John Mayall

Live at Iowa State University

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Previously released by DFP under the title Live in Iowa 1987, Quantum Leap's video Live at Iowa State University captures a performance by John Mayall's Bluesbreakers at an Ames, IA, club called the Maintenance Shop, which looks like a college rathskeller. The walls are exposed brick, and Mayall performs on the floor before a couple of hundred fans seated at tables and drinking beer from plastic cups. The fifty-something British bluesman, sporting a suspiciously full head of shag-cut long hair and a motorcycle muscle shirt, jumps from electric keyboard to electric guitar to harmonica during a 49-minute, nine-song set that includes vintage songs such as "Parchman Farm" and "Room to Move" along with newer selections. The band includes guitarists Walter Trout and Coco Montoya, but it's really Trout who gets the most attention with some long solos, notably on the instrumental "Stepping Out," while Montoya frequently amuses himself by going out into the audience, sometimes even sitting down and sharing a drink with audience members while playing. The show is an enjoyable one from a thoroughly professional blues-rock band and probably representative of what a Mayall-led group of the mid-'80s sounded like on an average night. The extras include text biographies and discographies of Mayall, Trout, and Montoya, and a 49-second backstage interview with Mayall. (The cover of the DVD shows the approximate running time as 85 minutes, but that estimate includes 37 minutes of excerpts from other DVDs issued by the company on subjects ranging from Duke Ellington to female wrestling.)

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