At one time or another Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page were members of the Yardbirds but the group's core during their '60s heyday was singer Keith Relf, guitarist Chris Dreja and drummer Jim McCarty. Relf died in the '70s but founding members Dreja and McCarty put together a new Yardbirds line-up featuring, most significantly, singer Andy Mitchell, and this film features material recorded during the band's most recent tour. The Yardbirds had a bit of a split personality; they were essentially a blues band but as Dreja explains before the band plays their psych-pop hit "Heartful of Soul," their label pushed them to record something that could garner radio play. The label was right and the Yardbirds continued to chart with additional pop numbers "Shapes of Things," "Over Under Sideways Down" and "For Your Love," all performed here. Mitchell does a pretty good job of replicating the original vocal sound found on those hits and is also a natural fit for the bluesier numbers like "Drinking Muddy Water," "I'm Not Talking" and "I'm a Man." The guys save "Dazed and Confused" for near set's end; Jimmy Page worked the song up with the Yardbirds before he went on to re-record it with Led Zeppelin.
Live at the Bowl '68
This film has been available previously but this version features the entire concert from the Hollywood Bowl, meaning that "Hello, I Love You," "The WASP (Texas Radio and the Big Beat)" and "Spanish Caravan" are now included. The show begins with the band playing an intro centered around Ray Manzarek's organ riffing while singer Jim Morrison paces the stage, ultimately leaping to his microphone stand and letting out an ear-piercing scream that signals the beginning of "When the Music's Over." Close-ups of Morrison reveal that he is obviously under the influence and Doors producer Bruce Botnick, who was at the show, reveals in the film's accompanying liner notes that the Lizard King had taken LSD before the show started. At points Morrison looks bewildered if not completely lost but he holds the show together nicely, treating fans to favorites like "Back Door Man," "Alabama Song" and "Light My Fire" along with renditions of "Horse Latitudes," "The Hill Dwellers" and "The Unknown Soldier." The show appropriately enough ends with "The End." Bonus material includes several new mini-documentaries as well as a few clips from TV performances.
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