This Is 40 is a really bad, lazy, repetitious, unfocused, poorly conceived film. One of the few things making it worth watching is Graham Parker’s presence. Well, I have some very good news. Shout! Factory has released all of the concert footage shot for the film on a DVD titled This Is Live. So now you can skip the film altogether, and just enjoy the music. I’m glad This Is 40 was made, because it made this new DVD possible. Now toss away your copy of This Is 40, and enjoy This Is Live.
This footage was shot as Belasco Theater in Los Angeles. It is weird, because in a few of the wide shots, people cross in front of the camera, but those are extras, not real concert-goers (at least as far as I know). So there is an odd aspect to this performance, because it was staged for a movie. According to the DVD credits, there were four cameras used for this scene. I do wonder if the songs were repeated several times, to get additional shots (like from behind the band), and how the performances were edited together (because of course we never see any of the other cameras in any one camera’s shot).
But what is important here is the music. And the music is so damn good. This band still totally has that special something, and these songs are fun and vibrant. The band does twelve songs, beginning with “Fool’s Gold.” Graham Parker plays acoustic guitar on several of the tracks, including “Local Girls.”
There is some new material, from the band’s 2012’s release Three Chords Good, including the title track and “Stop Cryin’ About The Rain.” “Long Emotional Ride” is a nice new tune with a sweet vibe. Graham Parker sings, “I never took one word of advice/Never in my whole life.” But then: “I dreamed I saw a movie of my life/I thought I dreamed it, but it was real/I realized I’d been surrounded by friends all of the time.” Nice, eh? And appropriate, considering this was shot for a movie. This is one of my favorites. And speaking of references to the movies, in “Passion Is No Ordinary Word,” Graham sings, “The movie might be new but it’s the same soundtrack.”
“She Rocks Me” is another highlight, a fun tune. And yes, that is a kazoo in Graham’s harmonica holder. This performance also includes a very cool rendition of “Stupefaction,” one of my favorites from this band. “I can’t see the point, but I see the attraction.” What a great song. By the way, you can see a much earlier performance of this song on The Best Of Fridays, which was released by Shout! Factory on August 6th.
The band ends the set with “Soul Shoes” from the 1976 album Howlin' Wind. (“Sirens In The Night” plays during the closing credits.) The DVD is approximately fifty-five minutes, and contains no special features.
DVD Track List
DVD Track List
- Fool's Gold
- Nobody Hurts You
- Local Girls
- Long Emotional Ride
- She Rocks Me
- Passion Is No Ordinary Word
- Discovering Japan
- Stop Cryin' About The Rain
- Three Chords Good
- Soul Shoes
This Is Live was released on August 27, 2013 through Shout! Factory.
Note: I also posted this review on Pop Culture Beast.