Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Dave Clark Five follows Dukes of September, Steve Martin, Sting on PBS 'Great Performances'

photo: PBS
The Dave Clark Five and Beyond – Glad All Over, the latest episode of PBS series Great Performances, debuted this week. 

Running two hours, the special revolves around one of the more prominent leaders of the first British music invasion in the U.S. 50 years ago. 

Bruce Springsteen, Steven Van Zandt and Max Weinberg of the E Street Band, Elton John, Paul McCartney, Gene Simmons of KISS, Stevie Wonder, Sharon and Ozzy Osbourne, Whoopi Goldberg, Dionne Warwick, Twiggy and Ian McKellen all convey the DC5's impact in recently filmed interviews.

Known for such top 10 hits as "Glad All Over," "Bits and Pieces," "Because," "I Like it Like That," "Over and Over," "Catch Us if You Can" and "You Got What it Takes," the Tottenham musicians were the first ones to tour America in May 1964. 

Among the rare clips are personal home movies from early tours, the DC5's record-breaking TV appearances on "The Ed Sullivan Show” (more than any other artist), as well as “Ready Steady Go!,” Lucille Ball's “Lucy in London” special and their feature film Catch Us If You Can (re-titled Having a Wild Weekend in America).

Tom Hanks' speech inducting the band into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2008 is interspersed throughout the program. 

John praises the DC5's "raw power" and says "they were much more of a live band than the Beatles." Springsteen cites them as a major influence and notes "people often missed the fact they were more powerful than the Stones." Priscilla Presley tells how Elvis had a hard time being overshadowed by all the new British bands.  

Latter-day interviews with diehard DC5 fans give a glimpse into the pandemonium of the early shows and appearances. Though Clark, 71, produced and directed this new documentary, he doesn't add any insights. Instead, archival interviews from a few band members are used as background.   

An extensive segment is devoted to Clark's business acumen, post-DC5 acting work and heavy involvement in 1986 London West End musical Time, which featured the holographic image of Sir Laurence Olivier. 

I enjoyed seeing Queen's Freddie Mercury working on Time material with Clark (the pair were good friends). 

Another airing happens Friday, April 11 at 10 p.m. - midnight (check local listings). 

The Dave Clark Five and Beyond – Glad All Over will be released on DVD and Blu-ray with bonus material May 13 through PBS Home Video.  

Be on the lookout for these other recent Great Performances episodes that will surely be a part of PBS pledge drive programming in the coming months:

photo: PBS
Dukes of September: Live - also a DVD/Blu-ray of the concert released through 429 Records - features Donald Fagen (Steely Dan), Michael McDonald (The Doobie Brothers) and Boz Scaggs on tour together.

The trio takes turns on lead vocals and Fagen acts as the emcee of sorts. They pay tribute to early R&B and soul music inspirations along with some of their greatest hits. The 85-minute concert was taped at New York’s Lincoln Center.

The Dukes of September Rhythm Revue initially formed in 2010, a sequel to their previous New York Rock and Soul Revue. 

Scaggs - pictured left - fares best here, especially during his hits like the smooth “Lowdown,” “Lido Shuffle” and “Miss Sun” (there's some memorable vocal tradeoffs with Conesha Monet Owens).
Fagen does admirably on “Kid Charlegmagne,” “Hey Nineteen,” “Peg,” “Reelin’ In The Years” and “Pretzel Logic.”
Meanwhile, McDonald delivers "What a Fool Believes," “Takin’ It To The Streets” "I Keep Forgetting" and more. 
photo: PBS
Shot in HD and 5.1 audio at the historic Fox Performing Arts Center in Riverside, Calif., the Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers featuring Edie Brickell Live concert episode of Great Performances took place last fall. 
The veteran actor/comedian is an impressive banjo player whose various talents shine through during this 85-minute show.
At the start, he tells the crowd, "we are honored to be performing for your cell phones tonight." That humor (much of it the self-deprecating variety) continues and will have viewers chuckling at least a few times. I know I did. 
The musicians mix bluegrass and adult alternative sounds off Martin’s last two albums with the Steep Canyon Rangers with the Brickell collaboration Love Has Come for You
Brickell is present onstage for about half the selections. The band displays its fine chops in different configurations. "Jubilation Day," "The Crow," "When You Get to Asheville” and “Remember Me This Way” are among the standouts.  
A same-titled deluxe two-disc CD/DVD package came out via Rounder Records last month. It contains four previously unreleased tracks and "Love Has Come For You," for which Martin and Brickell won a Grammy for Best American Roots Song earlier this year.
photo: PBS
Sting's The Last Ship gives fans a preview of his upcoming theatrical production (due to premiere this June) with an intimate evening of music and storytelling recorded at The Public Theater in New York City.

The 80-minute set sees the onetime Police man providing autobiographical background to the songs that parallel his last studio album.

Backed by a 14-piece band on violin, Northumbrian pipes, violin, mandolin, melodeon and other instruments, Sting's booming-to-whisper vocals mesh with a full sound that often verges on Celtic. "August Winds"is a gorgeous ballad, while "Sky Hooks and Tartan Paint" is a humorous number where Sting plays the spoons. 

Actor/singer Jimmy Nail - who will appear in the stage version - and musical director Rob Mathes are part of the band. The evening was filmed on Sting’s birthday (Oct. 2, 2013) at a special fan club performance during a 10-night run of benefit concerts in New York. 

No comments: