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Non-Prog DVD/Video Reviews

ZZ Top

Double Down Live DVD

Review by Gary Hill

This is called “Double Down Live” because it’s two shows – one from 1980 and one from 2008. The 1980 show really is the highlight of the set, warts and all. That particular video is a performance at Rockpalast on their Deguello tour and it is a real smoker.

When I talk about the “warts” of the 1980 show, they are all really about the recording itself. The band is purely on fire and it is just an incredible set of music. The recording suffers at first from 1980 video production. There’s also an annoying thing where the name of the song appears at the bottom of the screen. Also, it seems like the master tape of this hasn’t had the care it should have and seems to show some signs of wear. None of that matters other than passing mention, though, because this concert is just that good!

The other show is more of a documentary, featuring a lot of off-stage material inter-cut with stage footage. I think I would have preferred a straightforward concert video to this, but it has its moments – and really it’s the bonus footage, anyway.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2009  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.

All in all this is a killer set, but I’d say it’s probably better geared towards the ZZ Top fanatics than it is towards the casual fan – at least for a first video to buy. I’d recommend getting the Live From Texas set first because it is more perfected. I’d have to say that the 1980 performance here is hotter, but the flaws in the production make it fall behind that other release. While I might recommend that DVD before this one, I’d say that this is well worth getting.

 
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