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Category:    Home > Reviews > Concert > Pop > Rock > Irish > Shane MacGowan & The Popes: Live At Montreux 1995

Shane MacGowan & The Popes ≠ Live At Montreux 1995

(Music DVD-Video)


Picture: C+     Sound: B-     Extras: D     Film: B



Shane MacGowan is best known for being the front man for the Pogues, the post-punk Irish folk band of the 1980s.  By the early 90s the Pogues had self-destructed.  More accurately, thanks to his copious consumption of alcohol, MacGowan had self-destructed.  The rest of the band had had enough and called it quits.Shane MacGowan & The Popes: Live At Montreux 1995 is the first concert of theirs to make it to DVD.


It was at this time, in the mid 90s, he resurfaced with The Popes performing new material, as well as selections from the Pogues catalog.  Though this incarnation didnít last long either, the 1995 concert at the Montreux Jazz Festival captures MacGowan and his band at the top of their game.


It is a good concert, but then ant concert MacGowan actually shows up for is a good one; he has a long history of no-shows.  Shane staggers and mumbles his way through nearly an hour of music.  His fans expect a certain amount of drunken incompetence in MacGowan, and he delivers.  It is hard to tell how much of this is actual inebriation, and how much is calculated stage persona.  For all the slurred lyrics (has he forgotten the words?), and looks of unfocused befuddlement (does he even know where he is?), MacGowan never misses a musical cue.  By the end he has pulled off the show with panache and undeniable charisma.


He is backed by a group of amazing musicians.  The Popes utilize the standard guitars and drums, but add banjos and piccolos and other more traditional instrumentation, fusing the sounds of traditional Irish folk songs with a modern sensibility.  The audience loves it, joining in fusion by creating a mosh pit that is a combination slam-dance and Irish jig.


The full frame 1.33 X 1 video is not bad, but the shots are limited, as is the definition of the videotaped footage, which is likely PAL.The sound is here in Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 mixed, but the DTS is the slightest bit better, as the original source sound remixes only so well in this case.The PCM CD-like 2.0 48kHz/16Bit tracks are the most authentic sounding in this case.There are no extras, but this is a solid DVD whose music is above its image.



-†† Wayne Wise



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