Just as with albums, 2008 wasn’t a bang up year for concert DVDs. Sure, there were plenty of good ones, but nothing that was mind blowing. Last year’s list featured plenty of multi-disc sets including Tom Petty and the Heartbreaker’s epic documentary/concert film Runnin’ Down A Dream, the amazing full-blown release of Nirvana’s Unplugged and AC/DC’s exhaustive Plug Me In box set, but this year we’ve got a bunch of single DVDs.
Now, I haven’t seen every concert film released this year, which makes it a little tough. I made a brief list at the bottom of films I haven’t seen that should probably be on the list, but I just stuck to what I saw and liked. Let’s take a gander our list of the Best Concert DVDs of 2008…
While The Police’s performance on this DVD recorded in Buenos Aires is quite good, this release is all about the bonus material. Drummer Stewart Copeland’s son Jordan put together a fantastic 50-minute feature called Better Than Therapy which chronicles the band’s reunion.
READ ON for the top nine Best Concert DVDs of 2008 including films featuring the Rolling Stones, Rush, Phish and more…
This DVD, which comes with two audio CDs, contains over 100 minutes of footage recorded during the Grateful Dead’s historic trip to Egypt. While the music is somewhat mediocre, this DVD is quite enjoyable for a rare look at ’70s Dead in a mind blowing setting.
Neil Young put together this fascinating documentary of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young’s 2006 World Tour. The band went on the road with a batch of songs about Iraq to the horror of the group’s more conservative fans. When you take away the political overtones you’re left with a fine concert film featuring many of the band’s biggest hits.
Wetlands Preserved tells the story of NYC’s activist rock club with the help of the musicians, artists, industry folk and fans who made Wetlands the heart and soul of the emerging jamband scene. The bonus concert footage is great, we just wish there was a bit more.
Back in 2006, David Gilmour brought his On An Island tour to the Gdansk Shipyard for a concert celebrating Poland’s independence from the unhetty Soviet overlords. For this particular show, Gilmour and his band were backed by the Symphony Orchestra of the Polish Baltic Philharmonic. Gilmour mixes old Pink Floyd classics such as Echoes, Breathe and Comfortably Numb with the best songs from On An Island. This well-shot production also features late Floyd keyboardist Richard Wright, who played the entire tour with his old mate.
While this isn’t exactly a DVD, these front-of-house shot MP4 videos are must see. I biffed it by not including 12/30/97 on last week’s list of my ten favorite live archival releases, so I didn’t want to make the same mistake twice. If you haven’t bought these videos from Live Phish yet, go get ‘em.
Unlike Rush’s previous concert DVDs, Snakes and Arrows Live focuses on the interplay between the musicians. Bassists will love all the shots of Geddy Lee fingering the fuck out of his bass and drummers will flip over the up-close shots of Neil Peart gettin’ ‘er done. Even the rotisserie chickens cooking in the background look great.
We’ve always hoped popular rock band Phish would put out a DVD from the Summer of 1997 and the group’s JEMP Records imprint did a fine job with this release of a show from Raleigh’s Walnut Creek recorded on July 22, 1997. The look on keyboardist Page McConnell’s face when lighting strikes close to the venue during a particularly raging Taste is priceless, but the money shot comes when the band smoothly segues from Down With Disease into Mike’s Song.
When The Who announced they were putting out a concert film from 1977, most felt a bit underwhelmed. That year was considered a down time for the band, that is until this DVD came out. The quartet sounds fantastic and even soon-to-be-deceased drummer Keith Moon owns it on this particular evening.
Score one for Martin Scorsese, who against all odds made another fantastic concert film. Shine A Light shows us that the Rolling Stones can still rock and displays the wide range of their music. Even the guest spots on this documentary, which was recorded at the Beacon Theater in October of 2006, are stupendous. Raconteur/White Stripe Jack White joins the band for a joyous Loving Cup and Christina Aguilera sings the shit out of Live With Me.