Shane MacGowan &
The Popes ≠ Live At Montreux 1995
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