Sunday, December 11, 2011

Blackberry Smoke Live At The Georgia Theatre DVD Review

Track Listing:

(Photo of Back Cover provided by Brit Turner)

Blackberry Smoke was formed in 2000 in Atlanta Georgia by Charlie Starr (Vocals & Guitars), Richard Turner (Bass & Vocals), Paul Jackson (Guitars & Vocals) and Brit Turner (Drums). Originally a four piece, the band welcomed pianist Brandon Still to the band a few years ago. In that time they have released two full length albums as well as two E.P.'s!! The band has been on the road non-stop ever since forming and have toured with the likes of ZZ Top, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Cross Canadian Ragweed, Zac Brown Band and Jackyl.  Blackberry Smoke was recently invited to be special guests on select dates on the newly announced 2012 “The Blood, Sweat & Beers Tour” featuring Eric Church alongside Brantley Gilbert!

Released just in time for Christmas is the spectacular new live DVD from Blackberry Smoke.  This 15 song DVD was filmed LIVE in Athens Georgia at the historic Georgia Theatre on August 5th 2011.  The DVD was filmed in High Definition.  You can order it along with signed posters or a t-shirt that commemorate this special show at Blackberry Smoke's website.   The DVD is ONLY available at their website or at one of the bands live shows.  Onto to meat and potatoes of this DVD......

This 15 song (16 if you count the 'Intro') is one of the best DVDs I've seen in years.  Shot in HD, the picture is crystal clear and the audio is superb.  I have to give major kudos to Kjersten Rossi who edited the DVD.  The edits are smooth and don't jump around between members like it was edited by someone with A.D.H.D. who is all jacked up on Red Bull!!  The edits give ample time to each shot and capture each band member doing what they do best.

If you're looking for a live show full of pyrotechnics, choreography, canned vocals, samples, dancing girls and all that jazz, I suggest you invest in a Mötley Crüe DVD.  However, if you like a band that delivers a high energy set of well crafted songs, church choir-esque harmonies and top-of-the-line musicianship then this Blackberry Smoke DVD is for you!!!  Charlie's down home sense of melody on the microphone is second-to-none and he plays a mean slide guitar, Paul is one of the best all-round guitarists in music today, be it lead or rhythm playing, the brothers Turner are always right in the pocket as a rhythm section and Brandon gives Gregg Allman a run for his money on the ivories. 

As an added bonus they've included footage of the recording sessions for their upcoming album and the band filmed interview segments exclusively for this release. You get a little history of the band and each member, a taste of life on the bus, and backstage footage! I dug Paul's tour of the bus and the reason why they keep a personalized baseball bat handy in the front lounge of the bus! HINT:DO NOT yell 'Freebird' at one of their shows!!

The band draws on their wide range of influences throughout this show.  You will FEEL healthy doses of Rock N' Roll, Country, and Blues topped with a dash of comedy thanks to Lead Vocalist Charlie Starr's off-beat sense of humor.  Zac Brown & Clay Cook of the Zac Brown Band and Jimmy Hall of Wet Willie lend their talents on several songs.  The set features a nice blend of original material with a few classics thrown in that even the casual viewer should recognize.

A highlight for me was Charlie's dedication to "that group of Navy Seals that was over there not long ago. Blackberry Smoke just has one thing to say, ATTABOY!!" (obviously referring to their eradication of Osama Bin Laden a few months prior to this show) before kicking into 'Freedom Song'!!  A few of the other highlights for me are their performances of 'Son Of A Bourbon' & 'Shake Your Magnolia' off of their 'Little Piece Of Dixie' album, the performances of a few songs that have yet to see the light of day on one of their albums including a touching song entitled 'The Whippoorwill', and their covers of a 'Man Of Constant Sorrow'; a song made famous in the 200 hit film 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' and their romp of a tradition song covered by the likes of Jerry Lee Lewis & The Grateful Dead entitled 'Deep Elem Blues'.  Jimmy Hall (of Wet Willie) & Clay Cook (of Zac Brown) lend their talents to the latter.

I'd highly recommend this DVD for anyone who is a fan of real music played by real people! Also, do yourself a favor & go see these cats in concert, they are ALWAYS on the road in a town near you!!  Tell em 'Crash' sent ya!!

As Charlie Starr says "Play One......Drink One.....Hot Damn!!!!"

Trailer for Blackberry Smoke's "Live At Georgia Theatre" DVD!  OUT NOW!!

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