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Music DVD Review: Vanilla Fudge – When Two Worlds Collide

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The later half of the 60s certainly produced some of the strangest band names in history. Led Zeppelin, Iron Butterfly, Moby Grape, Captain Beefheart, Pink Floyd, The Grateful Dead, and of course Vanilla Fudge. I could have filled a whole page. Stay away from psychedelic drugs kids! Not to be outdone, this latest generation of hipsters have also managed to come up with an astonishing amount of weird, and gayer than ever, band names too – I'm talking about you Death Cab for Cutie and Panic at the Disco. Start doing better drugs kids!

Vanilla Fudge was an American rock band of the late '60s who had a unique penchant for transforming contemporary Motown classics into their very own psychedelic-metal monstrosities. Throw in a few Beatles, Donovan, and Sonny Bono covers and prepare for the eclectic musical ride of your life when you melt some Vanilla Fudge on the old turntable. The band released five studio albums between 1967 and 1970 and had garnered quite a respectable following by the time of their breakup in 1970. Respectable enough that even Led Zeppelin opened for them in 1969.

The band has reunited several different times, with a few different lineups, since their breakup. This 2004 performance features original members Carmine Appice (drums, vocals) and Tim Bogert (bass, vocals), along with newer members Bill Pascali (keyboards, vocals) and Teddy Rondinelli (guitar, vocals). The performance takes place in what appears to be some type of large rehearsal studio, or perhaps an empty club, with full concert lighting and sound, and a professional camera crew. The band is also backed by the San Fernando Valley Symphony Orchestra, which is what spurred the name of the DVD, When Two Worlds Collide.

This is not your standard concert DVD however, as there is no hint of an audience present, other than what appeared to be a few guests standing behind the orchestra. If there were more people, then they certainly were not shown or heard from. The orchestra is also positioned right in front of the stage, with conductor James Domaine standing right in front of the band. An unceremonious fade-to-black occurs between each song performance, and this, along with the lack of any audience, gives the DVD a very strange kind of vibe. It almost feels like you are watching one of those old European music television shows from the 70s, where the band performed live in the TV
studio. Maybe that is the vibe they were going for.

The performance features all of the band's biggest hits including covers of the Motown classics "You Keep Me Hangin' On" and "Take Me For A Little While", as well as Donavan's "Season Of The Witch". Oh, but that is only scraping the surface of what these boys can do with an otherwise perfectly respectable song. Who is the first band you think of when "Tearin' Up My Heart" comes on your radio receiver unit? Well, Vanilla Fudge of course. The Fudge show those N'Sync punks just how these stupid boy band ballads are really supposed to be done. And now I can die satisfied knowing that I have finally witnessed the 10-minute, heavy-metal-jam rendition of "Do You Think I'm Sexy". Don't ask me how, but the shit rocked!

One of their best original numbers, "Need Love", aptly demonstrates that these guys could also seriously rock with the best of them. A screaming Hammond organ and Gibson electric guitar blasting through a Marshall amp are like mother's milk to this kid, and the Fudge pour it on aplenty here. The rhythm section of Bogert and Appice are one of the best ever and it was a marvel to watch these two virtuosos so up close and personal. I literally had to go dust off my old Beck, Bogart, and Appice album and give it a spin for the first time in about a hundred years. Now that one's an acquired taste.

Aside from the rather strange way this performance was recorded and produced, When Two Worlds Collide is an otherwise fine addition to the Vanilla Fudge legacy. Yeah, it would have been better to have the two other original Fudge members, Mark Stein and Vince Martell, present for this one, but Pascali and Rondinelli (sounds like a frigging upscale Italian Ristaurante doesn't it?) do a knock out job here.

Audio is provided in both Dolby Digital 5.1 surround and PCM stereo and they both sound very good. The video is only presented in full frame, versus widescreen, but the picture was very sharp and colorful. The camera work was also excellent – very up close and personal. Extras include an optional commentary for the main concert feature, a 5-minute documentary, a photo gallery that was narrated by Bogert and Appice, and footage of the band performing the Back Street Boys song "I Want It That Way".

Vanilla Fudge are certainly not for everyone. If you were ever a fan of the band then you will probably eat this DVD up. Those who are not already familiar with the Fudge, may find a big WTF? coming from their lips as they watch this baby for the first time. It's all good though.

Set List
01. Orchestral Intro
02. Good Livin'
03. Take Me For A Little While
04. Ain't That Peculiar
05. People Get Ready
06. Shotgun
07. Tearin' Up My Heart
08. She's Not There
09. You Keep Me Hangin' On
10. Season Of The Witch
11. Do You Think I'm Sexy
12. Need Love
13. You Can't Do That

 

Ratings:
Performance 7/10
Production 7/10

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About Paul Roy

  • Hello and thanks for the write up! You got that right! Recorded in Glendale TV studios CA. and there was a small audience of celeb’s present, mostly friends. The entire Pacino family, members of bands like Kiss, and many personal friends of Vanilla Fudge.
    I was also surprised they did not include pans of the audience, but I think the producer did want to capture a personal viewing for bringing the band into your home. Thanks again, Bill Pascali