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Living Loud [DVD]

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Living Loud [album w/bonus tracks]

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In The Name Of God

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Debut [live DVD]

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Debut Live Concert

[the DVD]

Watching Living Loud onstage in Sydney is a joy.

It often goes largely unnoticed by the larger audience when high profile musicians from different bands get together for one-off projects. But even those fans keen to find out more are left with just the album to savour and not much else. Fortunately that's not the case with Living Loud. This DVD - not so cunningly titled Debut Live Concert - tells the story of Living Loud, combining a complete concert from Sydney with a documentary on the band's history and their single promo video.

Making the best of Steve Morse and Don Airey's visit DownUnder with Deep Purple in April 2004, Lee Kerslake was flown in to join local guys Jimmy Barnes and Bob Daisley for two after-hours live shows. Morse and Airey would come off stage with Deep Purple (in Melbourne and Sydney respectively) and zoom off to do the Living Loud shows at smaller and more intimate venues - with a good percentage of the crowds doing the same cross-city treks to catch both gigs.

Capable and energetic beyond any doubt, Morse, Airey, Kerslake, Barnes and Daisley deliver old-school rock'n'roll that just sits there sounding good. If you enjoyed the studio album you'll most definitely find pleasure in the live DVD as well. Barnesy sweats a river down the front of his t-shirt, Kerslake sits rock solid behind the drums with Daisley keeping excellent timing in the same pocket. Airey hovers in the back with just a couple of solo spots (most prominently a frantic solo in Gimme Some Lovin'), while Steve Morse is his usual smiling self, the natural focal point of the show.

The setlist alternates between Ozzy classics and the band's original material. As Steve rips into a very Randy Rhoads-faithful I Don't Know and Daisley lets off those signature flaggiolets on the bass, the tingles run up and down the spine. You don't need to be an Ozzy Osbourne fanatic to recognise the timeless quality of these songs and throughout the set Living Loud do them justice, whether it's the re-arranged Mr. Crowley or the more faithful renditions. But nostalgia's one thing that rarely retains its excitement beyond a few repeats. The real gems here are the band's own songs. In The Name Of God and Pushed Me Too Hard are favourites that stand up to a live performance and it's a treat to be able to witness what really was just a couple of low-key club gigs.

Towards the end the band stretches out with a couple of party covers; Spencer Davis Group's Gimme Some Lovin' and the Easybeats Good Times. Particularly the former is a feast of jammed soloing and smiles. The footage is excellent throughout, always focusing on the featured musician (be it a soloist or the singer) and all members are given relatively equal screen time. A nice little trick at the end is showing the venue emptying in fast forward as the credits roll.

The well-edited DVD also includes a small well of bonus material, the most interesting of which is an 18-minute documentary on the life of Living Loud as a project that became a band. Mixing tv interviews with rehearsal, soundcheck and tv footage, it includes clips from the band's first show in Melbourne (the day before this DVD was filmed), a live in the studio tv performance of In The Name Of God. It tells the story of how the band came together, revealing the little-hidden truth that Drew Thompson was instrumental in rounding up these five guys and ushering them into a studio to put down some music.

To what degree this project is Daisley and Kerslake's a response to the Ozzy camp's appalling and embarrassing decision to wipe Daisley and Kerslake's contributions to the two first Ozzy albums and replace it with re-recorded bass and drum parts on the remastered editions isn't quite clear. That was an unforgivably stupid attempt at rewriting history and those remasters should be totally ignored. What is clear is that with Living Loud Daisley and Kerslake put together an album of fine rock songs and onstage they proved their worth. Perhaps we'll never see these guys together on a stage again - but it was a worthwhile project while it lasted.

If only all bands were this well-documented.

Rasmus Heide

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