There's a feeling of Deja Vu at play here as two years ago I wrote a review for the "America Live" DVD that had just been released. Lo and behold, many moons later, another live DVD appears. But first some foundation notes: even though their name suggests otherwise, this band formed in Britain. Dewey Bunnell, Dan Peek and Gerry Beckley were all army brats on the same air force base in London and after playing umpteen gigs locally, recording their debut album, and touring in parts of Europe they went back into the studio and recorded a few more songs that were added to their debut album, which was re-released. They hit the big time with that collection, spawning 3 major hits for the band. From then to now America released over two-dozen albums, including imports and greatest hits packages. The rest is, well, the history of America. Incidentally, the late Phil Hartman of "Saturday Night Live" fame did the artwork for their "History: America's Greatest Hits" album.
There are two main differences between the DVD I wrote about two years ago and this one: first-Dan Peek quit the band in 1977 and secondly, unlike the first DVD, this isn't just a straight-forward, no frills concert, it's 'a film' and as such offers a lot of behind-the-scenes footage with all its bell-bottom and disco-inspired fashion statements. Just think of "That 70's Show" and you'll be spot on. The concert looks and sounds great and the well-known hits up to that point are featured, such as "Sandman", "Ventura Highway", "Tin Man" and "I Need You" as well as the cool 'inspiration' sequence for "A Horse With No Name". They even do a nice cover of "California Dreamin'" by The Mamas and The Papas. Lesser-known songs such as "Another Try", "Here" and "All Night" are really good, and the fantastic "Hollywood" provides a glimpse of the band with a rockier edge.
The concert starts off in the daylight hours and finishes off in the nighttime with "Sister Golden Hair", a fitting way to close the performance. As far as extras go, there's an optional full-length commentary by the film's director Peter Clifton.
I've always been a big fan of America and there's no question that the band isn't the same without Dan Peek but as this DVD shows us, America is more than just the sum of it's parts and that the remaining two-thirds of the band can still give us some cool rock and roll nostalgia, a-la 70's style.