Music — Music DVDs, A Fan's Must

Music DVDs, A Fan's Must

By Amy Diaz

The music DVD is the mark of a true fan

Not only do you like a performer enough to listen to him, you like him enough to watch him wiggle and squint and listen to the occasionally painful between-song banter that is the hallmark of a concert video.

The music DVD is also the perfect fan gift. Coming in at something like two to three times the cost of a CD, the music DVD is often the sort of thing even a big fan won’t buy for himself (if you have all of No Doubt’s albums, is there really a lot to be learned from their live concert?) but will appreciate and probably not return.

Aware of this, several new DVDs have hit the shelves to satisfy a variety of genres’ fans.

Old School
Live Aid
List price:$39.99

Before there was Lollapalooza (but after there was Woodstock), there was the one-day, two-continent concert known as Live Aid. Sure, it had a somewhat uppity mission and a hyper-irritating theme song (once “We Are the World” gets stuck in your head it will take a jaws-of-life-worth of blaring punk to get it out). But this concert, held in Philadelphia and in London, featured some of the very best of the early MTV era.

The DVD shows off a British lineup (Elvis Costello, The Boomtown Rats, U2, David Bowie, The Who, Queen) that rather outshines the American line up (Madonna, a scratchy Bob Dylan, Tom Petty and the second performance by Phil Collins). But, after years of having little record of the event, even imperfect concert footage is better than no footage.

The four-DVD set allows you to watch just Brit (complete with cameo by Princess Diana) or Yank or both.

Crossroads Guitar Festival
List price: $29.99

In June, some of the best guitar players of classic rock and blues gathered for a three-day concert. Put together by Eric Clapton for his charity, the concert includes James Taylor, Booker T. & the MGs, David Hidalgo of Los Lobos, B.B. King, Carlos Santana, Jimmie Vaughan and ZZ Top.

Festival Express
List price: $24.98

Dig back in the vaults for this 1970 gem featuring the Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, the Band and more. The film captures the concerts but also the behind the scenes action as the bands traveled across Canada performing and, no surprise, getting really high.

David Bowie—A Reality Tour
List price: $14.98

Bowie is quite possibly a robot or some sort of alien. How else could he get older without actually aging? This DVD from his most recent tour includes old favorites (“Rebel Rebel,” “Under Pressure,” “Ziggy Stardust”) as well as newer releases.

Flavor of the Now
Beyonce: Live at Wimberley
List price: $19.98

Destiny’s what? See the group’s bankable star take the stage on her own, belting out (and gyrating to) hits such as “Naughty Girl,” “Baby Boy” and, of course, “Crazy in Love.”

White Stripes Under the Blackpool Lights
List price: $19.98

Brother and sister, husband and ex-wife—whatever. This dark little duo is still a big pile of garage rock fun. This recent show includes hits from both big White Stripes albums. Scheduled for release Dec. 7.

Director’s Label Series Boxed Set—The Works of Spike Jonze, Chris Cunningham and Michel Gondry
List price: $59.98

Before Adaptation and Being John Malkovich, Jonze was all about the music videos. This set includes 16 of his best—such as the sublime “Sabotage” from the Beastie Boys (which could give Reno 911 lessons in how to parody a cop show), the dancetastic “Oh So Quiet” from Bjork and the sweet-as-all-heck “Buddy Holly” from Weezer.

From Gondry, who has gone on to full-length movies such as Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, we get 27 videos including videos for the Foo Fighters and the White Stripes. From Cunningham, we get highly stylized entries such as Madonna’s “Frozen” and Portishead’s “Only You.”

Nora Jones and the Handsome Band—Live in 2004
List price: $19.98

Filmed at a Nashville show,  the concert film features 20 of Jones’ most popular tracks such as “What I Am To You,” “Come Away with Me” and “Sunrise” as well as a song with Dolly Parton (“Creepin’ In”) and one with Gillian Welch and David Rawlings (“Loretta”).

Ani DiFranco—Trust
List price: $19.98

Get a sneak peek at songs scheduled to be on Ms. DiFranco’s (that’s Mr. DiFranco to you) upcoming CD, scheduled to hit stores in January 2005—“Callous,” “Manhole,” “Modulation” and “Knuckledown,” the title track, according to The 90-minute concert is actually sewn together from a couple of Washington DC shows back in May and includes a mix of old, new and, because it’s Ani, a few words from Congressman Dennis Kucinich.

List price: $21.99

Sure, the band has said its goodbyes but Phishheads will always want more. This two-DVD set includes about four hours of music from a 2003 concert in Maine.

Other—Way Other
Britney Spears Greatest Hits—My Prerogative
List price: $19.99

It’s the music video collection for the man too embarrassed to buy porn!

Watch pop’s favorite Lolita as she ages from mid-teen to late-teen.

Prairie Home Companion with Garrison
List price: $19.99

Ever wonder what Mr. Keillor looks like when he’s welcoming the crowd to Lake Wobegone?

Diehard fans of the NPR show can experience the adventures of Guy Noir (as well as a variety of folk and gospel performances) This DVD gives us the “full-color moving images” (according to promotional materials) of a show from May of 2004.                      

Amy Diaz

2004 HippoPress LLC | Manchester, NH