'Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Concert' Blu-ray: Stories and Performances Honoring Actual American Idols
he spectacularly clear images and incredible audio of the Time-Life April 24, 2018 Blu-ray release "Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: In Concert" requires watching it. The perfectly lit dark black background with the blue neon and the flawless enormous slides look fantastic, and the top-notch audio system could not sound better. This warrants inducting Time-Life in the Hall.
Stating that you feel as if you are in the front row is not hyperbole. The very user-friendly main menu easily allowing skipping ahead to a desired induction or specific song in a set (and then keeping the party going without forcing you back to the menu) is beyond awesome.
Two aspects of this set make it personally cool. The first is a link with the "friend from camp" sitcom plot. This storyline typically has a supporting character being unable to get a ticket for a rock concert only to have the lead share that a member of the band is a friend from camp.
The ensuing varying degrees of hilarity typically revolve around the lead being thwarted in efforts to get promised tickets and/or a backstage visit. The climax often involves the rock deity showing up to the intense delight of the starstruck character and equally excited studio audience or laugh track.
The relevancy of this is having shared a summer-camp cabin with former Hall "suit" Warren "Dave" Zanes, whose rock star cred. comes from being a member of the Del Fuegoes.
Current Z Rocker/former Del Fuego Dan "Ray" Zanes simultaneously worked in the camp kitchen and sang doo wop that summer. The Unreal TV archives include what may be the first recording of Dan singing.
Righteous dude Warren currently is literally opening the door to his Jersey home as part of online fundraising to get his latest album out. BTW, your not-so-humble reviewer can get all the tickets that you need when Warren plays Boston. :-)
The final aside regarding this experience is that learning about the copious sex, and drugs, and rock-and-roll among the camp staff required returning to work a decade later. Personal experience regarding that trifecta related to one of the three.
The wider relevance relates to a long-term hatred of "American Idol." The two major peeves regarding that program extend well beyond it being a reality show. One huge bone of contention is that the hard-luck stories are valid bases for sympathy but should be completely irrelevant in a singing contest.
The more relevant basis for loathing "Idol" is an equally long-held belief that winning a contest that lasts a few months does not warrant the title of "idol." Many friends have heard my manifesto about the singers and the bands that deserve that accolade spending years playing dive bars and traveling in broken-down vans before achieving comparable fame to the latest "Idols." The speeches in the Hall induction ceremonies verify this statement.
The "Hall" set contains the full induction ceremonies from 2014-2017. One can only hope that Time-Life does not make us wait four years to see the 2018 event. The inductees ranging from Cat Stevens to the Paul Butterfield Blues Band to Cheap Trick (which sadly disappoints regarding their set), to Nirvana, to Ringo Starr provides some sense of the range of the inductees. Honorees Joan Jett & The Blackhearts arguably deserve the award for the best set.
The first induction speech in the set also is the best one of all speeches. Chris Martin of Cold Play does an awesome job using good humor and fan admiration honoring Peter Garbiel. Hearing English boy Martin share the story of being blown away buying his first Gabriel cassette in Paris and then wandering The City of Light listening to it is relatable to every fan. A somewhat similar story is being a boarding school sophomore getting the twin thrills of seniors inviting me to sneak off campus and this covert adventure involving buying ice cream. An indelible memory is the driver putting in a cassette and telling us that it is a new band called "The Police."
Rob Thomas of Matchbox 20 gets the best line of any ceremony. He spends much of his 2016 speech discussing the hard-rocking elements of "Chicago" to the extent of expertly imitating that new inductee. This leads to him telling the audience members who label "Chicago" as their mother's band that he wants to (expletive deleted) party with their mother. An equally cool aspect of this is that 37,000,000 online votes is what get "Chicago" in the Hall. One can only hope that "Squeeze" fans demonstrate the same initiative.
Another highlight comes regarding Paul McCartney inducting Ringo Starr in 2015. His funny and heartfelt speech both supports the "Idol" theory and proves that time heals all wounds; whether it wounds all heels is another matter. Seeing McCartney perform with his former bandmate is the only way to end this ceremony; NOTHING could have followed that act.
The footnote to this discussion of the "Hall" set is that it includes music for virtually every taste, honors rockers who do not get money for nothing, and provides a chance to hear speeches that literally run from the sublime to the ridiculous. One challenge is to not hurl obscenities at Michael Stipe copiously bitching about playing in a band during his induction of "Nirvana."
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