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The Cars Unlocked

Discussion in 'Music/Concert DVD 's' started by ladyislingering, May 9, 2010.

  1. ladyislingering

    ladyislingering retired

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    I recently purchased this deluxe little treasure from eBay. I made a point to take notes just for the sake of writing a thorough review. Let's get a few basics out of the way, shall we?

    Personnel:

    Ric Ocasek - Lead vocals, rhythm guitar
    Benjamin Orr - Lead vocals, bass guitar
    Elliot Easton - Lead guitar, backing vocals
    Greg Hawkes - Keyboards, sax, percussion, backing vocals
    David Robinson - Drums

    [​IMG]

    Directed and edited by Ric Ocasek's eldest son, Eron. His father produced. Distributed as a "Rockumentary" by DocuRama in 2006.

    The outer cover is a hard case; the design was the brainchild of David Robinson, who is no longer in the music business but had always been the band's keen eye for the arts.

    Shift it horizontally to the left, and out pops a hardcover booklet filled with photographs and select lyrics/passages; full credits are inside, as well as two discs.

    Disc 1 is the DVD itself; it runs about 72 minutes. That's not counting the extra tracks.

    Immediately you're met with a montage of snapshots, magazine covers, and semi-intelligible conversation mixed in with an oddity of a Cars track, "I'm In Touch With Your World" (which is featured on their debut record, dating back to 1978). Before long the first live performance on the disc comes at you in full swing.

    "My Best Friend's Girl" is delivered to an audience that appears to be having a wonderful time at a medium-sized venue. The vocals are positively harmonic; I happened to notice one peculiarity, however: Ric Ocasek appears to be chewing gum (or just has a really bizarre concentration tic).

    A brief clip adapted from a French program follows; each five members of the band introduce themselves, and say something about themselves. Most memorable: "I'm Ric Ocasek, and I turn confusion into a virtue."

    Up next is a live performance of "Let's Go". The vocals are perfect as can be; Benjamin Orr is on lead and really milking it. Everyone (the band AND the audience alike) seems to be having a great time together.

    A home movie follows; Elliot is apparently learning to use a brand new video camera. Silliness ensues; random shouting and bizarre behavior. There's even a small clip of Ric, who appears to be smoking a joint. (Or a hand-rolled cigarette.)

    "Gimme Some Slack" is delivered in an up-tempo fashion. The music overtakes the vocals in quality; Ric, on lead vocals, is charming; he's full of smiles and grace, having himself just a wonderful time. He partakes in a slight variation of his lyrics, but it's almost a studio-quality performance otherwise.

    In a sound check, the guys are rehearsing "My Best Friend's Girl", repeating the line "here she comes again"; they're also rehearsing the chorus for "Don't Tell Me No". Everyone practices vocals aside from David Robinson, who raucously struts past the camera, and shouts. Footage from a dressing room follows; Ric is pissed off about the state of his ties, and goes on to flirt with non-English-speaking Japanese girls.

    Another sound check introduces the viewer to the bare-bones melody of "Up and Down" (a classic from their 1980 record, Panorama) which eventually leads into a full-on performance of the song. Ric is on lead vocals; backing vocals are remarkably weak in this clip.

    Afterward, Elliot is pissed off about the audience as he vents in the dressing room. He sarcastically notes that they threw glass at them, spat, puked, and other such atrocities, "AND I'M GLAD!" He then goes on to chuck his sandwich at the wall, and toss around a bunch of other dissatisfying food he finds in the dressing room.

    (If I may suggest comparing Elliot in '78 to Elliot in '81 or '82, you'll notice he's much thinner, due to a rumoured addiction to heroin, which could explain his odd behavior.)

    A rollicking live version of "Just What I Needed" has Benjamin Orr on lead vocals, effortlessly rising above thousands of screaming girls. Extra attention should be paid to Greg in this clip; he looks really cool and he's just rocking his ass off. It's fabulous. Toward the end there's a little bit of playful guitar battle between Ben and Elliot, who share smiles and brotherhood for just a few seconds. Beautiful.

    This transcends into an interview with a man simply known as "Dr. G" from the Denver post. He's serious about this interview, but Elliot and Greg won't have it. Both of them seem rather stoned, strung out, nervous, anxious, and twitchy. Elliot says, of the interview, to the interviewer, that it's "total absolute shit". There's a brief shot of Greg lazily fiddling with a keyboard, his hands rather daft than deft.

    Ben gets his ass kicked by Ric in the next segment.

    "Don't Cha Stop" has the viewer met with an emaciated, striped Ric on lead vocals; the band seems almost comatose with the exception of Elliot kicking ass on his guitar. The synth is more noticeable than the vocals; toward the end of the performance there's a shot of the audience - which is filled to the brim with nerds. (It's glorious.)

    Benjamin Orr takes over for "Moving in Stereo" in a sultry serenade of sorts; despite the dark appearance of the film, the synth makes it all worthwhile. It's an electronic masterpiece. The attention is focused mainly on Ben and Elliot (who has some kind of odd technical difficulties toward the end, and appears shamefully confused).

    A mind-blowing few seconds greets the viewer with Ric Ocasek being overloaded with questions by an invasive interviewer, then switches to a synth-littered "Getting Through"; switching once again to questions with various members of the band, especially Ric.

    When asked how the band decides who should do lead vocals on certain songs, Ric says: "When we need a good vocal, Ben gets it." Therefore, "Candy-O" is a most appropriate choice for the next clip. Brace yourself for a high-energy performance, instrument-wise.

    The vocal presentation is nothing especially impressive; Ben appears insanely medicated or stoned; lazily vomiting out the lyrics. It's almost uncomfortable to watch. The tape dates back to '84.

    However, in the same stadium, Ric takes over for "You Might Think" and everyone goes absolutely nuts! The performance gives way to footage of the guys exiting vehicles, and chilling backstage. The audience is excited as hell, screaming girls galore.

    In the next scene, Ric speaks of his admiration for nighttime, during an interview. There's a little bit of footage from their Warhol-directed video for their 1984 hit "Hello Again"; Ben speaks of the highs and lows of making a video, hamming it up for the camera with a blindingly luminous smile.

    Thus presses on to "Drive", from the same time period, with Ben on vocals (which are tired, though pleasant). The clip is perhaps a brief half-minute before jumping into "Nightspots" which is presented over airplane/airport footage; the guys are then seen rehearsing "Fine Line" (1987) and "Tonight She Comes" (1985) to an empty stadium, which leads into a full-on, full-stadium performance. The vocals are harmonious, though the band seems lifeless on a large stage lacking intimacy, though to house a very respectable audience.

    A montage of live footage glitters a live recording of "Magic", with Ric on lead vocals; the clips are very well selected, endearing, and focus on one band member at a time as individuals. It's actually very touching for the long-time fan to see.

    "Shake it Up" is then performed for a huge outdoor venue; a supportive and lively audience wears diversity as their badge of honour. The vocals and general sound are weak; the enthusiasm of the band and concertgoers are the only true spectacle of this performance. There are even girls perched up on guys' shoulders, swaying, screaming, and singing along.

    The last track on the DVD, "Good Times Roll", is presented to an equally great audience; everything about this performance is strong, solid talent. The credits follow, encased in 3 different frames playing all kinds of clips. Each frame could be watched separately, three times, just to get the entire picture. The clever eye reveals music video footage, live footage, and snapshots delivered at blinding speeds, all set to "I'm In Touch With Your World".

    One mentioning states the project to be in loving memory of Benjamin Orr (1947-2000).

    Extra goodies include 5 bonus tracks (live performances of "Cruiser", "Strap Me In", "Drive", "Touch and Go", and "Everything You Say") and the theatrical trailer for the DVD. Aside from the DVD itself, there is a bonus CD with 14 live recordings. I haven't listened to this yet.

    Generally this DVD is a terrific, rare, and genuine (albeit kind of minimal) glance at 5 extraordinary musicians who also happen to be charismatic, interesting guys. It leaves a person wondering what kind of secrets will be uncovered next.

    It's a must-have for the die-hard fan, but a casual listener would more than likely only experience moderate interest. If I had to grade this music DVD, I'd give it a B+. If you like The Cars, check it out; if you're more than just an occasional listener, hunt it down and watch it. Good stuff.

    Questions/comments/suggestions, pictures, videos, more footage encouraged to be shared in this thread.
     
  2. LG

    LG Fade To Black

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    Not much to add Lady, except very nicely done.:tup:
     
  3. METALPRIEST

    METALPRIEST Senior Member

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  4. ladyislingering

    ladyislingering retired

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    Ahahah, MP. I love that clip.

    And thanks, LG. The DVD is really just a whole lot of fun.
     
  5. alicerobert

    alicerobert Banned

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    Thank you ... I like this forum very much because it is very informative ... :pullhair::woot:
     
  6. METALPRIEST

    METALPRIEST Senior Member

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    Video fixed :grinthumb
     
  7. Metal Head Mike

    Metal Head Mike Senior Member

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    Great Review Lady. Will have to purchase this DVD.
     

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