Robben Ford & The Blue Line - In Concert


Let's see now. Here in the good ol' U.S. of A. we've got MTV and VH1 shoving the same worthless rap, hip-hop, and teeny-bopper garbage down our throats all day and night, while over in Germany they've got the Ohne Filter show producing live club concerts by the likes of Larry Carlton, Tower of Power, Steve Lukather, and Robben Ford, to name just a few. It just isn't fair damn it! What happened to the good old MTV days of Headbanger's Ball and all those Motley Crue videos huh?

In April of 1993, Robben Ford, and his band The Blue Line, performed a scorching blues-rock set on the German television show Ohne Filter - Musik Pur. Don't ask me to translate what that means, but my guess would be "music for people with taste", or something similar. These shows are recorded in an intimate club setting, in front of an audience of probably only a few hundred fans. Robben Ford had just released what I consider to be one of his best albums, Robben Ford & The Blue Line. This was his first album with The Blue Line, and he had really reached his prime during this period. The Blue Line consists of Roscoe Beck on bass, and Tom Brechtlein on drums, who are both virtuosos on their instruments like Ford. They are the epitome of the tight, blues-rock power-trio.

The performance begins strongly with the first song from the Blue Line album, "The Brother". Ford wrote this song for Jimmy and Stevie Ray Vaughan, after Stevie's death. This up-tempo blues-rocker is my personal favorite from that album, and it features some of Ford's best lead guitar work. The next song, "You Cut Me To The Bone", is a slower blues number, with Ford adding some smooth vocals.

This concert, much like Ford's album's, mixes it up between the traditional blues, rock, jazz, and fusion songs, and they all have that signature Robben Ford guitar tone and phrasing, which makes his playing instantly recognizable. They closed the show with the outstanding "Talk To Your Daughter", which included an incredible six-string bass solo from Roscoe Beck, and more phenomenal soloing from Ford. On a side note, Ford was wearing some of the baggiest pants I have seen since the glory days of MC Hammer. Hopefully Ford wasn't influenced by him.

This concert, and all of the Ohne Filter shows, are only 60 minutes long, and the actual concert performance was only 49 minutes, but I was happy to take what I could get. So far this is the only DVD concert performance by this great guitarist. The production quality of this show was surprisingly good. The 5.1 surround mix was clear and powerful, with excellent separation of each instrument. The rear speakers created a nice concert hall atmosphere. The video was reasonably sharp and looked good for a 1993 recording. The camera work was uncomplicated with mostly medium range shots of the band, and appropriate close-ups during solos.

I don't know if the Ohne Filter shows are still going strong, but I will not hesitate to check out some of their other DVDs. This one was certainly a great start.

Reviewed by Paul M. Roy - July 2004

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Technical Details

Audio Transfer
 Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
 PCM 2.0 Stereo

Video Transfer
 1.33:1 - Full Frame

Set List
The Brother
You Cut Me to the Bone
Worried Life Blues
Start It Up
Step On It
Prison of Love
Tell Me I'm Your Man
Talk to your Daughter
Help the Poor

Robben Ford - Guitar/Vocals
Roscoe Beck - Bass
Tom Brechtlein - Drums

Running Time: 49 Minutes

DVD Release Date - April 2003
Performance Date - April 1993

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