“Showtime” [HD DVD] by UFO

Artist: UFO
Title: “Showtime”
Label: SPV Records
Release Date: 4/8/2008
Genre: Hard Rock
Rating: 4/5

In today’s music world we are finding a number of upgrades and enhancements to the available formats as the industry desperately tries to keep the sales coming in and their artists on our mind. Long gone are the days of eight-track tapes (what are those you might be saying) and pre-recorded audio cassettes and it seems that the once dominant vinyl is now something only the strictest of collectors purchase. The CD became the be all and end all and for years was pretty much only the album put to digital disc without much improvement. Then came high end remastered CD’s and while this format was continuing on we saw the DVD take place of peoples hallowed VHS tapes and slowly show signs of development and growth on their own. Over the last couple of years we have seen the introduction of High Definition DVD’s and Blu-Ray DVD’s taking over from the standard release and each of the formats offers the buyer upgraded features and impeccable audio and video clarity. Another practice of the day is taking recent blockbuster films and concerts and re-releasing them under one of these formats. That being said we can move on to the release being discussed below.

The UFO concert film “Showtime” was a great release and I enjoyed it from beginning to end when I first saw it. Given our thoughts have remained the same on it, I am re-visiting my own commentary for you to remind you of them and then we can absorb more about the new High Definition release.

“The music of UFO has long been a reference point in many of the popular Hard Rock and Metal band histories and you read about this in interview after interview. This might be the case because the band is perhaps one of the best Hard Rock acts to have ever come around and the fact that they still perform today is a statement on its own. For many years legendary guitarist Michael Schenker was a part of the band but through it all the signature bluesy voice of Phil Mogg gave this band the consistency that it still holds strong to this day. After years of lineup changes the band now finds three core original members (Phil Mogg, Pete Way and Paul Raymond) and the addition of dynamic players to round out the lineup. On guitar is Vinnie Moore who is a legend in his own right and admits an inspiration from Schenker as do most guitarists. The drumming is adeptly handled by Jason Bonham, son of the one and only John Bonham. Many will state that this is the strongest lineup that the band has had since the days that Schenker a member. The double DVD Set brings you to the front row for a performance the band did in Wilhelmshaven Germany at the club “Pumpverk”. All around 2004 the group was supporting their SPV Records release “You Are Here”. There is a lot to enjoy on this straight live shoot and USA fans who got to see the band will appreciate the fact that they finally are able to see Pete Way perform. The reason for Pete’s absence in the States was due to some VISA problems and as a result he had to remain in England. In his place for those shows was bassist Barry Sparks who seemed to fit right in very well.
I was lucky to cover one of the appearances of the band in the States and I totally enjoyed the presentation.

This fact made watching the DVD ever so much more a pleasure as I had never seen them before and now was getting the chance to relive the recent experience in the comfort of home. Those that know the band already understand that it is not about the visual end of things with this group and more the overall performance of quality Rock. The viewer that expects visual dynamite will be disappointed because there is not any of that present. What you do get is 16 tracks from the bands catalog that feature not only a comprehensive collection of their staple numbers, but also a nice sampling from the new record. I found the mix to be a great amount of new and old that allowed new fans to get a great background in a short time and still keep the interest of the classic fans. While they were one of those bands that I never got to see more than one time, I always loved the music that they dealt out. My favorites lean to the classic years with numbers like “Too Hot Too Handle”, “Lights Out”, and “Only You Can Rock Me”. All of these and much more are delivered to excellence on the DVD and truly the combination of Moore and Bonham really comes to the front on these classics. Jason Bonham has proven himself more than worthy of the legendary name and Vinnie Moore performs in such a fashion that you would imagine Schenker himself drawing a smile. The group released a CD on the same day as the DVD but this product only has the live concert and none of the extras that you will find here. A fantastic amount of bonus features are present and those alone make it worth picking up. DVD1 is the main concert piece and some bonus material while DVD2 begins with the band being recorded live in the studio for 6 numbers. Those songs are a nice addition and should go over good with the fan base. I have to say that overall this was a very easy to appreciate block of music and while I often feel that releases such as this should be one big package, the extras make it acceptable to have them sold individually. This is a recommendation for any fans of good Rock and Roll who also might be interested in the historic side of things. If you don’t like that sort of thing you can always just grab the CD. Either way you will be entertained and pleased.”

Bonus Features: The band has a rich and illustrious history and many stories are outlined in the documentaries that are included. There are two such documentaries with one being on band history and the other on the USA Tour in 2004. There is a sufficient amount of candid Interviews and a making of the concert and studio tracks. Slideshows, discographies and extra biographical information wrap up this very well-done section of the package. Added features on the HD DVD release are an interactive menu that you can cruise around through while the concert is playing.

The HD version of this film comes on one DVD as opposed to the originals two and this is just one of the easiest to observe upgrades. The second comes in the way of sound and if you have the stereo speakers connected to your HD DVD player then you will feel as though the band is performing a private set right there in your living room. The picture is superb in terms of clarity but of course these are also best watched on a television capable of utilizing the High Definition feel as well. However the consumer should be advised that the HD DVD Format was abandoned by its Toshiba designers and many retailers and manufactures are no longer supporting the format. The dominant type of high end DVD release is now the Blu-ray format. Presently the players for this format are a little pricy but as it becomes the standard the consumer can expect this to lower. If you are someone who can still play the HD DVD’s then you should definitely upgrade to this version as it’s quite worth it.

Track Listing:
1. Intro
2. Mother Mary
3. When Daylight Goes To Town
4. Let It Roll
5. I’m A Loser
6. This Kids
7. The Wild One
8. Fighting Man
9. Only You Can Rock Me
10. Baby Blue
11. Mr. Freeze
12. Love To Love
13. Too Hot Too Handle
14. Lights Out
15. Rock Bottom
16. Doctor Doctor
17. Shoot Shoot
18. Pack It Up And Go – studio
19. Try Me – studio
20. Love To Love – studio
21. Slipping Away – studio
22. Cherry -studio
23. Profession Of Violence -studio

Official Website: www.UFO-music.info

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