THE LIZARDS (The Show Must Go On... ) DVD
Last year, during one of their several European tours, THE LIZARDS decided to make a live recording from one gig in Stockholm, Sweden on April 3rd in 2004 at a venue, called Nalen. It was a brilliant idea, to release this show in DVD format, because for a brief, transitional period, drummer Vinny Appice joined the band, who became famous for his his playin' with Black Sabbath and in other 70's/80's supergroups, what makes this DVD to a rare document to see him, instead of original THE LIZARDS drummer Bobby Rondinelli, who is still in the current line-up. John Garner, who left the band after this tour, due to health problems, is a unique frontman and remains one of the most original hardrock vocalists due to his mighty and soulful voice, so this show can also be watched as his musical farewell to the band. At this moment, the band was on tour with the re-united 60's group Vanilla Fudge.
After Vanilla Fudge break-up at the end of the '60's, some ex-members formed the heavy bluesrock outfit Cactus, who released three highly recommandable records between '70 - '72, while the last album " 'Ot & Sweaty", featuring Pete French (ex-Atomic Rooster/ex-Leafhound) on vocals, is definitely not their masterpiece. So, you might ask yourself why do I write this? Because the DVD includes as one of two bonus features an extract from this evening, that shows THE LIZARDS together with Vanilla Fudge/ex-Cactus members, performing "Parchman Farm", an old blues song, that became famous due to the Blue Cheer version, but also Cactus did a smoking version of it on their self-titled debut album, that has been released two years later in 1970. I won't betray all the details about this performance, but all musicians have had a lot of fun and payin' tribute to Carmine Appice's moustach, while "Parchman Farm" kicks ass with its hard-driven boogie energy, and for me as an old Cactus fan, it's exciting to see that this veterans still have more fire, than more of the younger rock bands.
The main part of the DVD is focused on the material of the last two THE LIZARDS' albums, and once again, the band is in best shape. But their gig includes also a few surprises, like the drumming duel between Vinny Appice and his older brother Carmine Appice or a superb bass-solo from Randy Pratt. The set-list is a good choice, and my heart starts beating faster as the band plays "Kingdom Come" from the 70's heavy proto-metal band Sir Lord Baltimore, where John Garner was the singing drummer. Another pleasent surprise is the orginal version of "Cold Blooded Kings", what has become the title of the last THE LIZARDS album, where Mike Di Meo replaced John Garner. I can't help, but I'm still a bigger fan of John Garner's vocals, although Mike Di Meo is a great singer, too. When I compare the DVD with the first one "Live At B.B. King", this one offers the better entertainment and is filmed in a more professional way, and the venue is stunning. It looks like an old theatre, and is a perfect surrounding for this 60 minutes long top-notch celebration of classic hardrock in its most convincing form. If you're a fan of the band like me, you have to buy this one as well as the first one, but for starters it's better to get a copy of "The Show Must Go On... ". This is a great package, and it's a good appetizer for the next tour of THE LIZARDS, because it's well worth to visit one of their shows! I'm a honest eye witness.......