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Non-Prog DVD/Video Reviews

April Wine

Live in London DVD

Review by Gary Hill

I don’t know what it was about April Wine, but I always really liked this band. Admittedly some of their music was just plain arena pop rock – and a bit generic at times. Still, I was first drawn to them by hearing “I Like to Rock,” with its nod to the Beatles on the radio. I always thought that was a cool tune.  And how can you argue with a hard rock band in the vein of UFO or perhaps even a bit closer to hair metal – the genre wasn’t really around yet – covering a prog rock classic like King Crimson’s “21st Century Schizoid Man.” Whatever it was I always liked this band a lot. I had a few of their albums on vinyl back in the day.

So, it was with excitement that I popped in this DVD. My excitement was rewarded by a great concert video of the band at their peak (this was filmed in 1981). Now, I should mention that I say “great” based mostly on the strength of the group’s performance. I never saw this band live, but after seeing the video I really wish I had. These guys rocked with the best of them. You just can’t fault the performance.

The only real issue here is the video itself. Its loaded with dated effects – blurred time exposure, weird cuts, backstage footage amongst the live performance, (OK, the shots of the group playing Galaga are cool, anyway) mirrored split screens and more. This can make it a bit hard to watch at times. As good as the music is, though, you will find that you don’t care. Sure, it would have been great to have a better video record, but the band were so powerful live that it just doesn’t seem to matter.

They played all the tunes I wanted to hear, “Gypsy Queen,” “Between You and Me,” “Roller” and the others I mentioned earlier. It’s obvious from seeing this video that as strong as those were in studio recordings, they truly became classic in live performance. These guys really deserved to be superstars!

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2008  Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.

 
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