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Home arrow Reviews arrow DVDs, Blurays, and Videos arrow A Tribute to Leiber & Stoller (with David Gilmour)
A Tribute to Leiber & Stoller (with David Gilmour) Print E-mail

A Tribute To Leiber and Stoller DVD and Video, including David GilmourReleased: 22 April 2002, Image Entertainment/Avia International, distributed by Direct Video Distribution Ltd.
Catalogue number IX13553DUKD (DVD), or IX13563DUKV (VHS). Running time for both formats: 120 minutes. DVD region coding: Region 2 (Europe) and Region 4 (Australia/NZ). Order via our Brain Damage Pink Floyd stores, and help with the running costs of this site!

Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller are responsible for some of the most familiar and well-loved songs of the fifties, sixties and seventies. It was fitting, therefore, for them to receive a tribute in the form of a concert consisting purely of their songs. And for once, the tribute was given before either of them had died or was seriously ill - so they could really enjoy it!

The concert was held at London's Hammersmith Apollo in June 2001, and featured, amongst others, David Gilmour (playing Elvis's "Don't"), Ben E King, Chris Rea, Tom Jones, Elkie Brooks, and Paul Carrack.

Thankfully, the whole event was captured on film - and released in this well-presented package, on DVD and VHS video. The DVD features a lovely crisp anamorphic 16:9 picture, coupled with Dolby Digital 2.0 and full 5.1 surround sound. The sound mix is very good indeed, with an intelligent use of the satellite channels to provide a very "live" sound to the concert.

David Gilmour at Leiber and Stoller, playing Don'tTo kick the whole thing off, Ben E King, Edwin Starr, Chris Rea, John Lodge and Leiber & Stoller themselves talk about the mix of songs and artists that were about to play that same evening.

This is a nice touch, and further pre-show comments are added as the concert progresses. However, this never seems intrusive as it is used sparingly.

As the concert unfolds, you are treated to a selection from Leiber and Stoller's incredible back catalogue of classics - as stated at the beginning, the songs are such a part of life, they seem to have just been around for all time. It's almost impossible to picture someone sat down, writing them!

The stage dressing is restrained, as are most of the performances, letting the quality of the writing speak for itself. With few exceptions, the performance fits the songs perfectly.

Each song is captioned at the start, giving you the song title, performer, and when and who originally performed the song - a nice touch sadly lacking on similar releases.

The captioning is particularly useful for identifying some of the less familiar faces that crop up; a few songs are performed by the cast of L&S's musical, Smokey Joe's Cafe, by some UK television personalities, and by some new performers in their first big public appearances.

David Gilmour at Leiber and Stoller, playing Don'tThe only two songs to be performed by the original artists, were Elkie Brooks' "Pearls A Singer", and Ben E King's "Stand By Me".

On the whole, the pairing of artist and song worked well throughout - with maybe the exception of "Poison Ivy", covered clumsily by a so-called 'boyband' that did a very inappropriate dance routine half way though. The audience showed its apathy accordingly!

Naturally the main reason for Floyd fans to consider this release is the appearance of David Gilmour.

Unlike his recent "In Concert" DVD and video, this doesn't just include his performance of an Elvis Presley classic - it also has his appearance on stage at the end of the concert, calmly strumming away with Chris Rea, both of them hiding behind the men of the evening - Jerry and Mike, and a short tribute from David:

    "There's a few teams of great, great writers, and they're in that elite of the few teams: Holland Dozier and Holland, Leiber and Stoller, Carole King and Gerry Goffin - who practically wrote everything in the sixties until, and during, the Beatles arrival..."

For those who have not seen his performance that night, it was something quite special. Choosing not to go for an uptempo rocker, David chose instead to cover one of Elvis's ballads - "Don't" - in a touching, restrained manner. David Gilmour at Leiber and Stoller, talking about the duoDavid looked tanned, relaxed, and as though he was having a whale of a time. The pressure of not being the main act seems to suit David - other similar shows where he has guested, display the same relaxed manner.

Overall, a great show, well put together in a very nice package. No DVD extras sadly - some extra interviews, or rehearsal footage, would have been nice. Having said that, the quality of the sound and picture do make up for that.

Apart from this, it is a release certainly worth considering due to the staggering musical heritage on display, and for a sublime David Gilmour appearance.
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