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Shout Factory presents
The Blasters Live: Going Home (2004)

"Once you're a Blaster, you're always a Blaster"
- liner notes

Review By: Rich Rosell   
Published: May 06, 2005

Stars: Phil Alvin, Dave Alvin, Bill Bateman, John Bazz, Gene Taylor
Other Stars: Billy Boy Arnold, Sonny Burgess, The Calvanes, The Medallions
Director: Mark Linett, The Blasters

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (nothing objectionable)
Run Time: 01h:28m:54s
Release Date: January 25, 2005
UPC: 826663383096
Genre: music

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
B+ B+B-B+ B-

DVD Review

Bands like The Stray Cats, despite their apparent adoration for the rockabilly genre, almost look like they were playing dress-up when plopped next to a band like The Blasters.

While not simply confined by rockabilly, this California-based band was the real deal, and they brought a whole slew of styles together, mixing roots, Cajun, blues, and country into a fast-paced slice of Americana music that unfortunately never found a foothold among the masses. They may not have had a cool, marketable image (image? what image?), but damn if they couldn't rock the house.

In this unlikely and unheralded entry in Shout Factory/DTS Entertainment's DVD-audio releases, an August 2003 concert gets dressed up in DTS by producer Mark Linett (he did the glorious Pet Sounds surround remix), in a performance recorded at the Galaxy Theatre in Santa Ana, California. This 21-song set dips into the band's "hits", with songs like American Music, I'm Shakin', and Border Radio interspersed between some less well-known tracks, all imbued the distinctive Alvin brothers bluesy/rockabilly swagger that made The Blasters always seem like a band from another time.

This is hard-drinking, foot-stomping music, and the expansiveness of the DTS mix really puts the listener in the Galaxy Theatre's sweet spot. Phil Alvin's forlorn vocals on All Your Love rise up over a lonely guitar riff with that live feel that seldom comes through on traditional concert recordings, and the spatial effect is really quite impressive. This is band that didn't just sing about American Music, they were dipped in it.

Track List:

Marie Marie
Real Rock Drive
One Red Rose
Border Radio
Crazy Baby
Help You Dream
Have Mercy Baby
No Other Girl
Don't You Lie to Me
I'm Shakin'
So Long Baby Goodbye
Red Headed Woman
Sadie's Back in Town
Wandering Eye
I Ain't Got You
American Music
One Bad Stud
J.B. Lenoir Jam
All Your Love
Flip Flop & Fly

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: B+


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Rationo

Image Transfer Review: During playback, the screen displays a static full-screen image of a blurry, stylized image of the band, with the corresponding song title.

Image Transfer Grade: B-


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access

Audio Transfer Review: DTS Entertainment has issued this live recording in 5.1 DTS for DTS-Capable systems and a fallback 2.0 PCM mix that is basically for all other players. For number nuts, both the DTS and PCM tracks mixes are sampled at 48k, with a bit depth of 24. The PCM tracks is a suitable fallback, but this format is built on the DTS foundation, and that's where this disc gets high marks. The mix recreates the live sound admirably, avoiding some of the flashier DVD-audio techniques found on some other releases, choosing instead to stick with a straight-forward, sticky-floored sweaty rock club presentation.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+


Disc Extras

Static menu with music
Scene Access with 21 cues and remote access
Packaging: Super Jewel Box
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: Extras are rather minimal for this release, with a nice insert booklet on the band's history and a Photo Gallery of 25 random band images, including one with Liberace (!).

Extras Grade: B-


Final Comments

Maybe not the first band that would come to mind when you think of a DVD-audio disc, but the rockabilly Americana roots of The Blasters gets an expansive multi-channel treatment on a sweaty live performance from 2003 that puts the listener right in the middle of it all.



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