/17.....

CLASSIC ROCK.....Various artists.....DVD released in 2007; Immortal IMM # 940959.

Trawling the fishing lanes for DVDs that are “out there” for purchase is both fun and frustrating.  Other purchasers’ reviews help, of course; this often gives you a sense of the artist execution, the production values, etc. as a guide to buying.  Sometimes, though, you have to take the plunge and buy something unseen and unheralded, like this classic rock collection imaginatively entitled Classic Rock (uh-oh; not much time spent by the curators on this product’s DVD title—be this trouble in paradise, right outta the box?!!)

The selections are for the most part recordings of classic rockers in concert, and the set includes full-song performances by the Allman Brothers Band (the later configuration), Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Kinks, Aerosmith, Rod Stewart, The Doors, and more...

Production is a mixed blessing track to track, and there are scant-to-no details on the actual performances’ dates or locations, but there are some undeniably great performances to appease the pure critic that lurks in most of us.  The brief DVD notes included with the package state that “an impressive number of these performances are not music videos but concert appearances shot on film and video, in certain cases with dexterity and clarity.”  Huh.  At least they hired a crafty liner-notes writer to smooth over the quality issues; gotta love that phrase “in certain cases.”

Musicasaurus.com’s recommended tracks: 




Posted 11/20/17.....

DAVID BOWIE.....A REALITY TOUR.....DVD released in 2004.




Posted 10/9/17.....


Special Edition of Dancing With Mr. D...VD:  As I was looking through the list of DVDs to review for this latest posting, I thought “Gee, why don’t I just grab a handful from the shelves and list a little clump of my collection?” 

And so below is brought to you by the letter “G”….




Posted 9/25/17.....

Tom Dowd & The Language of Music...released in 2003.

Gregg Allman’s death this past May was a tough one for musicasaurus.com…Although one can take some solace in knowing he’s with his brother Duane up above the blue sky, it’s still no consolation that down here on mother earth we’re now without that blues-soaked growl and that whirr of the Hammond B-3…

And so Allman’s ascension had me thinking about a certain DVD I’ve had in my stash for a while now, one from Palm Pictures, an independent film and music company started up in 1998 by Island Records company founder Chris Blackwell.  Tom Dowd & The Language of Music is a 90-minute documentary released on DVD in 2004, after premiering the year before at the Sundance Film Festival and being showcased later that same year at the Toronto International Film Festival.

The first time I ever encountered the name Tom Dowd was from the liner notes of the Allmans Brothers’ second album Idlewild South (1970)Dowd produced this record as well as the band’s subsequent release At Fillmore East, which to this day still spine-tingles listeners with its live-on-stage capture of a young, hungry band—all of ‘em just in their twenties—at the absolute peak of their powers.

I will let you uncover other revelations as you immerse yourself in this film, but here a few tantalizing bits to send you on your way to full discovery:





Posted 9/11/17.....

LIGHTNING IN A BOTTLE / A One Night History of The Blues.....DVD released in March 2005.




8/28/17:  No posting this time in this DANCING WITH MR. D…VD section.

BUT THERE ARE brand new postings (as of 8/28/17) in the other sections of this website, in A DAY IN THE LIFE and in BUILDING A MIXTERY…



Posted 8/14/17.....



So the Stones, who I’ve seen just a handful of times since they started visiting Pittsburgh (first stop was Westview Park, a no-longer amusement park just outside of the city), can be raw not in a good way, but other times pretty damn resplendent.

They descended upon Hyde Park in London in 2013, forty-four years after their first gig there when the concert equipment and sound system was just starting to become a business, with improvement and innovation still on the cusp.  Here in 2013 the Stones are blessed with good sound reproduction for the sake of the DVD, and their song performances are pretty stellar.

Highlights include an appearance of guitarist Mick Jones, who was in the Stones way back when, around the time of maybe the best chronological one-two-three punch in rock record history—Let It Bleed, Sticky Fingers and Exile On Main St.  Jones plays guitar in this Hyde Park 2014 set on “Midnight Rambler,” and he and harp-wailin’ Mick reach a couple of crescendos.

Also recommended:  “Miss You” and in the bonus section of the DVD, “Paint It Black” which is cool and comforting, seeing the band peel off a 51-year-old song of theirs infusing it with their accumulated experience.




Posted 7/31/17.....

FESTIVAL EXPRESS…released on DVD in 2004.

Here is a delicious flashback film to savor, which recounts a five-day train trip in 1970 across Canada—with pre-designated concert stops along the way—by ‘60s icons The Band, Janis Joplin, The Grateful Dead, Buddy Guy, Delaney & Bonnie and more.

Word has it that the performers who agreed to hop on board accepted lesser fees than normal from the enterprising promoters, lured in by the promise of musical camaraderie and the chance to party heartily (worrying not a whit about personal derailment) as the festival express took them from Toronto through Winnipeg to Calgary…

Somehow I missed the theater wide release of the film when it hit screens in the Fall of 2003, but since 2004 Festival Express has been available on DVD in a 2-disc package that contains the film, rare footage, and interviews about the 1970 trip—35 years on down the tracks—with Bob Weir, Phil Lesh and others.

I’ll have you know that the Tomatometer gives Festival Express a 96% rating, and I’ll also point you now to a cool source to lap up a more microscopic view of the train trip and its inhabitants—something called “Grateful Dead Sources; An Appendix to the Grateful Dead Guide.”  The site is a seemingly authoritative collection of articles, reviews, etc. on the early Grateful Dead, self-proclaimed as dipping quite heavily into dead.net clippings.

Here’s a quick example of the writing on this site: “Is this the bar car?” Janis asks, entering the room like an explosion, and everyone catches himself momentarily in an automatic reflex to the rocking of an imaginary train. Janis was the presiding spirit of this journey, the bacchanalian Little Red Riding Hood with her bag full of tequila and lemons, lurching from car to car like some tropical bird with streaming feathers, defying the sun to interrupt our revels with another day.”

For the DVD, go to Amazon.  To become a true fly on the wall, dig deeper into the aforementioned Grateful Dead Sources’ blogpost:  http://deadsources.blogspot.com/2013/07/junejuly-1970-festival-express.html




Posted 7/17/17.....

THESE ARE CURRENTLY ON MUSICASAURUS.COM’S WISH LIST FOR PURCHASE…but that doesn’t mean they’ll ultimately be in the collection.  Need more time for research and reflection…


A full-length concert from Gregg with a solo band (including Dan Toler on guitar) recorded in Nashville in November 1988.  The disc contains the title track, “Statesboro Blues,” and, according to one Amazon.com reviewer who’s seen it, a “lot of mullets.”


This performance was filmed on April 30, 2003 in Memphis, and is an all-star assemblage of stirring soul singers gathered up for one great evening to commemorate the grand opening of the Stax Museum of American Soul Music.  Performers include Percy Sledge, Isaac Hayes, Al Green, Booker T. & The MGs, Mavis Staples, and many more.


This is a collection spanning at least ten years worth of musical collaborations between Luciano Pavarotti and assorted superstars including Sting, Bono and The Edge, Eric Clapton, Celine Dion, The Eurythmics, Elton John, Frank Sinatra, Sting—and the incredible James Brown, who pairs with Pav on “It’s A Man’s Man’s Man’s World.”


Primal Scream is a British band born in ’82, and they have dabbled deliciously in indie stuff, garage rock, psychedelic music and dance.  1991’s Screamadelica was a commercial breakthrough for them, and this 2010 concert at London’s Olympia was the first time that the band performed the whole album live.




Posted 7/3/17.....


Musicasaurus.com was recently curious about what a few of music and/or film-oriented publications felt might be the BEST EVER concert films—according to their readers.


Position / Film Title / Artist / Release Date

10. Bullet In A Bible – Green Day (2005)

 9.  Sign O’ The Times – Prince (1987)

 8.  Shine A Light – The Rolling Stones (2008)

 7.  Live At Pompeii – Pink Floyd (1972)

 6.  Gimme Shelter – The Rolling Stones (1970)

 5.  Rattle And Hum – U2 (1988)

 4.  Woodstock (1970)

 3.  Stop Making Sense – Talking Heads (1984)

 2.  The Song Remains The Same – Led Zeppelin (1976)

 1.  The Last Waltz – The Band (1978)


THE VILLAGE VOICE (NYC’s premiere alternative weekly) FROM FEBRUARY 2013:

Position / Film Title / Artist / Release Date

10. Live At Red Rocks/Under A Blood Red Sky – U2 (1984)

 9.  Awesome!  I F*ckin’ Shot That! – Beastie Boys (2006)

 8.  Shine A Light – The Rolling Stones (2008)

 7.  Monterey Pop (1968)

 6.  Dave Chappelle’s Block Party (2005)

 5.  Concert For George – Eric Clapton, Jeff Lynne & Friends (2003)

 4.  Fade To Black – Jay-Z (2004)

 3.  Woodstock (1970)

 2.  Stop Making Sense – Talking Heads (1984)

 1.  The Last Waltz – The Band (1978)


INDIEWIRE.COM (a film industry and review website launched in 1996) FROM JULY 2014:

Position / Film Title / Artist / Release Date

10. Heima – Sigur Rós (2007)

 9.  Ziggy Stardust & The Spiders From Mars – David Bowie (1973)

 8.  T.A.M.I. Show – Various artists including the Beach Boys, James Brown,

      Marvin Gaye, the Rolling Stones and others (1964)

 7.  Gimme Shelter – The Rolling Stones (1970)

 6.  MTV Unplugged in New York - Nirvana (1993)

 5.  Awesome!  I F*ckin’ Shot That! – Beastie Boys (2006)

 4.  Woodstock (1970)

 3.  Dave Chappelle’s Block Party – Various artists including Mos Def, The

      Fugees, Erykah Badu, Common, The Roots, Kanye West and others (2005)

 2.  The Last Waltz – The Band (1978)

 1.  Stop Making Sense – Talking Heads (1984)




Posted 6/19/17.....

Here’s a guilty pleasure that I took a chance on, one rainy day with a laptop and money to spend on Amazon.com...

It is a compilation DVD of mostly classic rock bands, and the product’s front cover advertised it as “22 Original Rare TV Recordings”—which is enough right there to scare some people away.  Yep—sometimes these DVD’s are shoddy as sh*t, and just lying in wait for a trusting soul to take the leap.  In the end it was perhaps worth the purchase, and here’s why:

LET IT ROCK...22 Original Rare TV Recordings...released in 2002 by Classic Pictures Entertainment.




Posted 5/30/17.....


The individuals in this New Orleans rhythm & blues “family band” were all independently musically active through the 1960s, and it wasn’t until 1977 that the Neville Brothers—Aaron, Art, Charles and Cyril—combined as one.  Their first self-titled release came out in 1978, but it took until 1989’s Yellow Moon album (produced by Daniel Lanois) for the rest of the country to really waken to their talents in larger numbers.

This concert DVD, recorded live at Storyville Jazz Hall in New Orleans, is a showcase of the Nevilles’ deep roots and road-built musical prowess, and it also illustrates their allure to an incredible batch of A-list artists who all showed up to be a part of this time capsule performance:  The tragically just-departed Gregg Allman (he passed away on Saturday, May 27, 2017), Jimmy Buffett, The Dixie Cups, John Hiatt, Bonnie Raitt, Buckwheat Zydeco, Herbie Hancock, and even Ed Bradley from CBS’ Television’s Sixty Minutes (and of course the tune he does with the Nevilles is “Sixty Minute Man”).

Musicasaurus.com’s recommended tracks: 




Posted 5/15/17.....

20 Feet From Stardom.....2013 Oscar-winning Documentary available now on Netflix, home DVD, etc.

“Well, I’m at home at about 12–I’d say about 11:30, almost 12 o’clock at night. And I’m hunkered down in my bed with my husband, very pregnant, and we got a call from a dear friend of mine and producer named Jack Nitzsche. Jack Nitzsche called and said ‘you know, Merry, are you busy?’ I said ‘No, I’m in bed.’ He says, ‘well, you know, there are some guys in town from England. And they need someone to come and sing a duet with them, but I can’t get anybody to do it. Could you come?’ He said ‘I really think this would be something good for you.’”...

(Musicasaurus.com’s interjected comment here):  So Mary, who was tired, pregnant, and had NO idea who the Rolling Stones were, gets out of bed and rushes down to their studio where she first runs into Keith Richards, who explains what they would like her to do: 

“I said, ‘Well, play the track. It’s late. I’d love to get back home.’ So they play the track and tell me that I’m going to sing–‘this is what you’re going to sing: Oh, children, it’s just a shot away.’ It had the lyrics for me. I said, ‘Well, that’s cool.’ So I did the first part, and we got down to the rape, murder part. And I said, ‘Why am I singing rape, murder?’…So they told me the gist of what the lyrics were, and I said ‘Oh, okay, that’s cool.’ So then I had to sit on a stool because I was a little heavy in my belly. I mean, it was a sight to behold. And we got through it. And then we went in the booth to listen, and I saw them hooting and hollering while I was singing, but I didn’t know what they were hooting and hollering about. And when I got back in the booth and listened, I said, ‘Ooh, that’s really nice.’ They said, ‘well, You want to do another?’  I said, ‘well, I’ll do one more,’ I said ‘and then I’m going to have to say thank you and good night.’ I did one more, and then I did one more. So it was three times I did it, and then I was gone. The next thing I know, that’s history.”






5/1/17:  No posting this time in this DANCING WITH MR. D…VD section--BUT THERE ARE brand new postings in the other sections of this website, in A DAY IN THE LIFE and in BUILDING A MIXTERY…



Posted 4/17/17.....

The Wrecking Crew – distributed by Magnolia Pictures…initial wide release in March 2015.

In a review of this documentary in the March 12, 2015 edition of the Los Angeles Times, the publication’s film critic Kenneth Turan started out his assessment this way: 

“To Beach Boys guru Brian Wilson, ‘they were the ones with all the spirit and all the know-how.’ To Nancy Sinatra, they were ‘unsung heroes,’ to Herb Alpert, ‘an established groove machine.’ And to celebrated songwriter Jimmy Webb, they were simply ‘stone cold rock and roll professionals.’

"If the history of rock music means anything to you, you know the individuals in question could only be the Wrecking Crew, a legendary group of Los Angeles-based studio musicians, and though their story has taken decades to reach the screen, it has been worth the wait.”

So…“a legendary group of Los-Angeles-based studio musicians,” saith Kenneth?  Uh, UNDERSTATEMENT.  The Wrecking Crew, a periodically assembled core group of between 15-20 versatile musicians in Southern California, were responsible for literally hundreds and hundreds of pop masterpieces throughout the 1960s and very early 1970s—and remained largely unheralded until this documentary set the record straight.

The hold-up, really, on this recognition stemmed from a wrangling over music rights to be able to tell the full story.  Initial efforts to make the film began in 1996 and it wasn’t completed until 2008 when it finally debuted at SXSW (South by Southwest), Austin’s long-running and prestigiously hip film and music festival.  Lacking the funds to secure the music licensing, the producers could only ply the festival circuit back then versus mounting a full-scale theater release, but by 2013 they came up with funding streams that ultimately unshackled them and the film finally saw release in theaters in March of 2015.

The documentary consists of interviews of Wrecking Crew principals including Tommy Tedesco, the father of the film’s director Denny Tedesco, who obviously was deep into a labor of love.  You NEED to check out this film, and I’ll leave you now with a list that will get you primed for this story of these quite ready for primetime players—some of the pop radio classics from that ‘60s-‘70s era that the Wrecking Crew arranged and played on.




Posted 4/3/17.....

Airplay:  The Rise and Fall of Rock Radio.....a documentary released in September 2013; written and directed by Chris Gilson & Carolyn Travis.

1.)  As seen on PBS, this revelatory tale begins with the early days of AM Radio in the U.S.A., and the impact that early disc jockeys—and their pioneering playlists of rhythm & blues “race records”—had on the American music scene and society at large. 

2.)  Those interviewed include the regional disc jockeys from the late 1950s and early 1960s who first championed black music to their listening audiences--Dick Biondi, “Cousin Brucie” Morrow, Wolfman Jack and Casey Kasem, among others.  There is also footage of deejay Alan Freed, who organized the first shower-of-stars type concerts that brought out fans across the color lines.

3.)  Note:  There is a web companion piece to this documentary, which you can access by going to www.theairplaychannel.com, and here you’ll find information on the formative on-air jocks who broke ground and broke down barriers, including Pittsburgh’s own Porky Chedwick (2/4/18 - 3/2/14), who spun his sounds beginning in 1948.  Porky—the self-described “Daddio of the Raddio”—was the first white deejay on the Eastern Seaboard to air exclusively rhythm & blues, and he helped launch the careers of Bo Diddley, Little Anthony, and Smokey Robinson.

4.)  Also covered in the documentary:  The payola scandal which kneed Freed to the ground...the rise of the Top Forty format and FM radio...the effect of corporate influence...and the birth of satellite radio.






3/20/17:  No posting this time in this DANCING WITH MR. D…VD section--BUT THERE ARE brand new postings in the other sections of this website, in A DAY IN THE LIFE and in BUILDING A MIXTERY…



Posted 3/6/17.....

Sometimes when shopping online at Amazon, tempting as many items are, it feels good to just “park” some stuff in the Wish List so that uh, I can buy groceries or pay my community sewage bill on-time. 

So here are a few items that don’t have musicasaurus.com’s official stamp of approval; they’re just lingering in limbo until my $hip Come$ in.....or until my birthday rolls around again.


1. Chris Robinson and Rich Robinson / Brothers Of A Feather - Live At The Roxy.....released on DVD in 2007.

2. Return To Forever / The Mothership Returns - A 2 CD and 1 DVD set.....released in 2012.




Posted 2/20/17.....

SOUNDBREAKING / Stories from the Cutting Edge of Recorded Music (2016 PBS television series)

Here’s a gem if you missed it during its premier broadcast on PBS last year.  It’s available now on DVD in a four-disc set containing all eight episodes, and one doesn’t have to be a music insider to appreciate this march toward creative freedom and innovation in the world of music production.

Interest level is maintained throughout because of the masterful editing and the “sound content”—landmark recordings dissected gleefully by hands-on producers like George Martin (the “fifth Beatle” at all Abbey Road recording sessions) and Rick Rubin (who benevolently nurtured disparate artists from the Beastie Boys and Public Enemy to Neil Diamond and late-career Johnny Cash)…a multitude of artist interviews including Eric Clapton, Paul McCartney, Devo, Ben Harper, Roger Waters, Dr. Dre, Brian Eno, Nile Rodgers, The Black Keys and Annie Lennox…and a fascinating look, of course, at the initial springboard of recording technology in the 1960s and the innovations that followed, fueled by tech, trends and artistic creativity. 

It’s all here…rock, rap, MTV, disco, Dylan-gone-electric, EDM, sampling, streaming, and what’s bubbling up (hold onto the handrails).

A great collection, vetted by musicasaurus.com and his non-music industry couch mate, who was used as the “control” in this viewing experiment and whose enthusiasm jumped the baseline into something close to awe…





Posted 2/6/17.....

Amnesty International Presents RELEASED! The Human Rights Concerts 1986-1998 - A 2008 MVD Entertainment Group release




Posted 1/23/17.....

Here’s a way for you to pick up a great DVD and support PBS at the same time:  Go to this website— http://www.shoppbs.org/home/index.jsp—and lay your $$ down.  You’ll be getting a real find from the underground—the DVD of The Best of Bluegrass Underground, Volume 2. 

This compilation, from a taping 333 feet below the surface in Tennessee’s 32-mile long Cumberland Caverns, holds performances household names in the Bluegrass realm, and some a bit more recognizable.  The concert area proper is called the Volcano Room amphitheater and the acoustics are marvelous.

The Volume 2 Best Of DVD features a fairly wide-ranging bunch of artists, old and new, including Leon Russell, Lucinda Williams, Old Crow Medicine Show, North Mississippi Allstars, Jason Isbell, Del McCoury Band, The Civil Wars, David Grisman FolkJazz Trio, and more.

The highlight of the line-up is a performance by Andrew Bird entitled “Danse Caribe” (originally from the 2012 album Break It Yourself).  A four-piece acoustic band (inclusive of Byrd) is poised and pitch perfect on the instrumentation as well as on voice.  Eyes closed, lead singer Byrd absolutely swings with the flow of the four-piece's perfectly nailed notes.  https://youtu.be/zDYvk3OP1wY





1/9/17:  No posting this time in the DANCING WITH MR. D…VD section, but there ARE brand new postings as of Monday, January 9, 2017 in the other sections, A DAY IN THE LIFE and BUILDING A MIXTERY…



Posted 12/26/16.....

Let’s set the stage:  Cream rises to the top in ‘66, but then things go sour in ’68 and the band members go their separate ways...Thirty-seven years later they return to the Royal Albert Hall, the site of their original farewell performance.

And so whadda we got?  Two in-concert DVDs from Cream that are years and worlds apart.  One is beautifully captured in sound and vision, and the band exudes a tremendous power that is almost transformative---and then we have the 1968 DVD.


Both of these DVDs--Cream / Royal Albert Hall / May 2-3-5-6, 2005, and Cream Farewell Concert / November 28, 1968--were released simultaneously in October 2005, but by different DVD companies.  With all of the hoo-ha over the Cream 2005 reunion show, the distributors of the other DVD must have had a carpe diem-for-dollars moment, and pushed that unpolished puppy “out there” for the unsuspecting fans who were still all aglow.

The 2005 performance is uniformly praised.  As elder rock statesmen at that point, they were still far from wizened though age had taken its toll a bit in mobility (take note of Jack Bruce in particular, who parks his butt on a heightened stool every now and again while playing).  The music, though?  Better than you would have ever dreamed.

But the 1968 DVD is lacking, and thankfully I checked Amazon.com reviews before jumping on that purchase-frenzy bandwagon:

1.)  The lead-off Editorial Review on Amazon.com, before the reader review section - by Sam Graham:

“Cream's 2005 reunion (after a mere 37 years apart) was big news and a very hot ticket.  But anyone wondering what the fuss was all about is unlikely to get much enlightenment from Cream - Farewell Concert.  The trio's (guitarist Eric Clapton, bass player Jack Bruce, and drummer Ginger Baker) November 1968 gig at London's Royal Albert Hall, the same venue chosen for their reunion, may have been a spectacular display of their instrumental virtuosity and legendary improvisational skills, but you'd never know it from this sub-par document.  The sound has been digitally remastered, but the audio is still a turgid sonic sludge.  The visuals are even worse, with director Tony Palmer jerking the camera around as if this were an episode of NYPD Blue, layering the picture with dated and distracting psychedelic light effects, and providing far too many close-ups of Bruce's teeth (and almost no wide shots of the entire band).”

2.)  Amazon reader review of Cream Farewell Concert / November 28, 1968 - by reader Studebacher Hoch:

“Cream was a great band.  Their importance and influence in the rock world (and jazz and blues, too) can't be over-stated.  I love these guys.  Having said that, I must warn anybody who isn't aware of this movie - that it is one of the most horrible botch jobs in the history of rock documentaries.  I think everybody from the director to the camera to the sound must have been awfully stoned.  If you want to see a movie featuring Jack Bruce's acne scars with psych-ay-dell-ik sperm overlays crowding the frame, and almost unlistenable muddled sound in the background, then this film is for you.  Or perhaps you'd like to see the camera zoom in and out on Clapton's nose to the movement of his wah-wah pedal...I read in an interview that Clapton was so incensed when he saw this botch of a movie that he actually went looking for (director) Tony Palmer.  I can only hope he found him and soundly kicked his ass.”

Parting note:  I may now get creamed by other readers who have purchased the 1968 performance DVD and who absolutely love it.  But I believe they may be somewhat blind (and deaf) to the imperfections as described by certainly more than a handful of Amazon purchasers.

In any event, fair warning---read the postings of Those Who Have Led The Charge, for they may save you Dollars and Disappointment.




Posted 12/12/16.....

B.E. Taylor Christmas / Live at Heinz Hall.....recorded over two nights in December 2009, and released on DVD in 2010…..Available on betaylor.com.

This posting is in memoriam to a truly gifted artist and a wonderful human being…B.E. Taylor passed away in August of this year.

For those who ever saw B.E. in concert during the Christmas holiday season, suddenly nothing else could compare (back to Siberia, TSO; move over, Mannheim).  The show was a perfect blend of holiday tunes with a far-from-cliché, powerful and pointed rock ‘n’ roll overhaul.  The songs were masterful reinventions of traditional Christmas songs, and the musicians that backed B.E., including the effervescent Santa-capped Rick Witkowski on guitar, were flawless in their execution.  This was a band whose amped-up joy just flowed from the stage. 

For just shy of twenty years running, the B.E. Taylor Christmas concert played annually to over 40,000 total fans in the Pennsylvania-Ohio-West Virginia area and beyond those borders as well.  In Pittsburgh, the show long ago grew into a successful two-night stand at Heinz Hall, with both annual performances at this 2,600+ capacity venue selling out.

I had seen the show countless times over the years since the phenomenon first sparked to life in Wheeling’s Capitol Music Hall in 1996.  It became a family tradition for the Musicasauruses, and we happily joined the like-minded throng of converts who all took up the banner that “It ain’t really Christmas ‘til B.E. comes to town.”

As you can tell, I was baptized into the B.E. experience and with this particular artist’s passing, I am more than ever duty bound to proselytize!  Musicasaurus.com can guarantee you a multi-leveled holiday satisfaction if you purchase this DVD.  If you like rock music filled with emotion, power, and heft, and can imagine it expertly applied to time-honored holiday tunes, this B.E. Taylor Christmas DVD will become a tradition in your home as well.

Full-song performances on the DVD: 

  1. Away In A Manger / Do You Hear What I Hear
  2. Little Town Of Bethlehem
  3. We Three Kings
  4. Feel The Love Of Christmas (a B.E. Taylor original composition)
  5. Mary Did You Know
  6. What Child Is This
  7. Light Of The Stable
  8. Emanuel / O Come All Ye Faithful
  9. It Came Upon A Midnight Clear
  10.  Hark The Herald Angels Sing
  11.  God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
  12. The Great I Am
  13. Joy To The World
  14. O Holy Night
  15. I Saw Three Ships
  16. Silent Night
  17. Mary’s Boy Child

Happy Holidays...Enjoy.  http://www.betaylor.com