DVD REVIEW: BLACK STONE CHERRY – “Thank You: Livin’ Live”
“One great rock show can change the world!” – these epic words from the ‘School of Rock’ movie flashed through my mind barely a minute into Black Stone Cherry’s latest DVD ‘Thank You: Livin’Live’. You can’t help yourself from getting pumped up as soon as the band’s explosive opener “Rain Wizard” sucker-punches its way to your ear drums and you know from that very instant that this ride is gonna be a blast! Kentucky rockers Black Stone Cherry turn things really loud at Birmingham’s LG Arena, catering to a packed house singing every lyric along with the band. ‘Thank You. Livin’ Live’ was released on 30th October via Eagle Rock Entertainment and promises to be a fun 2-hour journey featuring the band’s best works yet across their discography.
The UK has always been a favourite venue for the band, and there’s no denying that the feeling is mutual. Right from the get-go, the audience is in full-on party mode jumping around and screaming their lungs out, sometimes loud enough to drown out Chris’s own voice. The band consistently maintains a distinctly fun vibe in their playing style and especially on tracks like “Me & Mary Jane” or “Blind Man”, you cannot help but completely get lost in the ambience. You will bang your heads to the catchy riffs and smile at the antics of their eccentric and super-animated drummer John Fred. At times, you can even see the crew holding down the drums to keep them from falling off due to Fred’s manic drumming style.
The energy of the band and the audience successfully gets transmitted across to the viewer, and you actually feel that you are right there on the front row. Chris delivers a powerful performance on the vocals, not talking too much with the audience until almost the 80-minute mark, but successfully connects with the audience through his passionate vocal delivery. The band creates a great mix between slow songs like “In My Blood” and dirty riff monsters like “Holding on to Letting Go”, “Maybe Someday” or “Fiesta Del Fuego”. They also throw in a short cover of “Sunshine Of Your Love” as a tribute to the legendary Jack Bruce. It comes off as a pleasant surprise that will make you all warm and nostalgic.
There’s a drum solo at the 50-minute mark that showcases and re-emphasizes John Fred’s spunky playing style and is thoroughly enjoyable. Around the 80-minute mark, the band does an encore with “Peace Is Free”. Chris’s passionate vocal delivery coupled with the audience’s participation makes this one of the standout moments in the entire setlist. The moment towards the end when Chris brings the whole band together will make you raise those horns up. Just when you think the band will end it softly, they unleash “Lonely Train”, one of the the band’s oldest and heaviest tracks. Well, technically they end the show with “30 seconds of Death Metal” (as Chris puts it), which is a fun and groovy end to the show.
The production of the DVD is fairly simplistic. There are no commentaries or unnecessary interruptions, and the entire focus is on the band’s performance. The camera work does a kickass job in preserving the chemistry of the band members and their camaraderie with the audience.
Fans of the band will definitely love singing along with band on this DVD. However, even new listeners who have never heard of Black Stone Cherry too will enjoy the band’s kickass performance.