Release DetailsLABEL SPV
RELEASED ON 2/21/2006
Live In Hamburg (DVD & Live CD)
posted on 4/2006 By:
Can you believe Molly Hatchet is STILL going at it? That’s some 25 years now. Although they never made it as big as their brethren Lynyrd Skynyrd and The Allman Brothers, they’ve been toughing it out all this time to a diehard fanbase, despite having only one song etched into the mainstream music lexicon – that of course being “Flirtin’ With Disaster”. Last year saw the release of the critically acclaimed Warriors of the Rainbow Bridge, and now we get this live DVD/CD combo recorded a year earlier, at the Hamburg Harley Days in 2004.
Despite what would appear to be a perfect fit, there does seem to be a bit of culture clash here. This is a southern rock band playing live in Germany. Although one would think that the biker atmosphere would even things out, the audience seems to be confused, or maybe just plain indifferent. I didn’t expect mosh pits or anything, but a little more excitement would have been nice. Oh sure, every now and then we get a shot of a fan rocking out, but mostly they’re just standing around, painfully visible as the cameras pan out. It doesn’t help when vocalist Phil McCormack calls for a sing-a-long and you only hear a handful of voices. Then again, that could be a recording issue, as we can barely hear the backing vocals, too. So unfortunately, in that regard, this disc fails to capture the essence of a live show, which is so important on these releases and even more so for a band like Molly Hatchet, that puts such an emphasis on their live performances.
As a side note, it turns out that their last double-live album, Locked and Loaded, was recorded in Germany as well. I haven’t heard it so I can’t comment further, but interesting that they would do it again rather than try to catch a different vibe in another part of the world.
All that said, the content itself is solid, a good mix of songs from throughout the band's career, and four tracks from the then-forthcoming Rainbow Bridge album. Bobby Ingram, the sole remaining member from the good ol’ days, can still play a mean guitar and the sound quality is perfect on stage. McCormack has a bit of trouble working the crowd, but as I alluded to above, he didn’t have much to work with on this evening. Other than that, there isn’t really a whole lot to say about the content. There are some bonus features, including a behind the scenes look at the event and an in-depth interview with Ingram shown in annoying question-on-screen/verbal answer format, covering a range of topics. Interesting here to hear how much love and respect the band has for Germany. I guess the lack of crowd noise WAS a production issue.
Oh yeah, so this is a DVD/CD combo pack which is great because you can take the live rock power with you wherever you go. The crowd participation isn’t as important when you’re just dealing with audio. But wait – due to the limitations of CDs vs. DVDs, the set list gets cut by four songs, including the big “Flirtin’ With Disaster” finale. I think it's good that they wanted to maintain the integrity of the recording by not tampering with the sequence, but they could have freed up 15 minutes by removing the drum, keyboard, and guitar solos, which would have been almost enough to fit those four songs on it, but oh well. At least you can watch them at home, right?
So, a solid if a not a slightly disappointing DVD release for Molly Hatchet. These guys should have been as big as Skynyrd, and this set proves it, showcasing quality songs and strong musicianship and just a flat-out ability to rock n’ roll. Recommended as always for the diehard fans and people like me who live in an area where they just don’t seem to visit often enough.
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