“Sweden Rocks” (DVD) by Ted Nugent

Artist: Ted Nugent
Title: “Sweden Rocks”
Label: Eagle Vision
Release Date: 6/10/2008
Genre: Hard Rock
Rating: 3.5/5

Almost on the heels of the release of the CD that bore the same name comes the live concert video from Ted Nugent’s appearance on the Sweden Rocks festival back in 2006. Having recently reviewed the CD itself I was rather interested in seeing how this would come out since audio does not always clue you in to the level of quality delivered at the show. My critique of the CD was that Ted’s vocal sounded far too upfront in the mix and the backing players really sounded low, so that unevenness was a little bit annoying. Would this be the same with the DVD, well it was time to find out. Given this is a festival setting where hundreds of performers are crossing the stage, the décor for the band is rather limited to what appears to be cargo netting over some of the amps and of course Ted’s name logo hanging proudly in the back. Nugent was never much for over the top visual displays and was always more about his guitar playing and infamous stage banter and this is what we get in full during the concert. The main difference is that the DVD film features two songs cut from the CD, which are “Motor City Madhouse” and “Klstrphnky” – my guess is had they placed them on the audio only version that they would have needed a second CD. The show itself is pretty good and finds Ted well in command of quite a number of his legendary classics and he makes time to present a track from his forthcoming 2007 release “Love Grenade” with “Still Raising Hell”. It’s a good track, but for me I tend to lean to the classics when it comes to Uncle Ted in concert. His guitar playing is as awesome as ever, but somewhere in the mix I felt that his vocals were not as on top as they were in the CD presentation of this same show. Hey folks, he has been at this for some forty years and while he doesn’t show any signs of stopping, perhaps adding a powerhouse vocalist to the band and leaving him to do his business on the guitar would be the best move. As the fans will note from the show he can still deliver his banter and as always it remains a strong, pro-American message and is as expected also loaded with expletives. Maybe the kids shouldn’t listen in, but of course there is far worse being pronounced in any one Rap song these days so its probably not much of an issue and better they listen to Nugent anyways.

The band is kick ass and this is to be expected as it features Barry Sparks on bass and “Wild” Mick Brown (Dokken) on drums. Surely the pair is a solid rhythm section under Ted’s guitar gun slinging and they deliver his classics with excitement at each and every turn. I found it interesting to hear these particular players who I primarily know from work with so many others doing “Cat Scratch Fever” and “Wango Tango” along with the other favorites. Sparks is a standout bassist while Brown has always been one of the most consistent time keepers and that’s what Nugent’s material always requires since its more about the guitar and rocking and rolling. Other tracks that I rather enjoyed were “Wang Dang Sweet Poontang” and “Soul Man” which was an unexpected addition for me since I never thought I would hear him doing an Isaac Hayes number. Of course they do say that Ted Nugent is a bad mother fffff, oh wait, that’s Shaft but of course a lot of the gung-ho macho attitude definitely applies.

Bonus Features: “Live 2007 Performances” – Journey To The Center Of The Mind, Weekend Warriors, Love Grenade. “Interviews” – Talk Time with Barry Sparks and Tommy Clufetos during the “Love Grenade” sessions. Bow Hunting with Ted Nugent. On the gun range with Uncle Ted and friends.
*** The bonus features I was half and half on since the live performances from 2007 were okay at best. The sound was a little more muddled on them and there are only three additional tracks presented when clearly the guitarist has enough material to keep the home viewer entertained for a few hours. The songs were the newer rendition of his classic “JTTCOTM” and “Love Grenade” from his latest release of the same name. Ted’s new material has yet to hit me if I can be brutally honest. There are also two short interviews with bassist Barry Sparks and drummer Tommy Clufetos who recorded this album and while they are great to hear from I think I would have preferred hearing from Nugent himself. After all, the man does do one hell of an interview. The bonus features close out with Ted and company on the bow and arrow and gun shooting range and to be honest I could have lived without this stuff. Granted it is a part of Ted’s life and his whole love for the outdoors and the like but unless you are a true enthusiast yourself having to sit and watch people shoot guns or bows and arrows is very simply boring and time wasted footage.

Wrapping this all up I had to say that this film should have just included the CD version as well as a giveaway and if I didn’t see it incorrectly there is a version that puts the two pieces together which might work out better for the consumer. The industry needs to stop dividing the already dwindling audience for this stuff as sometimes making people choose one or another has them passing on both. While this was a fun show to watch it was only something I see myself enjoying every so often as opposed to continually. It might be more for the super hard core fan than me, but either way this was a good way to spend some time with Rock and Roll favorite Uncle.

Track Listing:
1. Stormtroopin’
2. Wango Tango
3. Snakeskin Cowboys
4. Free For All
5. Wang Dang Sweet Poontang
6. Klstrphnky
7. Raw Dogs & War Hogs
8. Soul Man
9. Hey Baby
10. Dog Eat Dog
11. Still Raising Hell
12. Motor City Madhouse
13. Cat Scratch Fever
14. Stranglehold
15. Great White Buffalo

Official Website: www.tednugent.com

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