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47 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Am I Dreaming?
I have to pinch myself to prove I'm not dreaming - I still can hardly believe such a recording exists. I've rated Traffic as one of my top bands since the mid Seventies - but living in a backwater in the middle of Africa I knew of nobody else who liked this band, so it continued as my little secret until the Internet age and I found out there were other people out there...
Published on November 29, 2008 by E. J. Ryan

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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Exactly Rush Hour Traffic...
I know, I know, almost every other reviewer loves this dvd and, while I did enjoy and appreciate it, it lacks on many levels. I apologize in advance for not writing what most will want to hear, but I call 'em like I see (and hear) 'em.

The Pros: For the time era, the camera angles are on the money, meaning that the shots are on who they're supposed to be on...
Published 20 months ago by 4-Legged Defender


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47 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Am I Dreaming?, November 29, 2008
This review is from: Traffic: Live at Santa Monica (DVD)
I have to pinch myself to prove I'm not dreaming - I still can hardly believe such a recording exists. I've rated Traffic as one of my top bands since the mid Seventies - but living in a backwater in the middle of Africa I knew of nobody else who liked this band, so it continued as my little secret until the Internet age and I found out there were other people out there who had the same taste as me.

I own everything by Traffic (which unfortunately isn't much) but I've never read up anything on the band or done any research whatsoever (well, thinking nobody else liked the band) and had never even heard of this recording until I accidentally came across it listed on Amazon just a few weeks ago. How to get it became a bit of an issue as Amazon no longer mails packages to South Africa (where I now live) because the thieving bastards in this country's post office steal foreign packages.

I finally twigged to get it from UK and got to listen to one of my top bands in their prime. I have the Traffic Jam DVD, which is itself outstanding but in a completely different way to this no-frills performance. I like to see bands both in their prime, and preferably young looking, and this recording fits the bill on all counts. What I don't like is backup singers, a brass section and alternative guitarists and drummers, or MTV-style editing.

I tend to suffer from incurable over-expectation - I've been disappointed by so many live recordings, not necessarily because they're bad, but just hyped up in these reviews. Not so with this one. One couldn't ask for anything different.

I usually also have had enough of one band after an hour or so - and this was one of the few that I REALLY wished there was more to watch at the end.

A few observations:
* I was amazed at the role of Jim Capaldi, which was negligible, and don't know what to make of it. In this case, there WAS a replacement drummer.
* I expected Steve Winwood to look all geeky and gawpy (based on photos on album covers), but he looked quite the virile rock star.
* For all his lack of stage activity, I believe Steve has an amazing presence. I bought Eric Clapton's Crossroads just for the Steve Winwood section - whenever he's on stage the performance is just amazing, which makes it all the harder to explain why his solo music is so average (on a par with Phil Collins in my estimation).
* The only below-average song I thought was John Barleycorn. It's one of my favourite songs and for the first half I though his voice was weak. But he changed gear and ended on a real high note. Mr Fantasy was a highlight for me, as it always is. Makes my hair stand on end.

No Traffic fan should be permitted to be without this recording.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Traffic Steve Winwood !, November 21, 2008
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This review is from: Traffic: Live at Santa Monica (DVD)
This is a GREAT concert! A must for anyone who loves Traffic or Steve Winwood. Traffic was the first original Jam BAND. This is the only professional shot video of Traffic with Steve & Chris & and Jim Capaldi. The later dvd Traffic Jam is great as well but doesn't have the great late Chris Wood.
This concert really sounds as good as they did on the studio records! They are jamming on every tune . I wish they would release more of this concert because they recorded much more than the 10 tunes here. Oh well. Maybe someday. All of us Traffic fans know that their isn't a lot of extra recordings out their. I know that Steve has talked about the studio and live out takes, but still today they haven't seen the light of day. Cris Woods wife say's she has found stuff that is REALLY great. Maybe someday we will get more. But that is even more reason why you should buy this concert! Traffic is and was the one of the very best bands ever. 1967- 1974.
Steve Winwood's playing and singing here as good as ever. To get to see Traffic with this line up is very special. The band is very tight. Who cares if Steve doesn't jump around or as someone here said his stage presences was not that great! All Steve ever cared about was playing killer music. He plays over 12 different instruments! His voice is like no one else. And yes today he still can wail and play as good as he did when he was 15 years old with The Spencer Davis Group!
40,000 Headman and Freedom Rider and many other of Traffic's great songs are on here. Winwood's guitar playing is under rated. . He sadly never got credit for how wonderful he could play the guitar. He just builds and builds, never a wasted note. Rebop is something else to see here. All the musicians here are playing their hearts out! Very hippie style 1960s clothes and a lot of fun the see and hear again and again.
I am the biggest fan of Winwood and his band Traffic and I know you will love this so buy it while you see a chance take it!
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Exactly Rush Hour Traffic..., June 30, 2013
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This review is from: Traffic: Live at Santa Monica (DVD)
I know, I know, almost every other reviewer loves this dvd and, while I did enjoy and appreciate it, it lacks on many levels. I apologize in advance for not writing what most will want to hear, but I call 'em like I see (and hear) 'em.

The Pros: For the time era, the camera angles are on the money, meaning that the shots are on who they're supposed to be on WHEN they're supposed to be on. When someone solos, the camera's right there focusing on that player, unlike most concert footage from that era (think Don Kirschner as an example of getting it all wrong). Bravo. In addition, useless audience shots are dismissed, which makes this a treasure for that alone (again, think Don K.).

Nearly every song from the magnificent 'John Barleycorn' album is played, which was a seminal LP of the 70's. 'Low Spark' is also included, another fave of mine. The only two additional tracks are '40 Thousand Headmen' and 'Dear Mr. Fantasy', staples from their formative Dave Mason-era days, when they were still a psych-rock act and hadn't yet embraced the laid back folk and jazzier realm represented here.

The Cons: Unfortunately, this is more like watching a rehearsal than a concert - the audience is never addressed, thanked, or spoken to - they're ignored completely. There's not even one "And for our next tune..." nada, zip, zilch.
It's one thing to see artists totally absorbed in what they're doing, but being completely dismissive of those who paid to see you play is another matter altogether. There's no connection whatsoever between audience and artists, and this makes certain moments uncomfortable.

The band isn't even playing for each other (which would make ignoring the audience tolerable, like when you watch a Miles Davis concert) - every principal player is in his own world and never looks at, interacts with or acknowledges his bandmates at any point - it's every man for himself. Distressing.

Audio is weak - Winwood's voice, which tends to be thin and reedy live, is not all that audible over the other players when it needs to be. The opening vocal line to '40 Thousand Headmen' is ruined entirely by harsh feedback, and his vocal delivery on 'John Barleycorn' leaves much to be desired. He never breaks a sweat or emotes one iota. He's not belting it out the way he could on, let's say, 'Gimme Gimme Good Lovin', 'Can't Find My Way Home' or 'Had To Cry Today' as just some examples of what he was capable of, that's for sure. Bummer.

As great as the material is, the band is self-confined to a slow simmer all night, and at no point comes to a full boil until 'Dear Mr. Fantasy', which is a friggin' shame - these tunes deserve better. And Winwood's guitar playing also left me wanting more, both in tone and substance. Truth be told, the best performance is by Rebop, the newly hired yet essential gun in the band.

Don't get my criticisms wrong, this is still worth checking out, mainly due to the lack of footage available from this legendary group, let alone at this juncture, but after reading all the 5 star reviews, I thought I had stumbled onto the video Holy Grail for Traffic fans. 'Not the case, but due to the lack of there being much better around the marketplace, we'll have to take what we can get. Not exactly rush-hour Traffic, but still a smooth, laid-back Traffic jam. 3 1/2 stars.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Glad" to see this out on DVD (finally), December 7, 2008
This review is from: Traffic: Live at Santa Monica (DVD)
This has been a long time in coming to DVD - given the absence of 'vintage' Traffic on DVD ( i don't even know if any footage is available of the 'original' 4 man lineup), this will have to suffice - but it's completely worth having. I wish it ran more than 65 minutes. The musicianship is excellent - Winwood is nothing short of amazing, playing keys and guitar (and this guy can PLAY guitar - not a lot of people realize just how good he is). The lineup is the latter-version of Traffic (w/ Hood and Hawkins, plus Reebop, in addition to Wood/Capaldi/Winwood), that played on the last few albums of theirs. Performances are very good; picture quality is typical early-70's videotape source (this has some picture flutters that look like master problems, typical of tech limitations/age, but nothing major). Sound is very good (it says you can listen in 5.1 simulated on the case, but i played it in straight 2-channel and it was good sound; i'm not into 'simulated' 5.1). If you're into Traffic/Winwood, you'll want this DVD.

Interesting fact: Taylor Hackford was the producer on this (according to the end credits). Must've been some early pre-feature work of his?
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Review is for the new DVD, not the old VHS tape!, October 11, 2008
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This review is from: Traffic: Live at Santa Monica (DVD)
Considering this was shot in 1972 the video quality is excellent (4:3). Nice sharp (close-up) images with longer shots a little muddled as to be expected with only a few spotlights running during the show. Audio is in its original stereo and sounds OK to pretty good. The performance is stellar but a little short (64 Minutes). It's got a really cool trippy film section about half way through. Far-out. If you like the music of Traffic - get it while you can.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Traffic, December 26, 2009
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This review is from: Traffic: Live at Santa Monica (DVD)
Wonderful record of a wonderful (and rare) live performance by one of the most multi-talented bands of the era. Rock, jazz, blues, british folk, fusion at its best. And a chance to see Steve Winwood at one of his creative peaks. Highly recommended.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a find, December 11, 2008
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This review is from: Traffic: Live at Santa Monica (DVD)
I have to agree with all the reviewers here. I saw that this DVD was from 1972 and bought it with absolutely no trepidation. It has 3 songs from Low Spark, 3 from John Barleycorn and 40,000 Headmen and Mr. Fantasy. Superb setlist. Good DVD considering the year and the limited audio and visual capabilities then. Absolutely agree that this is a must for any Traffic or Steve Winwood fan.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Traffic: Live At Santa Monica, August 25, 2011
This review is from: Traffic: Live at Santa Monica (DVD)
This is a techinical review, folks....On how this DVD was originally created. I am very fortunate to have a 1st generation digital copy from the ORIGINAL master tape. 5 Sony D2 machines were ran when the transfer was done, and well, one of them is in my personal tape vault along with the BetaCam SP's. Betacam SP machines were ran for safety reasons and general viewing for the brass at Universal and Island. Original transfers from the master tape were done back in April of 1998 at Cineram in Alabama. Since the original master was a composite format,2" quadruplex, it made sense to archive the master to an uncompressed composite digital format such as D2 for future use at the time. So, what you are watching on your DVD is from one of these D2 copies. The video quality is quite good, considering the time frame was early 70's technology, finicky 2" quadruplex video tape machines and tube video cameras. This is why when you see a pan or a camera move, you see what us engineers call a "comet tail". Basically a momentarily "burn" in the pickup tube of the camera. Totally unavoidable with tube cameras of that era. That never seemed to bother me at all. Now the audio is marginal quality, with half of the show in mono and some parts in stereo. I could never find out why this was done. I never could get a straight answer if a multi-track audio tape was made and if it survived all these years. For the DVD release, it would have been nice to have it for a good audio re-mix to go with the video. But overall this is a DVD I plan on adding to my collection just to see how it looks along side my first gen dub from the original master. This is a rare glimpse into Traffic playing live, and I doubt that any other GOOD footage of the band survived and is out there available to the public. So if you are a Traffic fan, just get the DVD and forget about the technical gemlins that were common to early 70's video and just sit back and enjoy the smoking performance.....Its well worth it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Steve Winwood & Traffic (+ a different drummer), October 14, 2009
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This review is from: Traffic: Live at Santa Monica (DVD)
It was my good fortune to have seen Traffic at Winterland in S.F.in the same year ('72). As then , Winwood was not very exciting to watch as a performer but the music speaks for itself. (Its too bad that Jim Capaldi doesn't take the drum set & relies on singing & percussion.) Jim Gordon was the often used drummer, but to this day his story is a sad one. Look up his story on Google....and hopefully he'll come home someday. The concert itself is just great: editing, performance, use of camera, and sound are all top notch compared to today's cutting, switching & manuevers which distract from the performance. Taylor Hackford could be credited for the scope & Wally Heider for the sound. (A wonderful work by Hackford is "Black Robe"). This is a recording to be returned to time & again, for Chris Wood, Winwood, and Capaldi are some of the most talented artists of this or any other time in the span of rock'n rolla.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great High School Band Look, August 9, 2010
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This review is from: Traffic: Live at Santa Monica (DVD)
The 1972 show is videotaped in color and is without effects. This video has not been run through a processor to appear like film, as some revived concerts from the 1970's have been (Led Zeppelin's 1975 Earl's Court comes to mind.) The stage here appears like any stage in a high school production of the early 1970's, except that---this is a really, really and again really good band. This is Traffic at its 1970's peak. The material is played flawlessly and without pomp and circumstance. It is like a step back in a time machine to a time when Vietnam was still raging, Watergate was going to be breaking on the scene, and the energy of the 1960's was winding down to the "Me Generation" of the 1970's. The sound is certainly good for what this is---A 1972 videotaped presentation.
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Traffic: Live at Santa Monica
Traffic: Live at Santa Monica by Allan Muir (DVD - 2008)
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