The B List: Best Concert DVDs of 2008

9. Grateful Dead – Rocking the Cradle: Egypt 1978

This DVD, which comes with two audio CDs, contains over 100 minutes of footage recorded during the Grateful Dead’s historic trip to Egypt. While the music is somewhat mediocre, this DVD is quite enjoyable for a rare look at ’70s Dead in a mind blowing setting.


8. CSNY – Deja Vu

Neil Young put together this fascinating documentary of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young’s 2006 World Tour. The band went on the road with a batch of songs about Iraq to the horror of the group’s more conservative fans. When you take away the political overtones you’re left with a fine concert film featuring many of the band’s biggest hits.


7. Wetlands Preserved

Wetlands Preserved tells the story of NYC’s activist rock club with the help of the musicians, artists, industry folk and fans who made Wetlands the heart and soul of the emerging jamband scene. The bonus concert footage is great, we just wish there was a bit more.


6. David Gilmour – Live In Gdansk

Back in 2006, David Gilmour brought his On An Island tour to the Gdansk Shipyard for a concert celebrating Poland’s independence from the unhetty Soviet overlords. For this particular show, Gilmour and his band were backed by the Symphony Orchestra of the Polish Baltic Philharmonic. Gilmour mixes old Pink Floyd classics such as Echoes, Breathe and Comfortably Numb with the best songs from On An Island. This well-shot production also features late Floyd keyboardist Richard Wright, who played the entire tour with his old mate.


5. Phish – December 30, 1997

While this isn’t exactly a DVD, these front-of-house shot MP4 videos are must see. I biffed it by not including 12/30/97 on last week’s list of my ten favorite live archival releases, so I didn’t want to make the same mistake twice. If you haven’t bought these videos from Live Phish yet, go get ’em.

4. RUSH: Snakes & Arrows Live

Unlike Rush’s previous concert DVDs, Snakes and Arrows Live focuses on the interplay between the musicians. Bassists will love all the shots of Geddy Lee fingering the fuck out of his bass and drummers will flip over the up-close shots of Neil Peart gettin’ ‘er done. Even the rotisserie chickens cooking in the background look great.


3. Phish – Walnut Creek

We’ve always hoped popular rock band Phish would put out a DVD from the Summer of 1997 and the group’s JEMP Records imprint did a fine job with this release of a show from Raleigh’s Walnut Creek recorded on July 22, 1997. The look on keyboardist Page McConnell’s face when lighting strikes close to the venue during a particularly raging Taste is priceless, but the money shot comes when the band smoothly segues from Down With Disease into Mike’s Song.

2. The Who At Kilburn: 1977

When The Who announced they were putting out a concert film from 1977, most felt a bit underwhelmed. That year was considered a down time for the band, that is until this DVD came out. The quartet sounds fantastic and even soon-to-be-deceased drummer Keith Moon owns it on this particular evening.


1. Rolling Stones – Shine A Light

Score one for Martin Scorsese, who against all odds made another fantastic concert film. Shine A Light shows us that the Rolling Stones can still rock and displays the wide range of their music. Even the guest spots on this documentary, which was recorded at the Beacon Theater in October of 2006, are stupendous. Raconteur/White Stripe Jack White joins the band for a joyous Loving Cup and Christina Aguilera sings the shit out of Live With Me.


Honorable Mention: ZZ Top – Live In Texas, Warren Haynes Presents: The Benefit Concert Volume 8, Pete Seeger – The Power of Song, The Subdudes – Live At Rams’ Head and Unplugged at Pleasant Plains

Not reviewed for this list: Flaming Lips – Christmas On Mars, Widespread Panic – Live from Austin, TX,

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10 Responses

  1. Any list of top 10 concert DVD’s of 2008 that omits Zappa Plays Zappa is a joke (and a poor one at that). A stellar ensemble of musicians playing unbelievably complex, but still accessible music. Dweezil pulled off a miracle … is anyone paying attention?

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