The Dave Clark Five

TV Collection [Bootleg DVD]

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This DVD, which has been circulating underground since late 2003, was made from a very short-lived Japanese laserdisc that drew from materials coming from Dave Clark's own archive. The laserdisc was deleted very quickly and has been a serious collector's piece for ten years or more, and it's easy to see why. The performance clips are drawn from a multitude of venues and if they're not actually live, the group did do the audience the courtesy of having leads plugged into the instruments and microphones. In contrast to a lot of other groups of the era, who tended to get a lot less interesting when doing their ballads, the Dave Clark Five manages to look excited even doing "Everybody Knows" and "Come Home." Sandwiched in among the live appearances is a prematurely audacious promotional video for "Having a Wild Weekend" that is extraordinarily well edited and exciting and features a dazzling array of shots and angles. The image suddenly shifts to color for a live performance of "Catch Us if You Can," where they throw themselves into the song with uncommon seriousness, followed by "You Got What It Takes." The vocals are almost definitely live, or the best miming ever, Mike Smith turning in an extraordinary performance here and almost everywhere else on this 90-minute collection, which comes with a simple but easy to use menu. Watching this disc, it's easy to see how the DC5 could have given the Beatles some real competition. In Clark, Smith, and to a slightly lesser degree, Lenny Davidson, the group had at least three prominent, outgoing personalities amid five distinct personae, and they were more willing to play to the camera than a lot of other bands of the period. Their songs may not have quite been up to what the Beatles were generating, but they were close enough to present a very alluring package to anyone listening under the age of 18. Incidentally, later clips in this compilation show the late-'60s incarnation of the group and Clark is sporting a beard and Smith is singing his heart out on songs like "Get Together," and it's downright weird and worth seeing on that basis alone. The performance clip for the latter seems to have been influenced by the Beatles' performance clips of "All You Need Is Love" (from the worldwide telecast) and "Hey Jude." The 38 minutes of the laserdisc are rounded out by a 1964 Pathe newsreel about the group featuring backstage shot; performance clips of "Glad All Over," "Bits and Pieces," and "Whenever You're Around"; "Thinkin' of You Baby" from Get Yourself a College Girl; and material from assorted mid-'60s television sources, including the Ready Steady Go promotional film for Catch Us if You Can (aka Having a Wild Weekend). There's some repetition near the end of the disc with clips reused in different contexts, but it's worth getting to the late/mid-'60s series of conceptual promotional clips attached to the group's classic songs that show them running around in fast cars with a great dane and riding horses on a beach. The studio performance clip for "I Need Love" is about the best for its era. The disc finishes with an excellent print of Hold On, a full-length television show from the late '60s with guests Lulul and actor Richard Chamberlain that was intended to re-present the group in a more up-to-date, extra-musical context in color, and it's worthwhile just for the opening parody of Dr. Kildare. As a bonus, the makers have also appended a group of TV appearances by the band that were of too poor quality to herald, but which are fun to see anyway. The sound is also good and loud throughout.