Bob Dylan's Star-Studded "Halftime Show" Gets Deluxe Treatment

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Bob Gruen/Columbia Legacy
Check out the star power at the concert finale! Why so morose, Sinead?

"Thanks Bob! Thanks for having Bob Fest!" Neil Young enthuses at one point during his set at the Bob Dylan 30th Anniversary Concert.

And though methinks that the October 1992 show at Madison Square Garden paying tribute to the Bard of Hibbing was due more to the planning of Columbia Records than the honoree himself, the megastar-studded event found a wide swath of performers covering Dylan's deep songbook.

It was capped off by a solo and collaborative set from the man himself, and now available again in a 2CD/2DVD-Blu-Ray Bob Dylan: The 30th Anniversary Concert Celebration -- Deluxe Edition (Columbia/Legacy). As VH-1's Bill Flanagan offers in the liner notes, what "could have been a last waltz instead turned out to be rock and roll's greatest halftime show."

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Coachella Before Coachella: The 1983 US Festival

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US Festival 1983: Days 1-3
Directed by Glen Aveni
MVD Visuals, 135 minutes, $19.95

In 1982, flush with cash, Apple Computer co-founder Steve Wozniak wanted to throw "a big party" and create an '80s version of Woodstock that would combine a music festival with displays and demonstrations about emerging technologies, with a not-surprising emphasis on computers. The first US Festival did well enough that Wozniak went for a repeat on Memorial Day weekend the next year -- single-handedly dumping $10 million of his own cash to fund it.

This new DVD features highlights from that weekend, 23 songs from 14 acts booked on "New Wave Day" (Divinyls, INXS, The English Beat, Stray Cats, Men at Work, the Clash), "Metal Day" (Judas Priest, Triumph, Scorpions), and "Rock Day" (Berlin, Quarterflash, U2, Missing Persons, Stevie Nicks).

And while the relationship of some acts to their ascribed description is sometimes tenuous, it's interesting that Wozniak sought to include so many genres into one festival. (A "Country Day" was held a week later.)


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Springsteen's Fans Take Center Stage In New Doc

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Springsteen & I
Eagle Vision, 142 mins, $14.98

Every musician at least pays lip service to the importance of their fans. Some even coalesce together as a community, former stronger-than-normal bonds (think Deadheads. The KISS Army. Beliebers).

But few performer's fans are more rabid, loyal, and emotional about the artist and the music than followers of Bruce Springsteen. And -- though it is clearly aimed at the same said rabid fan -- Springsteen & I is a fascinating glimpse into this bond.

The documentary is mostly self-shot footage from fans, on cheap phone cameras to near professional-style clips, who wax rhapsodically about Bruce Springsteen, Bruce Springsteen's music, and Bruce Springsteen's impact on their lives. It also had a brief theatrical run this past summer.

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Charming Beatles Secretary Breaks Long Silence in Good Ol' Freda

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Freda Kelly/Magnolia Pictures
Ringo, Freda, and George during the filming of "Magical Mystery Tour."
Good Ol' Freda
Directed by Ryan White
Magnolia Pictures, 87mins, $26.98.

Few people could have gotten the famously flinty John Lennon to literally get down on his knees to beg for something. But he did it backstage at a show to a girl barely out of her teens because he wanted her to change her mind about something -- and not what you think.

The girl in question was Freda Kelly, secretary of the official Beatles fan club and all-around Girl Friday. After Kelly was unable to reach the Fabs' dressing room due to a crush of people, she found herself in the adjoining space for the Moody Blues... and had a few drinks with the lads.

When she was able to make it back to the Beatles, a churlish Lennon fired Kelly on the spot (he later said it was "a joke," she disagrees). Buoyed by the booze, Kelly asked the other three Beatles if she was indeed canned, and they all answered with a resounding "no!" Kelly turned to Lennon, telling him he could take care of his own fan mail from now on since she only worked for the other three.

When Lennon asked what he could do to get her to change her mind, Kelly said "get down on your knees and beg me." Ever the contrarian, Lennon managed to bend just one to make amends that night.


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Knocking at Your Back Door: A Deeper Shade of Purple In the '80s

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Deep Purple
Perfect Strangers Live
Eagle Vision, 141 mins., Various CD/DVD formats

It's something of an intellectual parlor game for Deep Purple fans to debate the ultimate question: Which lineup was the best?

Commercially and song popularity/longevity wise, it's clear DP 2.0 -- the band responsible for efforts like Machine Head, Fireball, In Rock, and Made in Japan -- is the winner. Ian Gillan (vocals), Ritchie Blackmore (guitar), Jon Lord (keyboards), Roger Glover (bass) and Ian Paice (drums) remain the "classic" lineup.

But the quintet had been broken up for more than a decade when they reconvened to release the better-than-you'd-expect Perfect Strangers in 1984, followed by a massive reunion tour. This healthy 2-CD and two-hour-plus DVD recorded on their stop in Sydney, Australia, and shows a band hardly content to rest on their '70s credentials.


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Jimi Hendrix Vault Spews Forth New CD and Documentary

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Though he only released three studio and one concert album while alive, Jimi Hendrix was one prolific motherfucker in his 27 years. After his 1970 death, the Hendrix vaults have spewed forth plenty more music and video, especially in the last few years under the keen stewardship of his estate.

The embarrassment of riches has just expanded with the release of The Jimi Hendrix Experience: Miami Pop Festival (Experience Hendrix/Legacy). The May 1968 event was one of the first large-scale rock festivals on the East Coast and the first one promoted by Michael Lang, who would later go on to co-produce a little gathering called Woodstock.

Though a relatively new group, the Experience (with bassist Noel Redding and drummer Mitch Mitchell) were enlisted as headliners for the two-day show, and this CD offers the first live recorded performances of several key Hendrix tunes.


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New Doc Tunes Into "The Greatest Ears in Town"

Categories: Eyeballin'

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Courtesy of Damore Public Relations
Arif Mardin with some of his many awards in the last months of his life.
What do Aretha Franklin, the Bee Gees, Norah Jones, the Rascals, Willie Nelson, Phil Collins, Dr. John, Barbra Streisand, Chaka Khan, the Average White Band, and Hall & Oates have in common?

Not much, musically. But they all made records, and some of their most memorable, in the studio with Arif Mardin staring back at them through the glass in the production booth.

For more than four decades, first as a producer-arranger for Atlantic Records and then as a producer/A&R man for EMI's Manhattan Records, Mardin guided the sound behind a lot of albums, including dozens of gold and platinum sellers.


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Brrr! The 10 Skimpiest Costumes at Something Wicked

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Photos by Marco Torres
What is it about EDM that compels folks to walk around in their unmentionables?

Houston's second annual Halloween EDM festival, Something Wicked, took place over the weekend at Sam Houston Race Park, and boy did we ever get an eyeful. Both guys and gals chose to suffer through the somewhat chilly night by wearing nothing more than a bra, a cape, and a pair of undies. Rocks Off stopped several festival attendees and asked them to bare it all for our photographer's camera.


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Bizarre Beach Boys '76 TV Special Is Must-Have For Fans

Categories: Eyeballin'

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Photo by Jim Bricker
The Beach Boys 36 years after the Good Vibrations special, at Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion last June
The Beach Boys Good Vibrations Tour
Eagle Rock Entertainment, $14.97, 50 mins.

The title here is a bit of a misnomer. This is not a full concert video, but rather the 1976 NBC-TV special screened on the heels of the "Brian is Back!" PR campaign. It marked the head Beach Boy's return to live performance after a number of years, as well as the release of the 15 Big Ones record.

But whatever it is -- part concert film, part documentary, part reality show, and part comedy sketches -- it's a must-have for fans of the band for the sheer batshit craziness of some portions.

The band plays most of its greatest hits in the concert portions, among them "Fun, Fun, Fun," "Good Vibrations," "California Girls" and "Help Me Rhonda." And it shows the vital five-man lineup of Brian, Carl, and Dennis Wilson, Mike Love, and Al Jardine, with backing musicians whose playing overcomes the garishness of Love's stage outfits and Jagger-lite strutting.


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Five Badass Women to Replace Miley on the Vogue Cover

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According to various news outlets, the twerk-lovin' pop artist known as Miley Cyrus has lost her spot on the coveted Vogue cover, thanks to her naughty foam finger and vinyl underoos at her ill-fated MTV VMA performance. Apparently no one wants to take into consideration that she's just being Miley. (Sorry for that.)

And even if these news outlets (like the Daily Mail, among others) are wrong about Miley being pulled from the Vogue cover, you can guarantee that after famed Vogue high priestess Anna Wintour sets her eyes on the newest Miley video making the rounds, Miley will be sad-waving at that cover as it drifts away in the wind.


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