Henry Rollins – Talking from the Box/Goes to London set
Sound: C Extras: D Concerts: B
Though he is still primarily known as the lead singer for
bands like Black Flag and his own Rollins Band, Henry Rollins is also a book
author and stand-up comedian… of sorts.
He is storytelling with some humor, so this is not a set of jokes and
one-liners, but he does want his audience to think and be provoked. The two concerts in this double set are from
the early 1990s.
Rollins is very outspoken, but these are not poetry
readings or explicit political rants.
Instead, these are very non-BS stand-up talks about life that offer much
self-deprecating humor. These are
adult, mature looks at life with no holds barred, no punches pulled, and attitude
where necessary. However, even when
they get a bit heady about their subject matter (entering the NC-17 zone), he
rarely goes off track.
He is also remarkably anti-authoritarian and honest about
his past. Talking for the Box was
taped May 28th, 1992 and covers his experiences during the L.A.
riots of the time. There are also
reflections about personal pain, his bizarre tenure at a pet shop, and
friendship. Henry Rollins Goes to
London has some slight overlap with the previous program and was taped February
14 & 16, 1993. His observations
about England and Australia distinguish this one, as well as the story about
his friend Big John. The first program
runs over an hour, while the second is nearly two.
Both are shot in full frame analog videotape, with Box
in NTSC and London in PAL, but the PAL is actually not quite as clear
and is also more tampered with by adding various shades of color here and
there. Both are also in Dolby Digital
2.0 Mono, which is usually clear enough to hear Rollins, but nothing
special. Extras include the same
stills, biography, and discography on both DVDs, which is not much. That was surprising, considering how much
more this set could have offered.
The best thing about both concerts is the respect Rollins
has for his audience. Add how much the
man has to say, and this makes for a fine set that is as entertaining as it is
thought provoking. Henry Rollins has
guts and agree with him or not, he is a true artistic force to be reckoned
- Nicholas Sheffo