If there ever was an "essential" John Mayall DVD, then the 70th Birthday Concert (Collector's Edition) has to be it. When I threw this in for the first time after it arrived, I sat transfixed as I took in the spectacular extravaganza that Mayall's birthday occasioned. Not only is his current lineup on hand, but a couple of alumni from past incarnations of the Bluesbreakers join in to make this DVD one to remember.
For me, the highlights are Southside Story, Dirty Water, Blues For The Lost Days, Walking On Sunset, Oh Pretty Woman, Hideaway, All Your Love, Have You Heard, and I'm Tore Down.
Eric Clapton and Mick Taylor return to contribute some guitar pyrotechnics, but long-time Mayall guitarist Buddy Whittington more than holds his own. Joe Yuele shows the world why he has been Mayall's drummer for so many years with his faultless play and Tom Canning turns in inspired performances on organ and piano. And what about Mayall himself? Well, he can play so many instruments and with such virtuosity, its hard to say what he's best at. The songs covered range from ones originally done in the sixties to some recorded in the last five years. The way everything came together so seamlessly, you'd think these guys had rehearsed this for months!
I recommend the Collector's Edition over the straight DVD. For a couple bucks extra, you double your pleasure. With the Collector's Edition, you get an abbreviated version of the concert on CD that you can listen to anytime you can't get to your big screen. It makes great cruising music. My favorites on the CD are Dirty Water, Walking On Sunset, Hideaway, Have You Heard, plus a real bonus that isn't on the concert DVD; a fine rendition of California
This is going to remain high in my rotation at home and on the road for months. If you like the music of John Mayall, then you should be thrilled by the way it comes alive here. Order it now!