Most helpful positive review
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
energetic and eclectic
on February 19, 2007
'Supershow' certainly has its limitations, but for fans of Eric Clapton, Buddy Guy, Roland Kirk, or Stephen Stills, this DVD is a must-see, and I suspect for many a must-own. The fifteen tracks I count are dominated by Buddy Guy, Buddy Miles, Roland Kirk and Jon Hiseman's Colosseum, all of whom perform solo, in various combinations with one another, and as backing musicians for other performers such as Stephen Stills and Glenn Campbell (prior to his emergence as a country and western performer) performing the hard-driving 'Bad Hat' with The Misunderstood. Also featured are two tracks from The Modern Jazz Quartet. An earlier release of this 1969, two day 'festival' at the Linoleum Factory near London on VHS also included a performance by Led Zeppelin, which has apparently been edited out of 'Supershow' for use on another Led Zeppelin DVD. The credits which conclude this DVD also list a performance of 'Crossroads' by Stills, Miles, and Dallas Taylor, and a rendition of 'I Say a Little Prayer' by Roland Kirk. Those tracks apparently lie on a cutting room floor somewhere.
While it is true that the mono soundtrack for these performances is less than dazzling in an era of digital perfection, those of us who grew up with scratchy, skipping vinyl albums will understand what this is all about. Even for 1969 the production appears low budget. Most of these performers, even the 'big names' like Stills and Clapton, were still relatively new on the scene, and were looking to pad their portfolio. It was also an era where superstars attempted to form supergroups, such as Stills' earlier excursion with Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper on 'Super Session' in 1968. I suppose the most 'super' pairing that came out of 'Supershow' was the first meeting between Buddy Guy and Eric Clapton, and there is brief, perhaps historic footage tacked on the end of the recording of the two blues artists trading licks in what appears to be a rehearsal session.
The music on 'Supershow' is eclectic, to say the least. While the Modern Jazz Quartet serves up jazz-lite, dominated by piano and vibes on 'Under the Jasmine Tree' and 'Visitors From Venus', it is the Roland Kirk Quartet that take jazz to unfathomable avant-garde reaches with 'Primitive Ohio' and while jamming with Buddy Miles and Eric Clapton on 'Slate 27' and Buddy Guy and Jack Bruce on a 'Stormy Monday/Kansas City' medley. It's extraordinary to watch many of these artists transfer their talents from one genre to the next.
Buddy Guy puts his exquisite talents on display several times, appearing as James Brown with a mean guitar on the fourth track, 'Mary Had a Little Lamb', also featuring Buddy Miles and Jack Bruce. Track six features Miles and Guy on 'Checking On My Baby' and 'Texas Blues', and on track nine we're treated to a solo performance of 'Hoochie Kootchie Man' on acoustic guitar. Guy, Miles, and Bruce show up once again on track twelve, serving up electric blues on 'My Time After a While'.
While it is true that Stephen Stills' contribution, relative to Kirk, Guy, and Miles, is "negligible", he absolutely blows the tin roof off the Factory with his electric rendition of 'Black Queen', tapping the talents of Jack Bruce on bass, Buddy Miles on drums, and Colosseum's horn section. It's absolutely devestating, and a rare film look at Stills pre-1970. Stephen also appears along with Buddy Miles (vocals) and Jack Bruce on 'Love Potions', the second number offered. Jon Hiseman's Colosseum round out the performances, delivering the first song along with the opening credits, and 'Debut' on track ten.
This is an easy one for audiophiles and film buffs to rip on, but those who complain about aspect ratios, sound quality, and the "atrotious editing" (actually the product of the swift juxtaposition of genres for effect) are missing it. For people who came of age in this era, 'Supershow' is an opportunity to re-experience the feel of perhaps the most experimental age in recorded music. It is also an opportunity to see some of the seminal figures of the psychedelic era on the cusp of superstardom. So don't be dissuaded by the naysayers who would reduce the value of a recording to how grainy the video is, or how clean the sound quality is. Aside from imperfections often inherent in the technology of the era, 'Supershow' lives up to its name.