Stage Fright (DVD)
posted on 2/2006 By:
“We are Motörhead. We play rock and roll”
We know who you are, motherfuckers. Still, Lemmy’s introduction of his band which needs no introduction, to a packed concert hall in Dusseldorf, Germany, distills the issue to its core. Underneath it all—their status as legends, three decades of music, scores of classic songs, and influence on generations of musicians, on December 7, 2004 Motörhead did the same thing they’ve been doing since day one; giving the fans an honest rock and roll show worth their money. And Stage Fright gives us a show worth our money as well. The band kicks off their hour and a half set with the churning, fist-pumper “Dr. Rock”, from the sometimes maligned Rock ‘N’ Roll, before unleashing three classic old warhorses, “Stay Clean” (a personal fave), and “Shoot You in the Back” and “Love Me Like a Reptile” from their legendary Ace of Spades set. The band have done a nice job with the setlist, balancing newer material with classic stuff, and even throwing a few curveballs. With so many albums to choose from, complaints about exclusions are inevitable, and although the band can’t squeeze in all the aces (there’s a hell of a lot of ‘em, after all), they’ve done as well as could be asked. They’ve also thrown in not one but two tracks from the massively underappreciated Another Perfect Day (“The most hated Motörhead album” says Lemmy), “Dancing on Your Grave” and “I Got Mine”. Although Motörhead catches a fair amount of shit for being what some claim to be a one trick pony, the material flows well while also showing some contrasts. Hearing songs back to back in the setlist, like the upbeat “Killers”, the mercilessly heavy “Sacrifice” (complete with a Mikkey Dee drum solo) and “In the Name of Tragedy” sandwiched between tracks like the hazy, head shaking “Metropolis”, and “Dancing on Your Grave” keeps the setlist entertaining and the energy high. Likewise, although they’re unquestionably long in the tooth, the band are still in amazingly good form. Lemmy especially seems virtually ageless, especially in contrast to the unescapable media presence of another aging British metal king, who looks about six months away from incontinence. Lemmy, Phil, and Mikkey earned their money that night, turning in the kind of confident but blue collar effort on which the band has built its name. The boys close the set with “Going to Brazil” (“this is dedicated to Sepultura”), “Killed By Death”, and the blistering “Iron Fist”. They break out a surprise for the encore, playing an acoustic rendition of “Whorehouse Bluses” which includes a bass-less, harmonica blowing Lemmy, and Dee playing second guitar. You know what comes next—the everpresent and evergreen “Ace of Spades” and “Overkill”. Some things just never get old.
The show is also available with band commentary, which means that occasionally the music is turned down and the video switches to the band watching the DVD and making the sometimes amusing, sometimes interesting, and rarely wholly intelligible comments about what they’re seeing. Thankfully, subtitles are included, although funny enough, they rarely match what the band is actually saying. The sound and picture are impressive and thankfully Mikkey Dee insisted that the final product reduce the many quick camera cuts that are so frequently used these days (“I wanted it to be less…epileptic”). Stage Fright also includes a boatload of special features, including a “fans” film, multiple angle feature, a feature on the band’s recent thirtieth anniversary celebration, DVD-ROM content, and loads of behind the scenes footage. Special feature stuff is usually hit and miss with me, but one of the more interesting features is the one on the crew. Motörhead may proclaim “No Class”, but shining the spotlight on the group (mostly made up of old friends and longtime partners) that helps make the tour possible is a pure class move. The material is interspersed with footage of the band and performances, so the segment doesn’t get dull. When asked about when he’ll finally hang up his bass for good, the incomparable Mr. Kilmister answers with a question of his own. Why would he stop? As long as he can still get out there and do it, he asks, why would he quit? “I don’t have any grandchildren to bounce on my knee. And I’m not about to start bouncing other people’s grandchildren on my knee. Look at Michael Jackson” he joked. But he also said that Motörhead were a band that people deserved. Maybe not what they needed or wanted, but what they deserved. “To show them the error of their ways” he joked. As usual, he’s right. Speak on.
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