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Non-Prog DVD/Video Reviews

Jack Bruce

Live At Rockpalast 1980, 1983 And 1990 2 DVD/5 CD Set

Review by Gary Hill

This is an amazing set. It starts off with two DVDs featuring three shows from the German TV show "Rockpalast." Then they add in five audio CDs with the music from those three shows. The whole thing is packaged in a classy clamshell box. Each disc is included in its own cardboard sleeve. Since this review is focused on the DVDs, let's look first at the overall quality. These were recorded for television, so while dated in terms of technology, the quality is very good. That applies to both the video and audio, and is pretty uniform throughout the set. Each show is very different, though, so I'll discuss that in more detail.

The first DVD includes both the 1980 and 1990 shows. The first of those was billed as "Jack Bruce and Friends." That lineup featured Bruce on vocals and bass along with Clem Clempson on guitar, Billy Cobham on drums and David Sancious on keyboards and guitar. The set list was more hard rock based, and really worked well. There were plenty of Cream songs included, along with a lot more. 

The 1990 show was completely different. For that one  it was a truly solo show. Bruce was alone on stage and played mostly keyboards to augment his vocals, but he also breaks out a harmonica. It really seems so appropriate to have that show on the same DVD as the 1980 one because it is such a stark contrast. It really goes a long way toward showing the talents of Bruce, too.

The final disc features a 1983 show from the Jack Bruce Band. That band includes Bruce on vocals, bass and keyboards, Sancious on keyboards and guitar and Bruce Gary on drums. I have to say that of the three shows, this one feels the most dated. It definitely has an 80s vibe to a lot of the music. That said, when they get into some killer jams that border on fusion, it can be amazing. 

All in all, this is a set well worth having. With all this great material, it's a bargain. It seems a very fitting tribute to the man known as "Jack Bruce." He dedicated a song in the second show to the musicians who were no longer around. It was titled "Flying," and now seems apropos to Bruce himself. It's nice to imagine that he's "flying so high."

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2019  Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

 
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