Live 1980 (Dual Disc/Concert)
Sound: B Extras: B Film: B
Formed in 1972 in Akron, Ohio, DEVO embodied, in parody
form, the rising consumer culture that would reach its apotheosis in the
1980’s. Theoretically, they believed that
Man had reached it’s height, and de-volution had begun. Like many of their Punk counterparts, DEVO
had a political message that was lost on all but their fans.
In the meantime they produced a lot of fun music, riding
the crest of the New Wave on a crackle of synthesized, hook-laden pop
songs. Filmed in Petaluma, California
during the Freedom of Choice tour, DEVO Live 1980 captures the
band at the height of their career.
DEVO was one of the first triumphs of the Geek culture
that has since come to pervade the media.
Five skinny, dorky boys command the stage as rock stars. The concert begins in their signature white
corporate uniforms and energy domes (the now famous flowerpot hats). Their movements, while jerky and spastic,
are coordinated, complementing the staccato rhythms and delivery of the
vocals. As the concert progresses they
loosen up. The energy and stage
presence is undeniable.
The DVD begins with a scrolling written introduction,
bringing their political manifesto into the present, citing examples of the
current administration as evidence that de-volution continues. The concert songs are:
Its Not Right
Girl U Want
S.I.B. (Swelling Itching Brain)
Secret Agent Man
(I Cant Get No) Satisfaction
Gates of Steel
Freedom of Choice
Smart Patrol/ Mr. DNA
Gut Feeling/Slap Your Mammy
Come Back Jonee
Tunnel of Life
DEVO Corporate Anthem
The 1.33 X 1 image is as good as it is going to get, with
the majority of older footage from the old NTSC analog video source in as good
a shape as it is going to get. The
Dolby Digital 5.1 mix on the DVD side is pretty good, though the PCM 2.0
16bit/44.1kHz Stereo on the flip CD side is a bit thicker, but the Dolby has a
slightly better soundstage. Too bad DTS
was not available, but it is a terrific concert and the audio delivers well
The extra features are sparse, but interesting. There are two songs recorded as part of a
live show wherein DEVO performs as Dove, the Band of Love, a parody of
Christian Rock. The only other extra is
a trailer for the DVD release of DEVO, Live in the Land of the Rising Sun,
recorded in Japan in 2003 and reviewed elsewhere on this site. It looks like much the same concert as the
1980 version, but the skinny, dorky boys are now overweight, dorky old men.
Freedom of Choice was pretty much the pinnacle of DEVO’s
career. Nothing they released after
that resonated in the same way. Once
they reached that peak there was no place to go but down.
Kind of appropriate.
- Wayne Wise
Wayne Wise is a native of Southwestern Pennsylvania
currently residing in Pittsburgh. He
has earned a Masters degree in clinical psychology and undergraduate degrees in
psychology and history. He has worked
as a freelance journalist for over ten years.
In 1993, he co-created a comic book called Grey Legacy. In 2002 his first novel, King of Summer,
was published. You can go to www.wayne-wise.com and learn more.