All right, I had my slug o' tequila; now I can review this thing.
And it sure does take me back. Back to the rock. Cuz there was this thing in the early '70s where really good rock musicians who loved the blues would take off their pants and just let it rip, splattering their sweaty whiteness all over the stage and making you drink too much and neglect your homework and attempt improper advances you would probably regret. Talking about stuff like "Rocks Off" by the Stones, "I Don't Need No Doctor" by Humble Pie, "Same Old Story" by Aerosmith, "Rock and Roll" by Led Zeppelin, "Under My Wheels" by Alice Cooper, "Speed King" by Deep Purple, "Children of the Grave" by Black Sabbath, and I could go on but let's move along.
Sammy Hagar, Joe Satriani, Michael Anthony and Chad Smith (who's the youngest at 48) were around back then, so they remember. They also remember that things got cleaned up a little too much over the years. You'd expect Hagar to say things like "This is so special to us. We're trying to do it right!" But you wouldn't expect him, as the singer in yet another supergroup, to mean it. Well, he does.
Though I liked Chickenfoot's debut music when I heard it last year, I was suspicious, so I made no attempt to see them live. It turns out that I did the right thing: With this DVD I got the road-exploded performances, great surround-sound and a perfect view, without the $20 parking, the bathroom lines and the joy of being squashed up against a lot of old f*cks who look like me. (No mirrors 'round here, bubba.)
Everybody wins, including the players. Sammy, looking as casually partyable as he should at his age and sounding a hell of a lot better than he should, gets to write and shout with dudes he digs. Satch, the chrome-domed solo technical-guitar king, gets to lose control a little. Stevedore Anthony gets the bass benefits of Van Halen without the ego deficits. And Chad, in his Bad Co. T-shirt, gets to kick his idols' asses, be the craziest mother onstage, and bust up his drum kit at the end -- one of the heaviest rock drummers ever.
They pretty much play the album, and the sound may display predictable roots, but it ain't rote. If Dylan can go around covering "Brown Sugar," there can be no objection if Chickenfoot steal AC/DC-style high-string riffs ("Sexy Little Thing"), ZZ Top verse rhythms ("My Kinda Girl"), Golden Earring boogie ("Down the Drain") or Aerosmith-style Asiatic R&B ("Get It Up"), and especially if they pillage their dirty old selves, as in the Van Hagarish bridge space-out of "Soap on a Rope." Chickenfoot also carve out big quotes of Zep's "Immigrant Song" and Hendrix's "Manic Depression," and even close with The Who's very appropriate "My Generation," which has never sounded less whiny or more triumphant. A ball? They're havin' it.
Dude -- Chickenfoot JAM. Nice acoustic-electric blues-psychedelia not included in the CD: "Bitten by the Wolf." Though Satriani smokes on every song, it's even more fun when Hagar grinds his old lap steel to introduce the Montrose rave-up "Bad Motor Scooter" and then straps on his electric ax, abandoning himself to solo ecstasy while Satriani grins and strums one chord. (Bet Satch hasn't done that since he was 16.)
The documentary feature doesn't live up to the promise implied by the presence of guest interlocutors Nigel Tufnel, Bob Weir and Adam Carolla, but it's got some funny moments, like Sammy "I Can't Drive 55" Hagar piloting a Smart Car. Man on the Street Chad discovers that nobody can identify any member of the all-star band; a little perspective for ya.
Chickenfoot precede the concert with a group Jesus huddle and conclude it with "The Star Spangled Banner." Yeah. But I know they did that just to piss me off. So it's cool.