"We're coming to you live from Rio" the superstar says after "I Can't Stand the Rain...," "and you know what? Rio is Hot!" Tina Turner exclaims on Rio' 88 -- Live in Concert Rio de Janeiro, the full title of the Live at Rio '88 DVD. This January 16, 1988 performance from Brazil contains 13 tracks while her double-audio CD recorded and released that same year, Tina Turner Live in Europe, contains 28 titles, more than double the content. All the songs here are represented on the audio CD from half a world away and both documents do a good job of displaying Turner at the height of her power. On a purely musical level this is fantastic, but that's Tina Turner for you, one of the most consistent performers in music history. Whether it is her own hit, the terrific "Better Be Good to Me," done almost double time here, or an expressive reading of Robert Palmer's "Addicted to Love" as well as the sultry version of the Beatles' "Help" -- which is so original it almost sounds like a new song -- it's just more evidence that the vocalist brings her "A" game to the stage all the time. Compare the work here to 1971's audio LP from a New York concert, What You Hear Is What You Get, and you'll find that this gem from South America taped 17 years later has the same incredible energy the singer is known for. There is just no let up -- Turner is perpetually on fire -- and it's captured pretty well on this short but appealing DVD which contains typical '80s pans of the stage, long shots from the audience, and other visuals that hold up pretty well decades after being recorded. During "Better Be Good to Me," members of the phenomenal band get a few moments to vamp during the tune, and that backing crew sizzles. This was originally released on VHS in 1988 on Polygram, reissued on DVD in 2000 from Image, and is now part of the EV Classics catalog from Eagle Vision, a company that has multiple Turner titles available. The one criticism is that throughout these various incarnations, why is there no bonus material or liner notes? If a cult band like the MC5 with their Kick out the Jams film/DVD can include four solid pages of information, why not treat a bona fide icon with a little more respect by going the extra mile? Certainly with legends like John Miles on board as guitarist and Deric Dyer playing bass, some after-the-fact interviews would play nicely with this short but very uplifting footage from the rock goddess. Consider Live at Rio '88 a very good snapshot of an important artist designed to whet the appetite for more.
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