Thursday, March 8, 2012

B-52’s 'Wild' DVD out soon; airing now on PBS

With the Wild Crowd!, the new B-52’s DVD and Blu-ray (due in stores March 20 via Eagle Rock Entertainment), will get an early preview this weekend on Southern California PBS-TV stations.

This past Valentine's Day marked the new wave band's 35th anniversary. The show, filmed in February 2011 in their hometown of Athens, Ga., found them in fine form.

Having attended many B-52’s concerts, I can attest that no one else makes party music quite like these four do.

An hour-long version of the sharp-looking 95-minute gig is being shown on PBS stations nationwide this month as part of special pledge drive programming. Locally, it can be seen on KVCR, 3:30 a.m. March 11 and 1:30 a.m. March 18; KOCE broadcasts it at 10:30 p.m. March 16 (check local listings for other airings).

The 20-song DVD and Blu-ray retains the B-52's old zany spirit. Ably backed by longtime drummer Sterling Campbell and bassist Tracy Wormworth, Fred Schneider, Cindy Wilson and Kate Pierson are in good voice, while the ladies can still hit most of those famous high trills (especially the upbeat “Roam,” wacky "Strobe Light" and frenetic “Private Idaho”). Guitarist Keith Strickland lays down spacey surf guitar licks throughout.

New selections from 2008's underrated comeback album Funplex ("Ultraviolet," "Pump," playful sexuality in "Love in the Year 3000," "Hot Corner," the title cut) mix well with the late ‘70s new wave staples (“Rock Lobster,” “Planet Claire”), ’80s modern rock hits (“Love Shack,” "Deadbeat Club," “Cosmic Thing”) and a rare nugget (the pulsating dance of “Wig”).

The Athens Classic Center crowd is colorfully dressed and seems to have a grand old time. 
Diehard fans will be interested in a rare half hour interview with the band along with rarely seen photos and clips.

Seated onstage at the venue, they recall how the band formed in Athens ("It was a great place to wind up if you were a bit eccentric," notes Schneider), the unique talent of founding guitarist/songwriter Ricky Wilson (who died of AIDS in 1985), garnering a following through playing hip NYC clubs like Max's Kansas City, finding success, recording Funplex and more. 

No comments: