By Robert Kinsler
In 1986, Queen journeyed to perform in Budapest, Hungary as part of the “Magic Tour.” That historic concert – the first Western rock concert ever staged in a stadium behind the Iron Curtain – was seen as so important that many of the nation’s top film makers were brought together to document the event. More than 25 years later, “Hungarian Rhapsody: Queen Live In Budapest” (Eagle Rock Entertainment) is finally available to be enjoyed by everyone. An estimated 80,000 rock fans filled the Nepstadion in Budapest to catch Queen deliver a forceful mix of hard rock (“Tie Your Mother Down,” “Hammer To Fall”), infectious hits (“Another One Bites The Dust,” “Under Pressure”), beautiful ballads (“Who Wants To Live Forever”) and bona fide classics (“Bohemian Rhapsody,” “We Are The Champions”).
One of the biggest surprises of the year was Paul McCartney’s album “Kisses On The Bottom,” where he performed some of his favorite songs pop standards with Diana Krall and several other noted jazz musicians. To celebrate that album, McCartney returned to Capitol Records in Hollywood with several of those musicians last February to perform an intimate live concert that has now been released in a deluxe 13-song film package. “Paul McCartney – Live Kisses” (Eagle Rock Entertainment) not only includes the full concert, but a 40-page hardback book with wonderful images of the concert and rehearsals. Bonus features include several versions of the “My Valentine” music video starring Natalie Portman and Johnny Depp.
Sir Paul isn’t the only artist to mine the past with glorious results. Just a few days after McCartney filmed his “Live Kisses” concert, singer-songwriter Chris Isaak performed at the Moody Theater in Austin, Texas before a live studio audience. The results of that session shine on the newly-issued “Chris Isaak Live! Beyond The Sun” (Vanguard Records). Backed by his top-notch outfit Silvertone troupe, Isaak is seen on the concert DVD performing potent versions of his retro ballad “Wicked Game,” as well as the haunting rocker “Baby Did a Bad Bad Thing,” Roy Orbison-minded “Somebody’s Crying,” a fiery cover of “Great Balls of Fire” and other rock ‘n’ roll gems.
Music audiences can’t live by concert films alone. “Let The Music Play – The Story Of The Doobie Brothers” (Eagle Rock Entertainment) offers up the authorized story of The Doobie Brothers from their beginnings in San Jose, California back in 1970 to today. Interviews with Patrick Simmons, Tom Johnston, Michael McDonald, John McFee, Tiran Porter, Jeff “Skunk” Baxter and long-time manager Bruce Cohn offer a complete look at the band’s wide-ranging career. Fans who want to hear the band do more than reminisce can check out the bonus live performances of classic tunes including “Listen To The Music,” “Black Water,” “Takin’ It To The Streets” and “China Grove.”
Finally, the multi-talented Steve Martin is increasingly being as celebrated for his skills as a banjo virtuoso as his high-profile success as a comedian, actor and playwright. On the newly-issued three-disc “Steve Martin: The Television Stuff” (Shout! Factory) the artist’s early work on television including comedy specials, early stand-up, guest appearances, speeches and several music videos is showcased in grand fashion. For those who know the musical side of Martin strictly via his current role with the Steep Canyon Rangers, there are several choice bits on “The Television Stuff” to get a glimpse of Martin’s early use of the banjo.
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