Dan Hicks & The Hot Licks
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This DVD/CD Combo pack, in jewel box packaging, features Hicks' 60th birthday celebration at the Warfield Theater in San Francisco, California, and features live performances with the original Hot Licks along with 40 other musicians who have been in Dan's
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1. CD+DVD in a standard CD jewel case
2. DVD+CD in one of those standard DVD cases
They both contain the same material. The CD+DVD is usually cheaper than the DVD+CD, but sometimes not.
The CD contains 13 tracks. The DVD has the same songs plus 2 extra tracks. The DVD has a few extras, like interviews.
This is from a concert in San Francisco, and features a band of 45 musicians and singers. Dan Hicks claims that everyone he ever played with is on the stage. The most famous version of the Hot Licks is there, along with the Acoustic Warriors. Also appearing is It's A Beautiful Day's David LaFlamme. All 45 musicians are on stage during the whole show.
The biggest problem with this set is that it just isn't enough. There are 15 songs, and around one and a half hours of music. It should be twice as long and it would still be highly entertaining. With so many musicians and such a huge library of material, you just don't get enough of anything to be fully satisfied. I don't know if all the songs from the concert were included on the DVD.
There are some great moments on this CD. As always, the show stopper is I Scare Myself, with 5 violinists taking turns doing the solos. (Note that Thomas Dolby used to play this song in concert).
The sound quality of this set is OK. It starts out bad, but gets better later in the show. The vocals sound out of place in the first track. The audience drowns the band on some of the early tracks. But later there places where the acoustic intruments are sharp and clear. Note that is hard to get a good sounding Dan Hicks CD. A poor job was done on converting most of the Hot Licks albums to CD. The Most of Dan Hicks is one that has great sound.
The camera work on the DVD is not perfect, but is better than many other concert DVD's I have seen. It starts out with the camera moving around a lot and zooming in and out. But, it settles down later on. With so many musicians, the cameramen do occasionally have problems finding the soloists. I have seen many that are much worse, like Gov't Mule and Roger Waters.
My other complaint is that I wish they would have cut out Dan Hicks talking between songs on the CD. The CD should be music only. The talking to the audience should only be on the DVD where you want to get the whole feel of the concert. As I drive around in my car, listening to the CD, I don't want to hear Dan Hicks' stories over and over again.
I once saw Dan Hicks and the Acoustic Warriors at a bar in Tucson. I got free tickets to the second show because the first show did not sell well enough. Dan Hicks was so drunk that he forgot the words to his songs and had to start them over again. He doesn't show any of those problems at this concert.
The CD of the affair consists of 13 cuts from the concert. The "live" recording isn't exactly studio quality, and the performances are pretty loose. That said, it's a lot of fun.
Not as much fun, though, as the included DVD, which includes everything from the album, two more songs, plus interviews, a comentary track and all kinds of stuff like that.
Again, the DVD probably wouldn't stand on its own -- the director seemed to have a hard time keeping his cameras on the right soloists, for instance -- but as a combination with the CD, it's a great bargain. I'd recommend one or another of Hicks' studio albums for beginners, but fans should find much to enjoy about this historic package.