For audio DVD consumers, the From the Front Row Live series has proven to be a welcome addition to the standard 5.1 Surround Sound reissues. A case in point is this high-energy set from Canadian rocker Pat Travers (guitar/vocals). Although he never scored significant fame in the U.S., his prowess as a no-nonsense rock & roll powerhouse permeates virtually every note. Along with Jerry Riggs (guitar/vocals), Pat Marchino (drums), and Barry Dunaway (bass), Travers slices through this selection of back-catalog cuts with a few from his most concurrent effort, Hot Shot (1984). In fact, this concert hails from March 26, 1984, in West Palm Beach, FL, during the tour for that album. Rather than subject the audience to new and perhaps unfamiliar material, Travers offers only a sampling of sides, most notably "Killer," "Just Try Talkin' (To Those Dudes)," and the incendiary title track, "Hot Shot." His boisterous guitar work shreds through pedal-to-the-metal renderings of Albert King's "Born Under a Bad Sign" and the appropriately named "Born a Rocker," as well as the decidedly and comparatively understated "Stevie." The aforementioned "Killer" is an instant classic sporting one of the disc's more frenetic entries. Its bluesy overtones and alternately sinuous and razor-sharp electric guitar leads would not have sounded too out of place emanating from the likes of ZZ Top. While "Life in London" and "Gettin' Betta'" duplicate the opening sequencing from the LP Putting It Straight (1977), there is no contest as the energy during this show virtually eradicates any competition between the two. Although neither "Boom Boom (Out Go the Lights)" and "Snortin' Whiskey" were chart hits for Travers, they became staples of AOR FM radio and, judging by the audience reaction, remained solid favorites. This installment in the 5.1 Surround Sound audio DVD From the Front Row Live series is custom-made for performances such as this, as the vérité style of the presentation puts you front and center, right on-stage between the musicians and in the heart of the action.
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AllMusic Review by Lindsay Planer