Michael Nesmith - Live at the Britt
Join Michael Nesmith and his band as they perform on the opening night at the 30th Anniversary of the historic Britt Festival in Jacksonville, Oregon. The band includes: Michael Nesmith -- Guitar & Vocals; John Jorgenson -- Guitar; Red Rhodes-- Pedal Steel; Joe Chemay-- Bass; John Hobbs -- Keyboard; Luis Conte -- Percussion
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As I noted in a previous review, the best versions of these RCA albums are the imported "two-fers" from Camden Deluxe. They can be found here,here, and here.
Nes closes the first half of the concert with a comedy piece called "5 Second Concerts," from his short-lived NBC-TV series, TELEVISION PARTS, which has yet to be issued on DVD, though a made-for-home-video sequel has (Television Parts Home Companion). A collaboration with his pianist John Hobbs, it consists of three short medleys: "Moonlight and Day Sonata," "Jaws the Knife," and "There's No Business Like Star Wars."
The second half of the concert consists of six songs from the recently recorded album Tropical Campfires: "Yellow Butterfly," "Moon over the Rio Grande," "Juliana," "Laugh Kills Lonesome," "I Am Not That," and "Rising in Love." The audience's enthusiastic reaction to these tracks surprised Nes, given their unfamiliarity with the songs, as the album had only been out for a short time. Nesmith than closes the concert with an uptempo version of 1977's hit "Rio," which the audience probably recognized from his Elephant Parts [VHS]; the DVD format did not exist at the time. For the encore, Nes returns with an acoustic version of "one of the early ones that I didn't sing," "Different Drum," Linda Ronstadt's first hit with The Stone Poneys from 1967, recorded by Michael himself on AND THE HITS JUST KEEP ON COMIN'. A short reprise of the studio version of "I Am Not That" plays over the closing credits of the DVD; the live CD has the TROPICAL CAMPFIRES version.
The Edsel Records RIO compilation listed above has 11 of the 18 songs from the concert, all from the first half of the show, although "Different Drum," for unknown reasons, is added at the beginning of the set. Except for "Rising in Love," all of the other songs in the show appear on RIO in their original studio versions.
The live CD is good, but the DVD is even better, with excellent picture quality and 5.1 surround sound. Amazon is out of stock of this title right now - I was lucky enough to get one of the last copies they had - but try and find it from one of the Merchants, on Michael's Videoranch site, or elsewhere if you can. A must-have!!
Nesmith's performance is light-hearted while his singing is strong, displaying his underrated vocal skills. Fans will be delighted with smatterings of insights as Papa Nez indulges us with humorous banter and brief introductions to his well loved tunes.
If you are new to Nez, this is an extremely approachable introduction as it includes many of his popular hits as well as a few "new" tunes.
For more Nez goodies, you can go direct to the source at Videoranch(dot)com.
I learned this in 1972, my freshman year at UCLA, when he did a free concert on campus. All us college kids were belittling him and joking about what pre-fab Monkees tunes he might resurrect. I went out of curiousity anyway, and what a wonderful shock I received.
What I saw and heard was a genre-defying blend of rock-blues-folk-country music, unique and original, that knocked me out. This DVD has allowed me to relive that joyous, enlightening experience. I became a fan and still have and listen to his records and CDs.
Love or hate the Monkees, if you like thoughtful American tunes from a true original songsmith, you will like Mike Nesmith's show. Don't be deterred.
He seems to be comical and humble but most of all magically, musically talented. It's hard to believe it was recorded so long ago.
Thank you Nez, for your passion for musical dreams.
Miz Sandy Sampson