Reviewed: June, 2020
Rating: 3.5/5 (Just the DVD)
Over the years I’ve done a number of more ambitious series of reviews instead of simple stand-alone reviews. This is perhaps my most ambitious project yet. This series of reviews was born out of three seemingly dissimilar and unrelated components; my viewing habits, a stockpile and the global pandemic of 2020.
As a habit and personal preference, I don’t watch a lot of TV. I prefer to read and listen to music. Over the years whenever I have bought a CD, often it will come with a bonus DVD. I would listen to and enjoy the CD and because I don’t watch much TV I just started putting the CD’s with a bonus DVD in a pile, thinking to myself, “I’ll watch the DVD….‘someday’. Over time the pile grew and grew and grew.
Secondly, it has long been a personal goal of mine, and Metal-Rules.com, to review every Hard Rock and Heavy Metal DVD on the planet. Over the years we have reviewed hundreds of stand-alone DVD’s, more than almost every other Metal webzine. However these little bonus DVD’s that come with CD’s are often, dare I say it, are largely inconsequential or ‘throw-away’ DVD’s, with not much substance other than a video or two, or maybe a brief ‘making of’ the album at hand. They are neat for the die-hard fans who want to shell out a couple extra bucks for the deluxe version of the CD but mostly they are not a big deal, very often there is not enough true content to release on their own.
At the tail end of March 2020, like many thousands of people, I lost my job due to lay-off’s precipitated by the global pandemic. In my first real full-week of self-isolation, it was April 1st in the evening, and I was sitting thinking, “How am I going to keep myself productive and occupied these next several weeks?” And there it was, sitting on my desk, staring me in the face as it had all these years. A pile of EXACTLY 50 CD’s with bonus DVD’s that needed reviewing! That ‘someday’ had suddenly became, ‘now’.
And so begins… The Covideo Chronicles. (Covid + video…get it?) By the time you read this I will have reviewed all 50 DVD’s sitting in that pile and compiled this series. 50 DVD’s. 50 days. 50 reviews. Some of these bonus DVD’s are full concerts and documentaries, some are merely a few minutes long. My goal was to do a very quick synopsis of the DVD (not even the CD) just the DVD. I’m quite sure many of these albums have already been reviewed over the years here on Metal-Rules.com. In fact, the longest part of these reviews will probably be my rambling introduction.
These are in no particular order. I was thinking of doing them chronologically by release date or maybe alphabetically but in the end I decided to review what I felt like watching that day. This exercise was a simple daily task, it kept me keep me amused and primarily I’m glad to get that damn pile off my desk. Enjoy!
Gillan has had a long and slightly confusing career. This release doesn’t help matters. Is this Ian Gillan the solo artist, Gillan the band or Gillan’s Inn? It just says Gillan’s Inn…is that the name of the band or the album title? Weird.
However you classify it, the CD was a mix of old songs new songs, and a bunch of guest stars, a bit of a one-off vanity project perhaps. I snagged the ‘Tour Edition’ which has two bonus tracks on the CD and a bonus DVD.
The DVD has quite a lot of content even if it is organized in a rather unorthodox manner. The menu is really well done, sort of interact and amusing designed to look like a pub in an old English Inn, I suppose. Right off the top of the DVD we get the album which you can listen to in 5.1 which I guess was still kind of a big deal back in 2005. It even comes with instructions and a map on how to place your various speakers and sub-woofer to get the maximum sonic effect. It seems weird that whoever put this together thinks the another version of the album is the primary feature on a DVD, a primarily visual media. Most bonus albums on other DVDs are a bonus feature. I’m just splitting hairs, who cares right? At least each song comes with a mini-photo gallery you can watch while you listen, if you prefer to listen to your CD’s on a DVD player.
In terms of making the album, this is actually quite detailed and there are a couple of house worth of material, so you can really get behind the creative process. All the lyrics are included and Gillan does a voice-over for each song, explaining it and discussing who the various guest stars are, Jeff Healey, Joe Satriani etc… and giving little anecdotes for each.
There is a very weak and incomplete discography, alternate solo versions of a remake of ‘Smoke On The Water’ and yet another photo gallery.
There is a 30-minute ‘making of’ segment of studio footage which is sort of neat to see. There is also some backstage footage of the band messing around and coming on and off the stage. There is also a good segment of tour bus footage of the band on the north American tour as they hit secondary markets and make stops for gas in places like MooseJaw, Saskatchewan! Most of it is a pile of mildly drunken shenanigans with Gillan holding court and telling stories.
If that wasn’t enough there are about eight or nine live clips from the tour, Belgium, Toronto, NY and Wisconsin of all places. These are varying degrees of quality and it is appropriately called ‘Bootleg Basement’.
This bonus DVD really is the complete package, you get to see, in somewhat scrambled fashion, the entire process of this unique and surprisingly heavy album. It is well worth getting the ‘tour edition’ just to own this DVD.