AltSounds.com has written the following review of “Get Your Buzz On (Live), “ the new DVD & Blu-ray from Chickenfoot.
Chickenfoot – Get Your Buzz On LIVE DVD & Blu-Ray (Eagle Vision)
April 25, 2010
Who are Chickenfoot? What! You mean you don’t know? Time for a brief History lesson children. Remember when we used to have icons, idols and musicians who stood out from the rest, without the need for gimics, low slung trousers or hairspray? Well, when you put Sammy Hagar (ex-Van Halen, Montrose) on vocals, Michael Anthony (ex-Van Halen) on Bass, Chad Smith (Red Hot Chili Peppers) on Drums and the maestro of guitar Joe Satriani into a room with the freedom to jam, you get Chickenfoot. Need I say more?
After sell-out tours and huge sales of their album, Chickenfoot decided to put their 2009 performance at the Dodge Theater in Phoenix, Arizona out on DVD. There are also live segments from both Tabernacle and Georgia in Arizona, as well as a clip from The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame show in Cleveland. Hailed as the ‘Best New Band of 2009’ by Classic Rock Magazine, it’s time to sit back and watch the boys at work.
The thing I must mentioned first of all is that both Satriani and Hagar adopt the oh so rock and roll indoor sunglasses. It made me smile, because they were really getting into the ‘zone’ and it certainly completed the stage presence and overall look of the band. If you have ever seen Chickenfoot press shots, Satriani is also seldom seen without some form of band merch attached to him – clearly he is proud of this project he is a part of. The first track ‘Avenida Revolution’ allows the first musical showcase of the night, demonstrating just what talent we have in front of us. Yeah, there are flecks of riffs and beats used within their previous projects, but altogether, this is a display of ability and skill like no other and the interaction between all individuals is outstanding.
As the camera pans through the audience, all ages don the seated arena, standing in approval and nodding their ageing heads to the chops of Chickenfoot. Michael Anthony gets a chance to throw a short Bass solo into the mix during ‘Sexy Little Thing’ and this is kept classy and cool, without being an over-extended yawnfest. Chad is on form, as per usual and his talent reflects the gleam and shine from his cymbals as he powers around the custom Chickenfoot drum kit. ‘Soap on a Rope’ is also a real blinder and has the foot-tapping riff from decades past, where Michael Anthony also does some very commendable vocal work (I didn’t know he sung so well!). Even though the members are passed being youthful by numerical age, you wouldn’t know it from their childish smiles and tongue pokes to each other. How Satriani keeps his fingers from overheating as he navigates the fretboard is a wonder to me and I felt awestruck by just how good he is in reality. So often you can hear an album by a band and unless you see them live yourself, you are none the wiser how it transfers onto the stage, but Chickenfoot exceeded my expectations. I actually preferred this DVD far more than the CD – visuals speak louder in my opinion.
‘Oh babbbbbbbbbby’ is screamed by Hagar which tells me that he is still hankering for days gone by and he approaches his vocal with a Robert Plant style delivery and actually, this works wonders. I’m glad that none of these individuals have gone off the boil over time and can still provide a musical spectacle without compromise.
‘Bitten by the Wolf’ sees Satriani take on an acoustic guitar, Hagar grab a folky sounding microphone from the deep south, Anthony uses a vintage looking bass and Smith has just a tambourine and a bass drum (which has been pulled forward to centre stage in front of his full kit). Smith also provides backing vocals in places, that strangely fit and he again surprises me in being able to sing well. This project also exercises people’s views that these musicians are only capable of playing their instrument and nothing else – turns out they are multi-talented. Another kick for the simple mans ego. Hagar’s voice is unrivalled on this song and the stripped down nature really gives him a chance to shine.
There have been times when a collective force of able musicians pull together and create a ‘supergroup’ and sometimes they turn out to be forgettable. The difference with Chickenfoot is that they take your more standard bluesy-rock tunes and by adding a touch of genius, transform it into something special. They don’t come out shouting and screaming about who they are, what they’ve got or where they are heading, but simply get down to business. Crowd reaction sums up the evening for those who witnessed the event in person and as somebody sitting at home, often it’s hard to pick up the connection, but I certainly feel part of the action and this is really cool.
They throw songs like ‘Learnin’ to fall’, ‘Turnin’ Up’, ‘Future in the Past’ and one of my favourites ‘Get it Up’ into the mix as the set draws towards a close. There is no letting up for the charisma and energy on display and it is inspiring to see them hard at it with constant will to keep the audience in their hands from start to finish. Satriani makes constant use of the whammy bar, creating and building new sounds, squeaks and squeals like nothing I have heard. It was without intention, but seemingly relevant that I haven’t pinpointed any songs sounding like any other specifically. I had not planned it to be this way, but although their tracks represent influences from decades of work, each has a unique spin which keeps it fresh and imaginative. Actually, in retrospect, it is nice to see four lesser appreciated musicians getting together, without the regular faces of big-head, limelight craving monkeys trawling the gutter of spin-off projects in the hope of reinventing themselves.
Anybody still in doubt as to their potential, there is a Led Zeppelin excerpt featuring the vocal intro of the ‘Immigrant Song’, where Michael Anthony delivers a pitch perfect monster of a performance. Huge respect for the man who takes that on (and pulls it off). While I’m chucking out compliments, I’d be surprised if anybody can find a bigger pedal board than Satriani’s, as it looks around 2 metres in length and jam packed with goodies. Hagar also picks up his guitar during ‘Future in the Past’ which is great to see, although a shame he didn’t throw a cheeky solo in there, because we all know the guy can play.
An encore of ‘Bad Motor Scooter’ by Montrose is a surprise (although not to me, because I read the track listing first, but to the audience). You know what the trouble with covers is though; I start to sit down and think about all the different songs I’d like to hear Chickenfoot do renditions of. Hagar absolutely dominates a vintage slide guitar as he perches on the side of the stage and plays away like nobody is watching. Smith even pops onto stage with Satriani’s guitar in hand, before the maestro runs on with his self promoting Chickenfoot-logo-covered cloak / dressing gown type affair. Either way, it is like Yoda is in the house and “guitar he play good”. The duo of Sammy and Joe also deliver a twin lead solo akin to Lynyrd Skynyrd as it covers all of 4 intense finger splitting minutes. Then the lights dim over Arizona… but not for long.
Just when I thought it was all over (not really, because again I read the tracks, but for effect, let’s pretend). The boys return once more with ‘My Generation’ by The Who. Do I think this was the best track to choose? Not really. I would rather see ‘Love Reign O’er Me’ for vocal performance, or maybe some sweet Van Halen guitaring in the form of ‘Hot For Teacher’, but nevertheless Joe finds a gap to extend a frenzied arrangement of licks and riffs. They also seemed to omit the main draw of ‘My Generation’ with no bass solo… oh deary.
If anybody walked back to their car before the encore, they wouldn’t have missed a huge amount, although watching Hagar on top form in ‘Bad Motor Scooter’ was a real treat. A must have and truly stunning DVD. The filming is the best I have seen on any live performance and this reflects a memorable show.
All live photos: © Christie Goodwin
Moving onwards and upwards and with the show warmly wrapped up, there is still 52 minutes of Documentary footage. This begins with Chad Smith asking members of the public if they know about Chickenfoot. Even with a full colour photograph and the fact Chad is in front of them, not ONE person can pick out him out. What a joke! As one guy says ‘Even you could be famous and I’d never know, because of your sunglasses’. Honestly, you would not believe the Chickenfoot merch on display here. Sammy drives a Chickenfoot Smart Car, whilst delivering a Chickenfoot custom guitar to Bob Weir, who later interviews Mr Hagar. When you get to see the behind the scenes footage, it is obvious why the DVD came out so well – the lighting, sound and camera crew are absolutely meticulous in making sure everything that is in under control of their hands is 110% perfect. You also get to check out Chad Smith’s war wounds from each sound – which is a pleasant and interesting insight. I’m disappointed nobody let me know that Chickenfoot played Shepherds Bush Empire, but I did get to see twenty seconds of footage, so that will satisfy me for know.
I watched all 52 minutes with blissfully enchantment and normally I would turn these bonus bits and pieces off. Make sure you get yourself some Chickenfoot action!
DVD technical info:
1. Avenida Revolution
2. Sexy Little Thing
3. Soap On A Rope
4. My Kinda Girl
5. Down The Drain
6. Bitten By The Wolf
7. Oh Yeah
8. Learnin’ To Fall
9. Get It Up
10. Turnin’ Left
11. Future In The Past
12. Bad Motor Scooter
13. My Generation
Running Time: 97 minutes (approx)
Running time: 60 minutes (approx)
Chickenfoot – Line-Up:
Sammy Hagar – Vocals, Guitar
Michael Anthony – Bass, Vocals
Joe Satriani – Guitar, Vocals
Chad Smith- Drums, Vocals
dts 5.1 Surround Sound
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
LPCM Stereo (Blu-ray)