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Johnny Winter - Live At Rockpalast (1979)

DVD Cover (MVD Visual)
Movie Connections:
Live At Rockpalast
> Johnny Winter - Live At Rockpalast (1979)
> Ian Hunter - Live At Rockpalast... (1980)
> Charlie Daniels Band - Live At... (1980)
> Public Image Limited - Live At... (1983)
Genres:
Concerts, Music, Vocal Music
Starring:
Johnny Winter Johnny Winter

5.4 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Johnny Winter live on Germany's famous Rockpalast TV show in 1979. Straight up blues like only Johnny can deliver, lean and mean. Johnny and the band also blaze through some killer covers like the Rolling Stones' Jumping Jack Flash and Suzie Q. --IMDb
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Review by Bill Wolford
Added: July 28, 2011
You like the blues? No? Know who Johnny Winter is? No? Well, let's do a deserved introduction to his life and career up to the point of this 1979 concert. Then you'll be saying yes to both questions after you watch this concert.

Wikipedia
John Dawson "Johnny" Winter III (born February 23, 1944) is an American blues guitarist, singer, and producer. Best known for his late 1960s and 1970s high-energy blues-rock albums and live performances. In 1988, he was inducted into the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame and in 2003, he was ranked 74th in Rolling Stone magazine's list of the "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time".

Winter caught his biggest break in December 1968, when Mike Bloomfield, whom he met and jammed with in Chicago, invited him to sing and play a song during a Bloomfield and Al Kooper concert at the Fillmore East in New York. As it happened, representatives of Columbia Records (which had released the Top Ten Bloomfield/Kooper Super Session album) were at the concert. Winter played and sang B.B. King's "It's My Own Fault" to loud applause and, within a few days, was signed to reportedly what was then the largest advance in the history of the recording industry-$600,000.

Winter's momentum was throttled when he sank into heroin addiction during the Johnny Winter And days. After he sought treatment for and recovered from the addiction, manager Steve Paul courageously put Winter in front of the music press to discuss the addiction candidly. By 1973, he returned to the music scene with Still Alive and Well, a basic blend between blues and hard rock, whose title track was written by Rick Derringer. The follow-up album, Saints & Sinners, continued the same direction; this was followed by another concert set, Captured Live!, which featured an extended performance of "Highway 61 Revisited". In 1975 Johnny returned to Bogalusa, Louisiana to produce an album for Thunderhead, a local band which included Pat Rush and Bobby "T" Torello, who would later play with Winter.
/Wikipedia

And that pretty much sums up Johnny's career to the date of this April 1979 concert from Germany. This DVD showcases that concert at the Rockpalast, with a three piece band. The 1978 album "White, Hot & Blue" is the current album for which this tour supports, and three of the ten songs played are from this album. The concert runs ninety minutes, and here are the songs you get:

-Hideaway
-Messin' With the Kid
-Walking By Myself
-Mississippi Blues
-Divin' Duck
-Suzie Q
-I'm Ready
-Rockabilly Boogie
-Medley
-Jumpin' Jack Flash

There are no extras at all on the disc, which is kind of a bummer, as I would have liked to see an interview, or at least a history of Johnny up to that point. But I'm glad that this even exists on DVD. This comes from an older, German TV program, Rockpalast, that used to feature all kinds of artists on their show. I hope they continue to put out the TV series on DVD.

There are some annoyances with this being a foreign program. Each time a new song starts, it displays the title across the bottom of the screen. This could be handy in some cases, but Johnny announces pretty much every song before he plays it. Also, during random times during the program, the name of the band member being shown will pop up at the bottom of the screen. It was OK the first time (except Johnny Winter, who I think we can figure out on our own), but the second and third time it happens, this again becomes annoying.

Now as far as picture and audio quality goes, you get a mixed bag. The audio is a very strong stereo with nice deep end bass and solid highs. The picture leaves a lot to be desired though. There was no attempt made to remaster the picture at all, and it shows. The colors and picture are soft at times, but the biggest problem comes from light and sound artifacts, which shows up by having bands across the screen. It does take you out of the experience a few times, but overall, knowing its rarity, and its great overall sound (that's what matters most), this can be overlooked on the whole.

My last small complaint about the concert is that Johnny and the bassist switch instruments for two songs. Now, if this were the entire uncut concert (over 2 hours), this would have been less of a complaint on my part. But at ninety minutes and ten songs, I wish they would have cut those two songs out and placed two more songs with Johnny playing guitar (Johnny B. Goode was played at this concert, but is not on the DVD for one). I'm sure it was fun for Johnny and his bass player to do that, but as a consumer, I payed to see Johnny's guitar playing, and that's all I wanted.

So to sum everything all up for you new blues fans, this is a must buy. It's simple. Johnny Winter plays great blues rock, this is a rare 1979 concert in great stereo sound, and it's a great way to add some blues depth to your music and DVD collection without breaking the bank. Go get it now!

8/10.
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