The Yardbirds

The Yardbirds [Video/DVD]

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This mid-'90s video history of the group (released on DVD in late 2003) has held up remarkably well. Using vintage television, film, and newsreel footage intercut with their recordings and interviews with all of the relevant personalities (including original manager Giorgio Gomelsky), the film is an intelligent and bracing account of the group's history that manages to capture the excitement of the music in the course of telling their story and weaves that excitement all through the narrative. One also gets a sense of the forces at work behind the evolution of heavy metal and progressive rock, and the milieu out of which Led Zeppelin arose from the ashes of this band. Indeed, the activity in the Zeppelin catalog in 2003 probably made the decision to reissue this program on DVD a kind of a no-brainer -- the sound is excellent, the clips are often sensational (some of the live television performances are better than the official releases, particularly a live rendition of "Happenings Ten Years' Time Ago"), and the DVD has been programmed for very easy access and use. One only wishes they could have appended a coda about the re-formed band's 2003 Birdland album, which was no embarrassment to anyone involved.

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