Del Shannon

Live [DVD]

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Del Shannon is in excellent form on Live. Originally released in America in 1997 as Live in Australia by Rhino on VHS, it now reappears as a Region 2 DVD (playable in England, the European continent, and the Middle East, or on region-free players or properly set-up computers in the United States and elsewhere) issued by ILC. The 1989 concert from Sydney catches him performing in a surprisingly intimate mode with a full band (complete with one gyrating female backup singer) in front of a very enthusiastic audience, ranging in ages from their 20s through their 50s. This is roughly the video equivalent of his Live in London album, cut about 16 years earlier, showing the aging rock & roll legend in excellent form going through a repertory ranging across his entire history -- 30 years of his own hits interspersed with his renditions of others' songs -- he throws himself into "Oh Pretty Woman" and "Crying" (done around the time of Roy Orbison's death) with tremendous passion, and if he lacks a little of the range needed for "Little Town Flirt," he does well by "Black Is Black" and "Runaround Sue," and soars on the choruses of "Keep Searchin'" and makes "I Go to Pieces" work on a depth that Peter & Gordon's version, for all of its rich harmonies, never really got near. "Runaway" gets a very animated and impassioned performance by all concerned, with Shannon's drummer Vince Vitnle getting extra points for flashiness. "Do You Wanna Dance" turns into a beautiful closing jam in which the audience takes up the song's offer by the dozens.