Johnny Winter <em>Live Through the ’80s</em> on DVD will be released August 24.
Hi Res Cover ArtIt includes an incredible collection of official archival performance footage from around the world compiled from the original masters. It features 18 performances from various locations such as MTV Rock Influences ’84 "Guitar Greats", Massey Hall (Toronto ’83), Roskilde DRTV (Roskilde, Denmark ’84), New Hampshire (’84), Sonet Studio (Bromma, Sweden ’87), Piazza Duomo (Pistoia, Italy ’88), and more. Intermixed with the live content is interview footage from various locations. This program is the definitive document of Johnny’s career in the ’80s, and is also the perfect companion to 2007’s live DVD compilation, <em>Live Through the ’70s</em>.
The program kicks off in grand style with four performances culled from Johnny’s long-sought-after 1983 appearance at Canada’s Massey Hall. Leading his high-energy trio — Jon Paris (bass, harmonica) and Bobby T. Torello (drums) — with laser-like focus and fire-breathing intensity, the DVD opens with a blistering rendition of the Sonny Boy Williamson blues classic, "Unseen Eye." Johnny would later release a studio version of this track on 1985’s <em>Serious Business</em> [Alligator].
Next up is Johnny’s original mid-tempo ballad, "Stranger," for which he plays a solo that is nothing short of a textbook of his virtuoso capabilities: with blazing speed and razor-sharp execution, Johnny’s ideas flow from one to the next with his one-of-a-kind unrelenting drive and inspired, passionate execution. The Massey Hall segment rounds out with Johnny’s original fingerpicked Delta-style blues workout, "Sweet Papa John," and the rock ‘n’ roll classic, "I Used to Love Her."
The next two tracks come from Johnny’s 1984 performance at the Capital Theater in Passaic, NJ, featuring the hard-driving shuffle "Mad Dog" (released on that year’s Guitar Slinger [Alligator]) and the slow blues workout, "Good Times Woman." With his newly acquired headstock-less Lazer guitar, Johnny plays with mind-boggling speed and flawless precision.
Later that same year, Johnny performed in front of 100,000 people at the Roskilde Festival in Denmark, with Paris and new drummer Tom Compton. Four tracks are included from this outstanding performance: "Jumpin’ Jack Flash," "Boot Hill," plus incendiary versions of two of Winter’s signature tunes, Bob Dylan’s "Highway 61 Revisited" and Chuck Berry’s "Johnny B. Goode." Shirtless and with his screamin’ demon tattoo in full view, Johnny prowls the stage like a possessed madman.
The fast rock ‘n’ roller "Lights Out [Guitar Slinger] and Johnny’s old favorite, "Please Come Home for Christmas," filmed in 1984 in New Hampshire, are succeeded by two videos shot for Alligator Records: the Guitar Slinger version of "Don’t Take Advantage of Me"-which was, at the time, shown in high rotation on MTV–and a very rare and candid interview with Johnny, during which he plays unaccompanied electric guitar.
This DVD also includes rarely seen archival footage of Johnny riding his tour bus, talking candidly about his deep feelings for blues music, and relaxing backstage prior to a Swedish television appearance in 1987. Two songs are included from that performance: a rock-solid rendition of "Sound the Bell" (featuring subtle quotes from Freddie King’s "Sen-Sa-Shun" and "San-Ho-Zay") and the hard-rocking shuffle that has become one of Johnny signature songs, "Mojo Boogie."
The final segment of the DVD features two absolutely scorching performances from the 1988 Pistoia Blues Festival in Italy: the extended slow blues, "Early in the Morning," and a lightening fast version of "Serious as a Heart Attack."