'Get Your Buzz On Live' is an essential purchase for all self respecting rock fans. The classily produced DVD superbly captures the spirit of a great band who it might be argued have single handedly dragged Classic Rock back to centre stage.
Perhaps the most significant moment of the live concert footage comes when Sammy Hagar introduces the poignantly titled 'Future in the Past'. He seems genuinely humble about the significance of the song title, 'this late in our career' and further adds, 'this song is about learning from your mistakes'. Joe Satriani meanwhile sees the project as an opportunity to bring the music he's played in the past decades into the present. And while Chickenfoot don't quite make that quantum leap, 'Get Your Buzz On Live' does more than enough to justify the both Sammy and Joe's aspirations.
There was a time when hard rockers were supposed to be dark, brooding, menacing, if not simply messed up. But Chickenfoot represent a renaissance and have completely ripped up the script. In their hands, the whole rock genre seems to have refound its focus and simply grown up.
For one thing you suspect bass player Michael Anthony has had his fill of the Machiavellian side of Rock with Van Halen while Joe Satriani clearly has found a new lease of life for his extraordinary talent. That leaves the uber sticksman Chad Smith who appears to be having just as much fun as the effervescent larger than life frontman Sammy Hagar.
But what makes the whole project work so well is the well crafted but fired up material that blows away the cobwebs, jettisons the clichés and readdresses a notion of Classic Rock for the new era.
And in between the thunderous rocking, tight ass playing and some unlikely choreography from the 60 year old Hagar, there are some impressive songs and lingering melodies. This is especially so on the almost sing-along feel of 'My Kinda Girl', which in a previous lifetime would have been an MTV staple.
But no matter, the last year has brought the new supergroup incredible album sales and sold out shows as befits a project that effortlessly fulfils every expectation.
Sammy announces that the raucous 'Down the Drain' started out as a jam session and became a song; 'but tonight we're gonna turn it back into a jam session for you'. And the band is as good as its word, as the muscular rhythm section pushes Joe and Sammy to the limit. In fact the band is so good that it rides rough shoed over any sniggers and reservations at their outset when Hagar apparently mentioned Chickenfoot in the same breath as Zeppelin. Hell the question should really be, could Zeppelin be this good in 2010?
Make no mistake; Chickenfoot is a powerhouse outfit who do things the old school way by connecting with the crowd by building up a dynamic continuum through a mix of stage craft and exhilarating playing. On 'Down the Drain' Sammy sings out of his trousers before finishing with a mighty banshee wail. In Chickenfoot's hands, Rock is not dead it's just rediscovered its professionalism and added a smile.
The band play the whole of their debut album but change the running order, presumably to accommodate to the live setting. They launch into 'Sexy Thing' early on and after the show stopping 'Down the Drain' take a breather and head 'down-home' on the New Orleans influenced 'Bitten By The Wolf', which was originally a bonus track. Joe switches to acoustic, Chad contents himself with a foot pedal, and Sammy perches precariously on a stool as he sings about 'living forever' through a harp mike.
There's real feel, light and shade and surprising restraint before a belated a tidal wave of sonic delight as Chad slips behind the kit and Joe adds some searing slide while Sammy revels in his temporary role as a blues man.
The multiple camera shoot and subtle lighting does its job and the band finds a real sense of presence before returning to the rock template on the crunching riffs of 'Oh Yeah'
Chickenfoot represents the triumph of the sheer enjoyment of playing quality material over the pitfalls of bruised egos and contractual obligations etc. There's also an important subtle dynamic at the core of the band that finds an equilibrium born of Sammy's front man spontaneity and Joe's concentrated virtuosity while Michael and Chad add superb bv's that help beef out the primal riffs and sexual swagger of 'Get It Up'. The band also offers incredible energy levels and the whole gig is a glorious triumph from beginning to end.
Towards the end, Sammy sits on the lip of the stage cradling a battered lap steel as he revisits his own rock back pages with Montrose's 'Bad Motor Scooter'- 'the first song I ever wrote'. By the time of the wholly apposite 'My Generation', there's a genuine sense of closure as Sammy shouts, 'That's the way rock & roll is supposed to be played'.
'Get Your Buzz On Live' sees Chickefoot bring rock music full circle and it never sounded as good as this! The additional documentary is a mix of the weird, wacky and wonderful as Sammy meets The Dead's Bob Weir, Chad indulges in some spoof interviews and the sense of the ridiculous is compounded by an interview with Joe by Spinal Tap's Nigel Tufnell. And just like the concert section, there more great music. Oh and did I forget to mention the hi-definition filming and surround sound?
An essential purchase and rock at its very best.
Review by Pete Feenstra
Chickenfoot: Get Your Buzz On 'Live' is released on DVD and Blu-ray in the USA by EMI America (April 20), and in the UK by Eagle Rock Entertainment (April 26). Further info: www.chickenfoot.us