Yes, after much ballyhooing, the original "Star Wars" trilogy has finally been released on DVD. Sorry, did I say original? That would imply that the movies we grew up watching were back. The versions available now are the "Special Edition," reissued in 1997. According to George Lucas, these are the versions he wanted to make had he had the time, resources, money and technology available at the time. But you didn't, George, so leave them alone. That's like Orson Welles deciding to go back and add Martians to "Citizen Kane" because he had thought about them earlier. For some reason, the bartender in the cantina no longer yells "No blasters, no blasters" when Obi Wan protects Luke. Also, it is even more evident that Greedo shoots first. On a lighter note, the extra material in the set is top notch. My personal favorites are an almost 2 hour documentary on the series and a nine minute piece entitled "The Return of Darth Vader," which culminates in footage of the light saber duel between Obi Wan Kenobi and Annakin Skywalker, as well as the first shots of Hayden Christensen as Darth Vader.
LOVE YOU LIVE
In answer to Matt's challenge, my top 10 live albums are:
1. Live at Budokan - Cheap Trick. While they were developing a following in the states, this band from Rockford, Illinois was huge in Japan. This album catches them just as they begin their rise to the top here at home.
2. Live: 1975-1985 - Bruce Springsteen. The closest you can come to experiencing the Boss live, you can almost feel the heat and sweat coming off his body and feel the crowd move to the sounds of the Big Man blowing on his sax.
3. The Concert for Bangladesh - Various artists. Before Live Aid, this was the charity get together of all time. Harrison, Clapton and others donate their talents for a worthy cause. Bonus - Grammy for Album of the Year.
4. Wings at the Speed of Sound - Wings. Finally comfortable with his new band, Paul McCartney took them on a tour of the states to support the album "Venus and Mars."
4a. Trippin' the Light Fantastic - Paul McCartney. Same as above, but a better combination of solo stuff and Beatles classics. Nothing like doing the "nah nah nah nahs" with 30,000 people at the end of "Hey Jude."
5. One for the Road - The Kinks. A great tour, circa 1980, delivered a live album of classics.
6. KOHUEPT - Billy Joel. Joel took his band to Russia and rocked the Kremlin. Captures the energy the Piano Man delivers when he's playing to a full house.
7. Hot August Night - Neil Diamond. My mom played this thing to death and it slowly grew on me. Diamond is much more animated here (early '70s) then he was the three times I saw him live in the '80s/'90s. Besides, no matter how much I yelled, he wouldn't play the damn "ET" song!
8. Original Soundtrack - The Buddy Holly Story. I count this album as all of the songs were played and recorded live during the filming. Kudos to Gary Busey, Charles Martin Smith and Don Stroud, for having the guts to take on a legend and succeed.
9. LIVE - William Shatner. OK, laugh. But a double LP of Shatner spinning stories and singing songs is priceless.
10. The Kitchen Tapes - The HATS. Nolan, Matt, Corey, Scott V. and I kick musical ass and take names at 108 Ida Street.
Shame on Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, who has threatened to fine Denver Bronco quarterback Jake Plummer for wearing the number 40 on his helmet in honor of his friend and teammate, Pat Tillman. Last week, the entire league paid tribute to Tillman, who quit his $3.5 million job as a football player to enlist in the US Army and was killed in combat earlier in the year. Plummer, who played with Tillman in both college and the pros, wanted to continue to honor his friend but was told if he did that he would be fined by the league for a uniform violation. As I write this, Plummer has decided not to wear the number.
MEET THE BEATLES - PART 36
October 3, 1964. The boys assemble at the Granville Studios in London to film a segment for the American television show "Shindig." Playing before an audience of Beatles Fan Club Members, the boys play live (not mimed) to such songs as "Kansas City," "I'm a Loser" and "Boys."
Well, that's it for now. Have a great week. See ya!
"Mike's Rant" is ©2004 by Michael A. Smith. Webpage design and all graphics herein are creations of Nolan B. Canova. All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2004 by Nolan B. Canova.