This review originally appeared in the "Little Pink Guestbook", March 2005.
I picked up the DVD Lightning In a Bottle. It's the concert film from
the salute to the blues show at Radio City Music Hall from Feb 2003. I was
at the show, about 25 rows from the stage, and it was a great show, but in
many ways the DVD is just as good of an experience, and in some ways
better. The production is fantastic. Great lighting, great sound, and
great camera work. On the DVD you get a lot of good close-ups, facial
expressions, and get to see the interaction between the musicians much
better. My only complaint is that the DVD isn't long enough. The actual
show was between 4 and 5 hours long. The DVD is just under two hours, so
they had to cut some things out. I haven't watched the entire thing yet;
I,ve just skipped around a bit. Here are some of my immediate impressions,
and favorite moments:
Buddy Guy and Vernon Reid burning through Red House. In between, they show
some archival footage from a Buddy Guy show from 1968. Hendrix is in the
audience-watching Buddy like a hawk. I think Jimi might have picked up a
move or two from Buddy, and maybe a couple of guitar licks. Apparently
Jimi was a fan of Buddy,s, and even asked if he could tape the show.
Steve Jordan who played a lot of drums, and was the musical director for
the show, is almost as much fun to watch play as Levon. There were several
times during the concert where Levon and Steve Jordan were playing at the
same time. Two fantastic musicians.
Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown kicks seven layers of ass with his instrumental
"Okie Dokie Stomp." Levon drums on that as well, and the horn section is
Hubert Sumlin is featured on Killing Floor along with Levon on drums and
David Johansen. Bonnie Raitt plays some nice slide on the Elmore James
classic "Coming Home." Kim Wilson plays some nice harp alongside Bonnie.
Steven Tyler and Joe Perry come across really well on the DVD. Better than
I remember them at the actual show. Joe Perry sings "Stop Messin' Around,"
while Steven Tyler plays harp. There's a great shot of Levon drumming on
that cut. At one point, Steven Tyler turns around to look at Levon.
Levon's got his full game face on, just whippin' those drums. It gave me
chills. It's little bits like that that you don't always get to see during
I'm looking forward too watching the whole thing. It was nice to see
Levon, and so many of the blues greats playing on a big stage, in a big
room like Radio City Music Hall, and seeing the blues get so much respect.
As Ruth Brown said, "It was so nice to see everyone, and it wasn't at a