The Damned – [DVD]

Saturday, 02 February 2013

Anyone who has ever seen The Damned play live before already understands why the Live Live Live In London 2002 DVD would be a good watch, without necessarily knowing any of the finer points about the release. For the uninitiated though, the explanation is simple: The Damned put on a spectacle unlike any other on Earth. Since first appearing in 1976, the London-based band has delivered a mixture of goth and punk that is mesmerizing and made perfectly memorable and exhilarating by the band's stage show which incorporates elements of what looks like a Las Vegas revue from Hell and a circus freak show. It's great; those who have seen it before can be easily convinced to go again, and they're pretty vocal in singing the group's praises. For those who don't know and need a bit more of a sales pitch to catch a concert, Live Live Live easily stands as a glowing endorsement of The Damned's prowess as a live band; featuring original members Dave Vanian and Captain Sensible along with ex-Gun Club bassist Pamela Morrison, keyboardist Monty Oxy Moron and drummer Pinch, the band simply powers up and blasts through a sort of grave-est hits set which includes crowd pleasers like “Smash It Up” and “Neat Neat Neat” as well as select tunes from the band's final studio album, Grave Disorder. It's a strong set and rifling through it as was done above might make for a great sounding sales pitch, but the proof of The Damned's quality is in the watching; right from the beginning, those who see this DVD will agree that the show is a great event from front to back.

Utilizing multiple cameras with sight lines that make everything about the film look picturesque and fantastic, Live Live Live In London 2002 is made to feel like the event by which other concert vids should be judged; it looks and sounds absolutely awesome. Right from the beginning of the show, the cameras track Dave Vanian as the singer stalks constantly around the stage, and frames both Captain Sensible and Pamela Morrison like statuesque figures at every available opportunity. Between the way the cameras move and the regular changes between cameras for different angles, panning opportunities and zoom, the viewing of this footage gets hypnotic very quickly; those watching will find themselves relaxing easily into the show as the bells toll to open “Democracy” before the song spirals into perfect abandon. After that form is set, The Damned just keep re-creating it perfectly; every time another song starts (but particular highlights include “,” “Wait For The Blackout,” “Would You Be So Hot” – which gets dedicated to the memory of John Lennon by Sensible here – and “Disco Man”) The Damned run runs at breakneck speeds before just letting go of the wheel and either crashing or collapsing out of exhaustion, and then they just pull together and do it again for the next song. There's no question that everyone on stage is working hard (and Vanian does show his age, as his voice cracks a bit here and there), but the incredible thing is that the cameras do not betray any fatigue, or even a single bead of sweat under those scalding red lights in which the stage is bathed. That fortitude is both remarkable and commendable and, when the show finally does break down at the end, people will already know they got their money's worth from what they saw; both those who attended the show in 2002 and those watching it now on DVD. In that way, Live Live Live In London 2002 succeeds in what it was supposed to do; it shows the band playing a great show worth every penny of the ticket price, and that guarantees there will be some more meat in the seats the next time The Damned books a tour.



Live Live Live In London 2002 – Tiki Nightmare
is out now. It isn't available on Amazon, but buy it here on Barnes & Noble .

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