Celebrating 2012′s Best Music DVDs, From A Reunited Led Zeppelin To A Retreating LCD Soundsystem
The year 2012 brought a bonanza of boomers on Blu-Ray…and we don’t say that just for the sake of alliteration. Among the year’s best music home-video releases were vintage stuff from the Beatles, Stones, Who, and Doors, along with contemporary concerts or docs featuring the likes of Led Zeppelin, Neil Young, and Paul Simon.
Thank God we had a premium release from LCD Soundsystem to represent a younger generation of music auteurs… even if that whole LCD concert movie does ironically revolve around the retirement of James Murphy, the relative young whippersnapper on this list.
As we head into 2013, let’s commemorate (and spend hard-earned gift cards on) ten of the past year’s finest music DVDs and Blu-Rays:
Been a long time since they rock & rolled, indeed. Hell officially froze over in December 2007 when the three surviving members of Zeppelin got back together (along with the non-surviving member’s son) for a one-time-only gig at London’s 02 Arena. Maybe the biggest question mark was Robert Plant, who hasn’t sung that high or twirled a mic stand like that in decades. But the man sure does a convincing job of at least pretending like he still wants to be a Golden God, whether or not he’d really rather be home making Americana with Patty Griffith. He’s joined by silver-haired gent Jimmy Page, weirdly youthful John Paul Jones, and ironically bald scion Jason Bonham, meshing so flawlessly that you can’t help but weigh the tragedy of the tourlessness that followed this dream show. If you spring for the deluxe version, besides a two-CD soundtrack, you’ll also get a bonus DVD of the band’s full-length rehearsal at Shepperton Studios, captured on a single standard-def camera from across a vast soundstage. For those of us distraught that Zep didn’t do more than one reunion show, this rehearsal gig at least offers the closest thing we’re ever going to get to a second one.
After seeing the celebratory end of Led Zeppelin, it’s time to celebrate the origins of the Stones, or the closest thing we have on film. With all the feature films the Stones have starred in over the decades, who knew there was yet another one sitting in the can? Yet, unbeknown to very few people prior to 2012, a documentary crew had followed the nascent superstars during a brief tour of Ireland right after “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” came out. The very belatedly released result is an irresistible black-and-white portrait of burgeoning Stones-mania, all the way down to a friendly riot that erupts on stage when fans get overeager to get up close and personal with the naughtier moptops. You can marvel at length over a baby-faced Mick, already seeming a bit patrician manner even when the band was at its rowdiest, or the too rarely filmed Brian Jones, looking mischievously beatific, if not long for the Stones’ or this world. Charlie is certainly worth a look as a stand-alone DVD, but diehard fans will want a deluxe boxed-set edition that includes two bonus CDs, including a newly unearthed live show from ‘65.