Classic Rock Review

The home of old record and bootleg reviews…

Neil Young Live In Berlin DVD (1983)


Review In Berlin is a truly fantastic concert which took place in Berlin 1982 on his Trans Tour. Neil is accompanied with some of his old pals with musicians such as Nils Lofgren/Bruce Palmer/Ralph Molina/Ben Keith and a couple of roadies from the crew Larry Cragg & Joel Bernstein, it really is a good line up of musicians. It was originally released on VHS Video back in 1983 to which I purchased myself and totally wore out the tape by playing it that many times. Thank god that this release as finally been transferred to DVD is all I can say, because it’s a marvel of a concert.

The footage from this concert that turns up on this DVD is only an hour long, but what Neil manages to pack into that hour is a truly fantastic set list of old classics with the likes of Cinnamon Girl/Old Man/Needle & The Damage Done/After The Gold Rush/Hey Hey My My and a mind blistering performance of Hurricane that is simply to die for. Other new material at the time was from his new album Trans (which perhaps may seem very outdated to some) but these live performances of that material is far from the case, and are way better arranged and performed than what they where ever on the studio album.

Tracks like Computer Age and Sample and Hold have never sounded better. To top it all off, Neil finishes off with a purely fantastic newly written track for the occasion of it all, entitled After Berlin. This is a classic in my opinion and certainly makes a fantastic ending to a purely magical concert of shear great performance.

Both picture and sound quality are very good, but even though this as been transferred to DVD, it’s still very much VHS Video quality in that department, but its certainly good enough considering this is old video footage. The DVD I have is not from Amazon and is a Rhino release that comes with amazingly a Dolby Digital 5.1 Soundtrack. Though to be honest it’s far from great 5.1 in that respect, and is really only as it originally was from the VHS Video which would of been an Hi Fi Stereo Track. But it still sounds very good and with great stereo production does not in any way spoil ones listening pleasure.

In Berlin is truly one of Neil’s finest concerts that captures some of his earlier, finer, and truly amazing performances, it does not disappoint one bit and keeps you thoroughly entertained. It really is a busting show that I would consider a must for the fans, and anybody who wants to be entertained with mind blowing performances. I simply cannot recommend this enough it’s very much in my heart with it’s performance and stands proud in my collection. Help other customers find the most helpful reviews

Review Neil appears on stage, but it doesn’t look like him, his hair is pretty short and he’s wearing a lime green jacket and…….a tie!!!Anyway they start with a good version of “Cinnamon girl” and then go into a “Trans” number “Computer age” the German audience seem a bit puzzled by this song! “Little thing called love” is a good track with Neil on Acoustic guitar and Nils Lofgren on piano.

After that it’s time for an acoustic slot with Neil performing “Old Man”, “Needle and the damage done” and a lovely version of “After the Goldrush”.Now it’s back to the “Trans” album, where they play two tracks “Transformer man” and “Sample and hold”, the first song of the two Neil and Nils do this weird sort of mime routine, which is strange, but worth watching. The set closes with “Hurricane” and Hey hey my my” with Neil breaking loose on lead guitar with wee Nils ducking and weaving ,his Kimono flowing!!!(It’s his shirt,but it looks like a Kimono).

Neil has a fine band backing him, and they are more subtle than “The Horse” Ralph Molina -drums Joe Lala -percussion Bruce Palmer (Buffalo Springfield)-Bass Nils-Guitar and dancing
and Ben Keith-Pedal steel, slide and keyboards.

The final song is a new one called “Berlin” and it’s excellent, we will probably never hear it on disc! They were heading back to the States after this gig and the song has a desperation about it.This track could be on the promised box-set coming soon!!!

In my opinion, this is worth buying, some people may not like the “Trans” stuff, but it was another brave move by Neil to try something different !

April 28, 2013 Posted by | Neil Young Live In Berlin DVD | , | Leave a comment

Al Di Meola Elegant Gypsy (1977)

Al Di Meola - Elegant GypsyFrom

Review The Hendrix of Jazz. This is what I have heard people call Al Di Meola. I never had to question why especially after hearing this album. I can name a ton of guitar players with great albums but I would prefer to listen to this album over all of those any second of any day.

This is coming from somebody who loves only sophisticated guitar work and cant stand any of that 4 chord crap that passes off for music today. I’m a huge fan of John Mclaughlin, Jeff Beck, Jimi Hendrix, Carlos Santana, B.B. King, Eric Clapton, Wes Montgomery, Jimmy Page, Richie Blackmore, Rick Emmett, George Benson, Alex Lifeson, Buddy Guy, David Gilmour, Robert Fripp, an many others. But none of those dudes can brag about having a guitar album like this one from Al Di Meola.

“Flight to Rio” Is just as important a track for Jan Hammer as for Al di Meola. Hammers contributions to this album are quite big but on this track his contributions are nothing short of enormous and help set the mood for the album.

“Midnight Tango” continues the electric Latino guitar style of track 1 before the album turns a bit more acoustic.

“Mediterranean Sundance” is an acoustic Latin Fusion number where Paco de Lucia comes in and plays twin lead with Al di Meola. This is one of those tracks that blew me away the most the first time I heard it. Years before they would both join with Mahavishnu John McLaughlin to record one of the most awesome acoustic records ever.

“Race with Devil on Spanish Highway” is an incredibly intense going back to electric driven track with di Meolas band mate Lenny White wrecking some serious havoc on drums. Absolutely an underrated and gifted drummer. Anthony Jackson, a bass player I have not heard much of really blasts his bass guitar on this one causing me to want to research more albums he might play on.

“Lady of Rome, Sister of Brazil” despite being really short is the most beautiful track on the album.

“Elegant Gypsy Suite” is the highlight and the reason why the album had to be named after the title track! This is the only way a great album should end. One of the greatest guitar showcases of all time.

This is it! The ultimate guitar album. I cant say why in words it just is. And it took only one listen to believe it. You wont understand until you listen to it also like I was recommended to. Than you will believe!!!

Review I’m quite new to Al Di Meola, but I’m a seasoned instrumental guitar fan. I had read on Wikipedia that Petrucci was self taught by trying to emulate the sounds of various guitarists like Malmsteen, Holdsworth and Di Meola. I figured, Holdsworth and Malmsteen are pretty big names, so to throw Di Meola in must mean something, because Petrucci after all is… well, we all know what he is capable of. I looked on for Di Meola albums, and Elegant Gypsy looked to the best, based solely on reviews, so I checked it out.

This CD is so incredibly monstrous, that words have a hard describing all the features it encapsulates. Di Meolas finely honed technical ability coupled with interesting tunes and beats make for a superb album. I find that this album sounds quite unlike any other instrumental guitar CD I have ever heard.

This CD was unleashed in 1976, before massively technical playing was popularized by Yngwie. This is one of the reasons I find Di Meola so special. I have never been more impressed with a 30 year old album that sounds like it could have been released just yesterday. It doesn’t have the outdated 80’s sound that neoclassical shred has picked up.

Im not sure whether to call Di Meola a shred guitarist, I don’t really think he is. He obviously has the ability to shred with the best of them, but he tames it and keeps it under control (Yes, that’s a good thing).

Now for the actual songs on the album. There are two that really stand out in my mind. Like everybody else, Race with Devil on Spanish Highway, is a superb demonstration of Di Meola’s primo technical astuteness coupled with some awe-inspiring song writing. The song just sounds really good, any way you look at it.

The other song which I am also very fond of is Mediterranean Sundance. It gives me goose bumps. It showcases the full spectrum of what the acoustic is capable of. Especially since there are two of them, the song is like a double whammy. Supposedly it’s Di Meola on the right channel, and Paco de Lucia on the left, that play together with such harmony and beauty, the song is not easily overlooked.

These are the two songs that stand out in my mind, but it is not to say that the other songs not equally as impressive, because they are.

This CD is very unique, and I’m happy I picked it up. Now I understand why Petrucci threw Di Meola in that sentence.

April 28, 2013 Posted by | Al Di Meola Elegant Gypsy | | Leave a comment