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(Nov 04, 2003)
Disco exploded in the late 70s with the release of Saturday Night Fever movie & soundtrack. Overnight disco was exposed to the worldwide masses. The disco clubber was born. At the very same time John Travolta look-a-likes (in polyester shirts and suits, exploiting the "hustle" in their platforms) hit the clubs, producers and rappers began some of the first "sampling" techniques. Disco marked the dawn of dance-based popular music and developed out of the increasingly groove-oriented sounds of early 70s funk. The high-spirited scene and pounding disco beats soon dominated the pop charts across the globe. This audio-visual collection on DVD includes some of the most important and successful disco icons of the era. This is one long celebration to the music.
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Most of the stuff is lip-synced, but who cares with all of the dated eye candy. The audience can be freaking amazing to look at. Yes, some are bored (these are a bunch of white Europeans mostly, and as many of these performances are indeed from the Musikladen show, then that means they are Germans, so what would you expect! [I'm half German, so I can make that joke]). But the dated style is extraordinary. I mean, there's a guy dressed as a farmer and another guy in a running outfit and a trucker's cap dancing behind Donna Summer, my Lord! Also it's cool to see the bra-optional fashions seen in clips by Lipps Inc. and The Gap Band, not to mention the skimpy outfits on the girls in the Imagination clip that paved the way for the style of Lady Gaga, Ke$ha and Peaches.
Yes, a lot of the songs are cut short, but it's not like most of them are live, so it's not a horrible loss, and you get enough of the songs so as to not get sick of them, as, let's face it, disco is dated for a reason. However, James Brown is only guy who performs live because he has a real, plugged in band, and his track grooves with nature and strong energy. Michael Jackson, on the other hand, gets carried away with his dancing and does not even try to lip synch, which is cool and shameless. There's nothing like it when the singers get into it: Boney M's singer is downright scary, but, man, is he into performing (plus, their track is one of the few complete ones).
There are some great moments of music history captured here. Check out Sugarhill Gang with their pioneering hip-hop track "Rapper's Delight." Back then, rap seemed like a gimmick that would soon fall out of fashion, like disco did, but who would have thought that song would have paved the way for the leading form of pop music of today. On the other hand, you have "Mariana" by the Gibson Brothers, black guys doing a hybrid of soul and Latin music that, of course, failed to catch on with the same fire.
In conclusion, this is a thoroughly entertaining piece of pop music history, even for someone like me who preferred the post punk and prog rock music of the time.
Anyway, this is still a recommended buy, if you remember those days where disco music was popular. I hope to see more coming out.
I was also surprised by the bored faces of some of the people in the crowd, the didn't seem to like disco very much! I'm sure there are better tapes of the disco era from american shows.
The best videos are Jackson's Blame it on the boogie and Boney M's Daddy Cool. (Note that Jacko was in the mood for dancing and not singing the song just-like-it-was-recorded).
If you like disco very much, you will enjoy this DVD. Just like me. But it is for fans ONLY.
----Excuse my horrible english, I'm argentinian ;)