Before even getting to the disk, if you ever get the chance to see Henry Rollins in a spoken word performance, do it, you will not be disappointed. I had the opportunity to see him on 1/31/04, early in the Shock & Awe tour. It was an incredible show, he talked for almost three hours, without a break, and was entertaining the entire time.
I was first introduced to Henry’s spoken word when I picked up The Boxed Life something like ten years ago. I don’t even know why I picked it up, spoken word wasn’t really my thing back then. But what I found was a well spoken, hilarious guy who knew how to tell a story. But enough of this, let’s get to the disk itself.
The show was filmed in March of 2004 in Seattle, WA, in a theater which looks amazingly like the one at which I saw him. I kept looking to see if I could see myself! One of the things I noticed was that it seemed as if it was cut in portions, which wouldn’t surprise me, as he can go on and on, they probably excised the lesser material for the disk.
Now, I can’t just go and give away the tales that he relates, but I can tell you what some of them are, and also tell you that Henry is in top form. Many of the tales he relays are the same as he told at the show that I attended, not necessarily the same way, but easily recognizable.
For those who are unfamiliar with his performances, they are sort of like story telling sessions, that often resembles stand up comedy. He is a very funny, well spoken guy who has experienced a lot in his lifetime, besides soaking up all the news and television that he can. He admits to being a lonely guy who often does not have anything to do but cruise Ebay and watch Fox News.
Among the subjects are the wonderful way that the President speaks, or rather is lack of public speaking skills. He likens his ability to go “off the script” to a jeep stuck in mud. He tells of how he spends his “alone” time and ends up in a variety of different places. We get his great experience at the premiere of Kill Bill, and the over-caffeinated oddball that is Quentin Tarantino, not to mention the free buffet. We get the experience he had entertaining the troops in Afghanistan. And possibly the best story, being in a recording studio with Ben Folds, Adrian Belew, and, of all people, William Shatner.
Video. Presented in anamorphic 1.78:1 widescreen. The video looks very good, but it doesn’t have to do much, we don’t need great video for a guy standing alone on a big stage, no colorful backgrounds or anything. But it still looks good.
Audio. Presented in 2.0 stereo, it sounds good, a few dropouts, but that’s more the way Henry wields his weapon of choice than any transfer issue.
Extras. The lone extra is a small photo gallery from his stay in Afghanistan, some good pictures, but that is all we get.
Bottomline. This is the next best thing to actually seeing him live. I highly recommend checking this out. Very funny.
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