Top Ten DVD releases of 2012


Written by Bill Whiting

Well, it’s that time of year again. Black Friday. and the end of the year tends to have us examining our wish lists one last time. Without hesitation, here are the top ten DVD releases of 2012:

1. Electric Hot Tuna, Live at the Beacon Theater- Jorma’s 70th Birthday December 3&4, 2010   This one’s a keeper, great guest performances from Steve Earle, Larry Campbell, John Hammond, Oteil Burbridge, Bob Weir and Warren Haynes compliment stellar playing from Jorma, Jack Casady, Barry Mitterhoff and Skoota Warner. Just check out the scorching interplay on “Come Back Baby” and “Water Song.”  A concert for the ages.

2. Led Zeppelin, Celebration Day  Atlantic  Led Zeppelin’s groundbreaking 2007 reunion concert is captured with 16 cameras, providing crisp photography and ear shattering sound. The band lives up to the hype, rocking out to an explosive greatest hits/ FM radio staples set that never gets old as Page, Plant, Jones and Bonham combine to rattle and shake on “Black Dog,””Kashmir,” and “Whole Lotta Love.”

3. Warren Haynes Band, Live at the Moody Theater  Stax Concord Music Group   Warren takes his Man in Motion album on tour, and tears into rock and soul music with assistance from Ron Johnson on bass, Terence Higgins on drums, Nigel Hall on keyboards, Alecia Chakour on vocals and Ron Holloway on saxophone. Highlights include the transcendant “River’s Gonna Rise,” “Spanish Castle Magic” and “Soulshine.”

4. Phish, Star Lake 98 Jemp Records  Phish at their phinest, a double disc dvd set from Star Lake Amphitheatre in Burgettstown, Pa. on August 11, 1998. Fishman, Gordon, McConnell and Anastasio wrap electrifying improvisational glory around the sparkling nuggets, “Reba,” “Down with Disease,” and ” Maze.” Not to be missed.

5. The Who, Live in Texas ’75  Eagle Rock  The Who displaying quartet style epic anthem prowess with Daltrey, Townshend, Entwistle and Moon pounding through “Pinball Wizard,” “Roadrunner,” “Won’t Get Fooled Again” and “My Generation Blues.” Devastating.

6. Coldplay, Live 2012  Capitol  This is Coldplay at their peak on the Mylo Xyloto world tour as Chris Martin and band cruise into overdrive on the smash hits, “Yello,” “In My Place,” “Viva La Vida” and “Every Teardrop is a Waterfall.”  Stunning.

7. Big Easy Express   This winner is directed by Emmett Malloy, and examines the inspiration and pure joy that existed when Mumford & Sons, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros and Old Crow Medicine Show shared a railroad journey across the American landscape in 2011. Beguiling and exhuberant.

8. Jimi Hendrix, Jimi Plays Berkeley  Sony Legacy  On May 30, 1970 Jimi Hendrix put on one of the best performances of his life at Berkeley Community Center. Billy Cox on bass and Mitch Mitchell on drums join Hendrix to reinvent guitar rock on “Purple Haze,” “Hey Joe,” and “Machine Gun.” Revelatory.

9. The Band of Heathens: The Double Down- Live in Denver, Vol.2  Boh Records  The Band of Heathens are a consistent, roots oriented top touring unit, and this film shows why as they take a trip into the smokin’ rhythms of “Gris Gris Satchel,” ” I Ain’t Running,” and “Judas ‘Scariot Blues.” A rough and tumble ride that pays dividends upon successive viewings.

10. Marley  Magnolia  Documentarian Kevin Macdonald provides the definitive overview of the life and musical career of reggae legend Bob Marley. Full of sweet sounds including “I Shot the Sheriff,” “Three Little Birds,” and “Jammin.”    There it is, plenty to enjoy, and it leaves one in rabid anticipation of the DVD releases to come in 2013!