"Get Your Buzz On Live"


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RATING: 8/10

One must always be wary about venturing into musical territory held by super group. One can never be too sure what you might find. It could be a problem of skilled players that collectively lack chemistry, resulting in tepid songwriting, or a group of prima donnas whose sole purpose is to sell records based on reputation alone, and sometimes all of that. What is refreshingly unique about CHICKENFOOT is that the collaboration that resulted in the self-titled debut seems legitimately driven by a desire only to plug in, turn up, hang out, and have fun, and then see where it leads, just like the old days. Sentiments about the free flowing, low pressure rock 'n roll vibe of the recording sessions were relayed to a packed venue by a sincere Sammy Hagar (ex-MONTROSE, ex-VAN HALEN) who, along with superman guitarist Joe Satriani, bassist Michael Anthony (ex-VAN HALEN), and drummer Chad Smith (RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS), looked like they were having the time of their lives playing the 13 songs captured on "Get Your Buzz On Live" and the caliber of the performance benefits immensely because of it.

The true beneficiaries are course the viewers of this professionally produced DVD, as well as those in attendance at one of the three concerts from which these performances were taken. From an audio/visual standpoint, the DVD quality is excellent; 16 hi-definition cameras and an elite recording crew will tend to have that effect. As allude to above, it is the tightness of delivery, the sheer musical skill, and some pretty stout songwriting that is rather awe-inspiring and a whole hell of a lot of fun to watch. Though the performance of radio singles like "Sexy Little Thing" and "My Kinda Girl" (the latter boosted by Anthony's famous golden pipes) elicit rabid crowd responses and are decent enough tracks, we're not exactly talking classics in the making either.

The material that really raises the performance bar are those that come with a muscular, often blues-based, hard rock delivery and allow not only the individual players to shine, but that also demonstrate the considerable synergy generated by the unit. "Get it Up", "Turnin' Left", and expanded MONTROSE classic "Bad Motor Scooter" (one that also features Hagar's underrated axe work and some lead vocals from Anthony) are meaty, big, and….well, maybe not bouncy, but certainly fired up with the kind of school jamming and pure musical showmanship that you just don't tend to see/hear these days. You'll even hear snippets of JIMI HENDRIX on "Turnin' Left" and the band closes out "Get it Up" with a reenergized segment of LED ZEPPELIN's "Immigrant Song". Squeezed in the middle of the set is a workable N'awlins' acoustic jam called "Bitten by the Wolf", while an abbreviated version of THE WHO's "My Generation" fittingly closes the set, a selection that may remind a handful of folks of a time during 1985's "VOA" tour when Hagar would bust out his version of "Baba O'Riley" as one of the encores. The concert portion of the DVD is pleasantly surprising, to say the least.

But in case you weren't smiling wide enough during the 97 minutes of live action, the DVD also contains a documentary/interview section of sorts that is genuinely funny. Included are clips of Chad Smith's random interviewing of people on the streets to ascertain societal knowledge of CHICKENFOOT's existence; a smart-assed chat and taste testing segment with Adam Corolla and Michael Anthony; some impromptu jamming and a Q&A session from Sammy Hagar in the home of the GRATEFUL DEAD's Bob Weir; and a bizarrely comical interview of Joe Satriani conducted by Nigel Tufnel (SPINAL TAP), otherwise known as Christopher Guest. Funny stuff indeed. For a band with only one album to its name, a DVD release might seem a bit of a pretentious cash grab. For most other single-CD groups, that may very well have been the case, but CHICKENFOOT's "Get Your Buzz on Live" turns out to be a relevant and entertaining display of spirited old school aesthetics and rock 'n roll fire. Is it an automatic addition to a proud tradition of American rock 'n roll filmmaking that demands purchase? Nah, it is just a good friggin' time.


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