The B52s – ” Live at US Festival ” DVD

Posted: January 2, 2021 in ALBUMS, MUSIC
Tags: , , , , , ,

Their stay was brief, as The B52s were helicoptered into the inaugural 1982 US Festival and then flown out as soon as their raucous, high-energy performance was over. They never got to experience all the technological wonder of Steve Wozniak’s creation. Still, the alien, wigged-out new wave revellers left their mark, putting on an ebullient, red-hot dance party for the ages.

Professionally shot and edited to capture the band’s relentless, angular groove and edge, Live at US Festival presents the lovable original B52s line-up in all its oddly compelling glory, fuelled by Ricky Wilson’s wiry, unpredictable guitar figures and sweaty concentration, Keith Strickland’s crisp, fast drumming and the wild antics of Fred Schneider, Cindy Wilson and Kate Pierson. In that hot, dusty setting, live versions of “Private Idaho,” “Rock Lobster,” “Lava,” “Party Out of Bounds” and “52 Girls” sizzled, as the B52s gyrated and wiggled about, yelping like hyenas.

More interview footage with Schneider, Pierson and Cindy Wilson would be welcome. What little there is here is inserted awkwardly, although it does provide interesting context to the historical concert footage here. The remedy for such trivial concerns is seeing The B52s rumble through “Planet Claire” with tight precision and gleefully rip up “6060-842” and “Big Bird,” before closing with a celebratory and spirited “Strobe Light.”

THE B-52S: Live At US Festival. At the inaugural US Festival in 1982, the mouth watering line up on the show’s first day included The Ramones, The Police, and Talking Heads. Also on the bill for that opening salvo were The B-52s, whose appearance has now been placed on DVD by the Shout! Factory label. For long time fans like me (shimmying to “Rock Lobster”era 40 years ago!), this is a valuable time-capsule piece, capturing the ultimate party band while it was still in its relative infancy. (And apparently we kids weren’t the only fans back in the day: In 1980, the same year as his assassination, John Lennon heard “Rock Lobster” in a dance club and was so excited by it that he ended his five-year hiatus to create Double Fantasy.) With two albums and one EP already under their belt, band members Fred Schneider, Kate Pierson, Cindy Wilson, Ricky Wilson (who died of AIDS in 1985), and Keith Strickland weren’t lacking for material, and they light up the stage with dazzling performances of such gems as “Private Idaho,” “Give Me Back My Man,” “52 Girls,” “Dance This Mess Around,” “Mesopotamia,” and eight other songs. Interspersed throughout the concert (which lasts about an hour) are snippets from a new interview with Fred, Kate and Cindy.

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