Category Archives: Review

Something Else! Review – The Sweet – Desolation Boulevard Revisited Live

sweet desolation boulevard revisited

Exclusive stream: The Sweet, “Fox on the Run” from Desolation Boulevard Revisited Live (2013)
by Something Else! Reviews
(Please visit the Something Else! Reviews website to access the stream)

The Sweet, as they prepare for a new 2013 world tour, have shared a live take on their classic track “Fox on the Run” with Something Else! Reviews as an exclusive preview stream.

This concert version is from the band’s new download-only release Desolation Boulevard Revisited Live, which finds the Sweet performing their gold-selling 1974 U.S. album — which combined freshly composed songs with key tracks from the earlier UK release Sweet Fanny Adams — in its entirety.

Desolation Boulevard would provide a breakout moment for the Sweet, as it became their first charting album in the states. It also laid the groundwork, original Sweet guitarist Andy Scott reminds, for subsequent bands that combined power pop with metal like Kiss, Def Leppard and Motley Crue.

[SOMETHING ELSE! REWIND: The Sweet’s ‘Love is Like Oxygen,’ their last Top 10 hit, showed that pop music could be both catchy and ambitious, melodic and still pseudo-proggy.]

Both “Fox” and “Ballroom Blitz” from Desolation Boulevard reached the Top 5, and they come alive again on this muscular new in-concert release, available for purchase below.

The Sweet is touring in support of last year’s well-received New York Connection. Scott is joined by Pete Lincoln on vocals and bass, Bruce Bisland on drums and vocals and Tony O’Hora on guitar, keyboards and vocals.

Concerts are set, beginning in February, for Poland, Austria and Germany. For more tour details, go here:



Something Else! Review – Steve Hillage Band – Live at Gong Family Unconvention, Amsterdam

by Nick DeRiso

Even as Steve Hillage paid tribute to the psychedelic rock band Gong in 2006 at the Melkweg in Amsterdam, he also took a lengthy look back at his own underrated solo work from the 1970s.

Live at Gong Family Unconvention, Amsterdam, due in both CD and DVD formats on September 10, 2012, from Gonzo MultiMedia, focuses on the latter — as the Steve Hillage Band, which hadn’t appeared on together in some 25 years, performed tracks from 1975′s Fish Rising, 1976′s L, 1977′s Motivation Radio, and 1983′s For To Next.

What those solo albums did, this live set makes clear, is point the way for Hillage’s transition from volcanically inventive guitar player to a quirk-filled innovator behind the boards. Before he would go on to work as a producer (Simple Minds, the Charlatans, Murray Head and Robyn Hitchcock) and then architect of ambient techno (System 7), Hillage would issue a series of recordings that focused more on imaginative band interplay and textured arrangements.

The guitar work is often a long time coming, though when it finally arrives, there are these pupil-dilating outbursts of kaleidoscopic sounds — each of them their own undeniably persuasive argument for a long-awaited return to Hillage band projects.

Hillage, a member of Gong from 1973-75 before going solo, is joined here by longtime writing partner, keyboard player and vocalist Miquette Giraudy; former Gong sideman Mike Howlett (also bassist on Fish Rising); and Chris Taylor, who began playing drums with Gong in the 1990s.

Their set begins, as it perhaps must, with trippy dash through Motivation Radio’s “Hello Dawn” — with its signature bliss-rock line “Goodbye to old! Hello to the new … dimension!,” and a concluding guitar solo that sounds like re-entering too steeply from deep space — before Hillage and Co. catch a muscular power-pop groove on George Harrison’s “All Too Much,” originally covered on the Todd Rundgren-produced L.

Next, comes a trio of tracks from Fish Rising, perhaps Hillage’s deepest journey into cosmic trancery — beginning with “Aftaglid,” then “Solar Musick Suite,” a title that screams 1970s prog-rock, if ever there was one; and finally “The Salmon Song.” The main set concludes with For to Next’s “These Uncharted Lands,” which before this 2006 show had never been played live.

The expanded audio CD also includes four bonus tracks, three of which come from a 1979 show also featuring Giraudy: “Palm Trees,” “Unzipping the Zype,” and “Healing Feeling.” The final track is a separate take on “Solar Musick Suite,” this time from 1974, and also featuring Howlett on bass. The DVD has an interesting interview with Hillage and Giraudy, as well.


Something Else Reviews – Jeremy Spencer – Bend in the Road

Jeremy Spencer – Bend in the Road (2012)
Posted by Nick DeRiso

Jeremy Spencer, the Fleetwood Mac alum, has found inspiration in working with new voices, old masters and his own muse, creating an album of intimate, handmade joys that moves confidently from blues to Americana to rootsy pop.

Bend in the Road, seeing worldwide release on August 28, 2012, recalls in many ways the Elmore James-focused contributions he made to Fleetwood Mac’s first pair of Peter Green-led recordings in the late 1960s — a vibe that carried over to Spencer’s 2006 comeback recording Precious Little, as well. Spencer plays slide throughout, and includes James tracks like “The Sun is Shining” and “Stranger Blues” — the last of which is given a tasty new Spanish tinge. (The opener, called “Homesick,” was actually written and recorded in the early 1950s by James’ cousin, too.)

But there’s much more than that going on here.

Of course, Spencer was also known, in the late 1960s, for his canny way of echoing early rockers, and he gives a few notable nods (the groove on “Earthquake,” the unkempt vocals on “Stranger Blues” and “Homework”) to the legacies of lost mid-century geniuses like Buddy Holly and Eddie Cochran, too.

Bend in the Road, originally issued as a limited-edition double vinyl album for Record Store Day, also revives a few ideas that had lain dormant from his time in Fleetwood Mac, the brief solo career that followed, and during what would turn a three-decade retirement from the music business for Spencer — who left to follow a religious path.

He’d started on “Whispering Fields” in the run up to Fleetwood Mac’s self-titled 1967 debut, but set it aside. After a number of failed attempts at fashioning lyrics for the tune over the years, it’s presented here as an amiable, country-rocking instrumental. The searching, ruminative “Desired Haven” is a reworking of an idea that dates back to 1972, while “Refugees” started out as the title track from 1979′s Flee. “Aphrodite,” which recalls the inspirational lyricism of George Harrison, is originally from the late 1970s, as well. Meanwhile, “Earthquake” was written in 1981, after Spencer experienced a temblor in Greece.

[SOMETHING ELSE! REWIND: Jeremy Spencer’s former Fleetwood Mac bandmate Peter Green has also made a remarkable 2012 comeback with the thrillingly rambunctious ‘Blues Don’t Change.’]

At the same time, though, Bend in the Road doesn’t seem dated, never feels rote: That’s thanks in part of these flinty tandem moments with new collaborator Brett Lucas, who’s worked with Bettye LaVette in the past. His contributions are particularly notable on the series of Spencer instrumentals included here, as the second guitarist adds classically inspired flourishes, early rock punch, and a few saucy R&B asides. (The band is rounded out by drummer Todd Glass; bassist James Simonson; accordion player Duncan McMillan; a string section that included Molly Hughes, Mimi Morris and Stefan Koch; and background vocalist Rachel May, who offers an intriguing series of shadings — moving with sly ease from soaring heights to ghostly quietude.)

Credit Spencer, the roving gypsy heart of this project, as well. He finds inspiration everywhere — switching to keyboards on tracks like the majestically restrained “Merciful Sea” and James’ sizzling “Cry for My Baby,” while uncovering inspirational wellsprings that reside far beyond the iconic Delta cottonfields and shotgun shacks of traditional acoustic blues: There are devotional nods to his time away from music (“I Walked a Mile With Sorrow,” “Come to Me”), and a trio of tunes based upon poetry — “I Walked a Mile” (Robert Browning), “Secret Sorrow” (Henry Wadsworth Longfellow) and the title track (an obscure writer named Praveen).

In the end, this gives Bend in the River the feel of a career valedictory. It’s gloriously hard to pin down — something personified in standout tracks like “Homework,” which finds Spencer howling like old rock and stinging like Otis Rush, all over a loose groove that would have been right at home on an Eric Clapton solo recording from the early 1970s.

It’s that kind of record. The very good kind.



Rock Chicago Magazine Review – Jon Anderson in Viper Alley

Jon Anderson Blows Away Viper Alley!
by rockchicago

I had seen Yes during their 35th Anniversary Tour in 2004 and was so impressed by Jon Anderson’s voice which was as outstanding as ever after all these years. However, he had suffered from some life-threatening health issues since that time and had recovered, so I was eager to see if his voice had held up. In addition, I was also interested to see how his solo acoustic concert would compare to the Yes show I had seen and if it could keep my interest.
I attended the concert with my wife, who absolutely loves Jon Anderson’s voice. As we were waiting for the concert to begin she noticed an empty table at the front center of the stage which had a bouquet of roses laying there. Our question of who they were for was quickly answered as a woman walked out from the side of the stage just before the concert began and took her place at the table…it was Jon Anderson’s wife! All of a sudden there was the sound of birds over the speakers and then Jon Anderson came on stage to a standing ovation.
Before I delve into the music let me talk about Jon Anderson himself. There is an aura or a glow about this man which is so compelling. Warmth, sincerity, and spirituality emanated from him which engulfed the audience throughout the entire concert. There was absolutely no doubt that he was beloved by the concertgoers and he repaid the adoration with a wonderful concert experience.
As I inferred earlier, I was concerned that a solo acoustic concert would be less than compelling. When he began singing and I heard that distinctive voice, all my trepidation disappeared. He opened with a Yes song, “Yours is No Disgrace” playing the acoustic guitar and gave a very spirited rendition. He followed with another Yes song, “Sweet Dreams” and his enthusiasm swept over the audience who joined in by clapping along.
The most surprising aspect of the evening for me (and my favorite part) was his interaction with the audience. He would reminisce about his life/career and would then segue into a song. He was very entertaining, was quite the storyteller, and quite humorous.
He introduced the next song “America” by announcing he had become an American citizen a couple years ago. He then said he “can sing what I want now without worrying about being chucked out.”
In one of the humorous exchanges of the evening he talked about how he composed the Yes song “A Time and A Word” in 1969 as a reggae song. He said it was the only thing he remembered from that time and that he must have had a good time. He said he showed the song to his Yes band mates who said “We don’t do reggae, Jon.” He then performed it in a very spirited reggae style which the audience got into and clapped along enthusiastically. He then moved seamlessly into a cover of Bob Marley’s “One Love” which became an audience participation sing-along.
He then brought out a Chinese stringed instrument he called “George” and explained during his illness when he could not sing he would play this instrument to pass the time. He played two songs with this instrument “Under Heaven’s Door,” which the audience once again clapped along to and a selection from his solo album from the mid-1970s “Olias of Sunhillow” which was greeted with resounding applause “Flight of the Moorglade.” As I was watching him perform I was struck by the fact that he was having so much fun up there and was feeding off the enthusiasm of the audience.
Jon then shared a story about Vangelis, one of his frequent collaborators. He had mentioned that after Rick Wakeman left Yes he recruited Vangelis to replace him on keyboards. During rehearsals when Vangelis saw Steve Howe and his guitar he said “the electric guitar is not a real instrument.” Jon said Steve and Vangelis never spoke again and Vangelis left the band two weeks later. Back on guitar he played “I’ll Find My Way Home,” a Jon and Vangelis song which made the top ten inEngland.
Jon then went into a rousing rendition of the Yes classic, “Starship Trooper” and when he was hitting the high notes the audience roared its approval. When he went into “Wurm,” the closing instrumental section, his guitar playing intensified and he began scatting along! A definite highlight in my book. The audience agreed and rewarded him with a standing ovation.
He had a bit of a senior moment as he began the Yes song “To Live Again” when he said “I can’t remember the first line.” Well he eventually did and it was a very touching song, knowing all his past health trials and tribulations. He reflected that in 2006 his wife saved his life over and over again as he went through “seven or eight operations.” He then introduced the song “Unbroken Spirit” which he had received the lyrics to from a Polish musician and talked about its importance to him. As he sang the audience understood the song’s significance to him and I could see they were really into the lyrics as he performed. That is the effect of his charisma.
He followed that poignant moment with “Owner of a Lonely Heart” remarking that in 1984, Yes was the number one band in the world. He closed out the song with some scat vocals once again.
For the next segment of the concert he sat behind the keyboards. The audience was treated to a semi-Yes medley, “Close to the Edge,” “Heart of theSunrise,” and “Revealing Science of God.” My only complaint with these songs done on the keyboard was that they sounded a bit “piano lounge-like” which detracted a bit. That said a highlight of the piano set was when he did “Marry Me Again” which was absolutely lovely and he would occasionally gaze at his wife as he was singing…a special moment. To close out the piano segment he played “The Light of Love” which he turned into audience participation. He had them clap and join in on the chorus.
He took up the guitar once again and began to perform the Yes song “And You and I.” The crowd began to join in with clapping and he abruptly stopped. He said “I need to gargle.” He took a swig of water, gargled and started again! The audience got a big kick out of this as he wore a sheepish grin. As the song went on many in the audience began singing along. That led into another Yes standard, “Long Distance Runaround.”
In what was definitely one of the most interesting segments of the show he began to talk about writing his memoirs. He talked about his brother Tony, how they grew up on a farm and how they started in a band together. He then shared stories about the 60s music scene and how he met the curly haired lead singer of the band, Listen, Robert Plant, who gave him his first exposure to marijuana. He then performed the song “Tony and Me” which was basically reminisces of growing up with his brother.
He picked up “George” again and played another lively “Olias” song, “To the Runner.” Once again the “Olias” selection was well-received by the crowd.
The ensuing Yes song, “Turn of the Century” has always been one of my favorites and I was not disappointed by his version.
He closed out the set with two Yes classics. He began “Your Move” and the audience was instantly into it, clapping and singing along. Jon had the biggest smile on his face and continued to encourage the audience along. He continued into “All Good People” and the crowd was swept along. He closed with “Roundabout” and the entire audience was standing, clapping, and singing along. He received a well-deserved standing ovation.
When he came back for the encore he performed a Jon and Vangelis song “State of Independence” and the Yes song “Wondrous Stories.” Another highlight of the night was his closing song, the beautiful Yes song, “Soon.” It is such a meaningful song, wonderfully sung and the audience listened with rapt attention, almost hanging on every word, totally spellbound. When he finished the audience responded with another standing ovation. What a great show.
After the show my wife and I were speaking about the concert with both of us in agreement that it was an outstanding show. She remarked how great his voice still sounded. I know all in attendance felt the same way. As stated earlier he has such a charismatic presence and he really touches you. As he sings, he has such sincerity and he draws you right in with him. He is an amazing talent and I completely enjoyed all aspects of the show. Because of his stories he shared, I left the show knowing more about him, endearing him to me even more.
I would like to comment on the venue, Viper Alley. It is truly a great place to attend a concert. There is an intimate feel, a “club-like” setting, and the sound was superlative. An added bonus is the food. My wife and I arrived early and had dinner before the show. I was not to sure what to expect, but the food was delicious, ample portions, and the service excellent. All around it made for a wonderful evening and I know for a fact my wife and I will be back for more dinners and shows!
Reviewed by Peter S. Sakas on 6/8/12


Advertisements Review – Jon Anderson in Chicago

Jon Anderson shares stories and favorite songs at Chicago show

Ashley Perez
Chicago Music Examiner

Jon Anderson, former singer of the band Yes, stopped by Chicago June 6 as part of his North American tour. He performed a two hour set at the Mayne Stage that brought the audience back to the hazy days of the 60’s and 70’s. He played a slew of instruments, including the Chinese string instrument called gorge, a ukelele, the keyboard and of course his trusty acoustic guitar. It was Anderson’s wife’s birthday, who was sitting in the front row. He asked the audience to join him in a rendition of “Happy Birthday,” to which they happily obliged.
Some of the songs in the set list included Yes’ “Owner of a Lonely Heart,” “Heaven’s Door,” the sweet and humorous song dedicated to his brother “Tony and Me,” “Turn of the Century,” “Sweet Dreams,” and a snippet of the beautiful and epic “Open.” He even threw in a cover of the Bob Marley classic “One Love” that got the crowd singing along. Anderson’s voice was on point and never cracked once during the entire performance. Though he has faced health problems in his later years, it’s quite clear that it hasn’t affected his wonderfully unique voice in the slightest.
In between songs, Anderson shared stories of his days in Yes or on his early performing days. One interesting and funny story that was told was about how he met a young Robert Plant who offered him a “special cigarette.” Another story was about going to collaborator Vangelis’ house where he shot an arrow out of an open window. The stories were interesting, fun and humorous and gave the audience a chance to interact with Jon, making it a night to remember. It was clear the audience was having a good time as they sang along with Anderson, cheered him on, danced at their tables, and gave him a standing ovation during the end of the show and the encore. You could hear their excitement and applause as the opening chords of their favorite song were played. The place was filled with excitement, happiness, and lots of love.
Jon Anderson is currently working on a follow up to the 21 minute masterpiece “Open” called “Ever.” If you missed the show or just want to see Jon again, you’re in luck. There are still several dates left on his North American tour. To see where Jon will be playing next and to buy your tickets visit hisofficial site.
Jon Anderson North American Tour dates
June 3 – Milwaukee, WI – The Pabst Theatre
June 6 – Chicago, IL – Mayne Stage
June 8 – Lincolnshire, IL – Viper Alley
June 11 – Seattle, WA – The Triple Door
June 12 – Seattle, WA – The Triple Door
June 16 – Napa, CA – Napa Valley Opera House
June 19 – Livermore, CA – Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center



Something Else Reviews – Rick Wakeman – In the Nick of Time

Rick Wakeman – In the Nick of Time (2012)
Posted by Nick DeRiso
If there is a central image of prog rock’s excesses, it is likely the cape-sporting Yes man Rick Wakeman surrounded by a semi-circle of towering keyboards.
But strip away at the pomp, the pageantry and, yeah, the cape, and there remains just as much musical brilliance, something you’re reminded of all over again with this never-before-released live date from 2003 with the New English Rock Ensemble. At times, In the Nick of Time has an almost unquenchable propulsion, as Wakeman works in furious bursts of creativity — moving from classically inspired fugues to gnarled rock squalls and back again, with all of these winkling squiggles of color in between.
There’s even a tasty deep-cut nugget for fans from his Yes years in the closing track “Wurm,” originally included as the final segment of “Starship Tooper” on 1970′s The Yes Album. It’s interesting not just because the track dates to before Wakeman’s tenure in the band, but also in that the Steve Howe composition doesn’t end up as a showcase for guitarist Ant Glynne (a veteran of tours and sessions with Asia, Mike Oldfield, Slash, Carl Palmer, Mavis Staples and Simon Phillips), so much as the young percussive bassist Lee Pomeroy — who performs with a thrumming power. Wakeman lets that unspool for awhile, before eventually powering his way to the fore with an expansive solo full of soaring runs.
[SOMETHING ELSE! REWIND: Long before Yes, Rick Wakeman was an ace studio musician. We examine his genius first-take contribution to David Bowie’s “Space Oddity.”]
In the Nick of Time opens with “Catherine Parr,” originally the finale on Wakeman’s 1973 solo release The Six Wives of Henry VIII, a complex and involving character analysis that finds Wakeman exploring both organ and synthesizer, before the track moves into a leaping, guitar-driven section powered by Glynne. Wakeman’s then-new album Out There provides both the title track and “Cathedral in the Sky.” The former becomes the first to showcase vocalist Ashley Holt — whose best-known work with Wakeman dates back to Six Wives and 1974′s Journey to the Centre of the Earth. (No Earthly Connection, 1976′s stripped-down set piece, also included both Holt and this date’s drummer Tony Fernandez, a sideman on Wakeman’s underrated 1985 release Silent Nights.)
These important assists from the New English Rock Ensemble, with whom Wakeman has been scheduling dates again for this summer, give In the Nick of Time a complexity that swerves well away from the baroque caricature: “Cathedral” includes a thunderous chorus, and a churchy organ turn from Wakeman to boot. Meanwhile, there is a diaphanous classical feel to “Dance of a Thousand Lights,” originally found on Wakeman’s 1999 concept albumReturn To The Centre Of The Earth. “White Rock,” the title song from a 1977 soundtrack, retains the original’s intricate amiability.
It’s not a perfect record. For instance, I have never found a way to like Holt — an often brittle, bombastic vocalist — as much as Wakeman so clearly does. That’s a small thing, however, on a project with so many sweeping delights.In the Nick of Time ends up as a tour de force reminder of the talent that always girded Rick Wakeman’s legend, with or without the cape.



Media Mikes Review of New York Connection – The Sweet

April 24, 2012
By Mike Gencarelli

“New York Connection”
Produced by: Andy Scott
11 tracks
Running Time: 40 minutes
Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

From the moment this CD kicks off, it rocks mega hard and doesn’t let up until the CD ends. The Sweet are well known their Glam Rock during the 70-80′s and though still they sound just as good as they ever have. “New York Connection” is comprised 11 cover songs including the 2011 single “Join Together”. There is also a revamped original recording for their 1972 b-side “New York Connection”.
If you are a fan of 70-80′s rock, then you are going to love this album easily. The album kicks off with the great song “New York Groove” and just includes on great hit after another. Some of the other great cover tracks included are “You Spin Me Round”, “Because the Night” and “Blitzkrieg Bop”. All the covers sounds really kick-ass and get your toes tapping and head rocking.
Peter Lincoln takes lead on vocals on 8 out of the 11 tracks. Andy Scott takes lead vocal for “Sweet Jane” and is a great tribute to The Velvet Underground. Bruce Bisland belts out “Blitzkrieg Bop” and doesn’t let down the Ramones. Lastly Tony O’Hora puts a new spin on Patti Smith’s “Because the Night”. Overall, the guitars are well…sweet! The music is loud and sums up a great 40 minutes you will experience with this album.
Track listing:
1. New York Groove
2. Gold On The Ceiling
3. All Moving Faster
4. New York Connection
5. Shapes Of Things
6. You Spin Me Round
7. Because The Night
8. Sweet Jane
9. Blitzkrieg Bop
10. On Broadway
11. Join Together



Grande Rock E-Zine Review of New York Connection – The Sweet

New York Connection
A Scott Free Production
Ten years after “Sweetlife”, Andy Scott (Sweet’s original guitarist) is back with a new “cover” album and his current line-up, which consists of: Pete Lincoln (lead vocals & bass guitar), Tony O’Hora (guitar, keyboards & vocals) and Bruce Bisland (drums & vocals). Sweet is a legendary band that was formed in 1968… and in a way, they determined the glam rock movement back in the seventies.

“New York Connection” contains songs that were originally written by other artists apart from Sweet’s own “New York Connection” which was the b-side of “Wig Wam Bam” single. Analytically, the songs the guys are covering are: “New York Groove”, which was originally written by Russ Ballard and first recorded by Hello in 1975 and later by Ace Frehley in 1978. “Gold on The Ceilings” was included in the album “El Camino” (2011) by the Black Keys… it’s surely an honor that their song was covered by Sweet that obviously have influenced them. “It’s All Moving Faster” was initially included in “Conquers The World” (1996) by Electric Frankenstein. “Shapes Of Things” was firstly recorded by The Yardbirds and released as a single in March 1966. “You Spin Me Right Round (Like A Record)” was written by Dead or Alive and was included in “Youthquake” (1985). Sweet’s cover is truly heavy and wonderful… you will forget of the original pop/disco song at once. “Because The Night” was originally written by Bruce Springsteen for his album “Darkness on the Edge of Town” (1978) but he wasn’t happy at the time and gave it to the Patti Smith Group which were recording their album “Easter” in a studio next door to Bruce. Patti has co-written the song as she also appears on the credits. Tony O’Hora is singing the song here. “Sweet Jane” was written by Lou Reed and was included in the album “Loaded” (1970) by The Velvet Underground… Andy Scott has taken care of the lead vocals. “Blitzkrieg Bop” was included on Ramones self-titled debut (1976) and the vocals are by Bruce Bisland. “On Broadway” was originally recorded by The Crystals, after a while by The Cookies & later by The Drifters. Sweet’s edition is very rockin’ and you will like it very much. Finally, “Join Together” was originally released as a single in 1972 by The Who.

“New York Connection” is a very tasteful rockin’ album from start to finish. You will get to know some significant songs of the past if you are a younger listener or you will remember some good oldies if you’re an older fan of rock music generally. Sweet are giving some excellent performances on the album and their covers have something of their own touch. Moreover, the production is great and crunchy and was done by Andy Scott. If you miss the good old rockin’ days… then do not miss this album… let’s hope the guys will also release a new studio album (with new material) soon… till then, enjoy “New York Connection”.



Media Mikes – DVD Review “I’m Dickens…He’s Fenster: Volume One”

Directed by: Arthur Hiller, Norman Abbott
Starring: John Astin, Marty Ingels, Lee Meriwether
Distributed by: Lightyear Entertainment
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Release Date: April 10, 2012
Running Time: 609 minutes

Volume One: 5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 5 out of 5 stars

Prior to reviewing this DVD, I have to admit I was unaware of “I’m Dickens…He’s Fenster”. I was though quite aware of John Astin, Marty Ingels and Lee Meriwether. This DVD marks the 50th Anniversary of 1960s TV sitcom and it is also the first time that these episodes have been released on DVD. The release contains a three-disc set which contains over 10 hours of content. It features the first sixteen episodes of thirty-two from the show’s only season. It is very sad that this show only latest one season because it is a riot. It is simple and subtle but extremely funny. The show is created by Leonard Stern who is responsible for hit comedy shows like “The Honeymooners” and “Sergeant Bilko”. I have to certainly thank Glass Onyon PR for allowing us to find this wonderful gem of a show. This DVD is highly recommended…simply wonderful.

“I’m Dickens… He’s Fenster” follows Harry (Astin) and Arch (Ingels) and their adventures being best friends and also working together as construction workers. The two are absolutely hilarious and are backed but some amazing guest stars including: Yvonne Craig (Batgirl from “Batman”), Harvey Korman (“The Carol Burnett Show”), Sally Kellerman (“M*A*S*H”), Peter Lupus (“Mission: Impossible”), Lee Meriwether (“The Time Tunnel”), Ellen Burstyn (“The Exorcist”), Edy Williams (“Beyond the Valley of the Dolls”), and Jim Nabors (“The Andy Griffith Show”). The series looks great on DVD and the episodes look sharp and really clear for a show that is 50 years old. It is also presented in full frame with 1.33:1 ratio and original mono audio track.

The special features on this DVD release are jam packed. There are all-new interviews including stars John Astin and Marty Ingels, Directors Arthur Hiller, Norman Abbott, and Creator/Producer Leonard Stern. If you are fan of audio commentaries there are bunch feature John Astin and Marty Ingels, Yvonne Craig, Lee Meriwether, Dave Ketchum, Chris Korman (son of Harvey Korman) and creator/producer Leonard Stern. There is a funny featurette called “I’m Dickens…He’s Fenster Get Physical”. There is a very sweet video tribute to the late Leonard Stern. There are three funny featurettes including “The Joke”, “Love Me, Love My Dog” and “How Not to Succeed in Business”. There are old commercials including Bumpers, ABC TV Network Promo and Cast Commercial. Lastly there is a ‘Thank You’ slide show video featuring the dozens of people who helped make the 50th Anniversary Collector’s Edition a reality.



Zoiks! Online – Anderson-Wakeman “The Living Tree: In Concert” – Album Review

Anderson-Wakeman “The Living Tree: In Concert” – Album Review
One of my favorite all time bands is Yes, that said by Yes fan standards, I’m a casual fan. Albums like “Tales from Topographic Oceans” are just too challenging for me. So die hard Yes fans, if I get something wrong during this review, please forgive me. Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman are not in the current incarnation of Yes, so they’ve been hitting the road as a duo and released the live album “The Living Tree: In Concert.”

There are so many genres of music. You have folky, sing songy simple music like Simon and Garfunkel and Crosby Stills and Nash then on the complete other end of the spectrum you have really technical progressive music like Yes and Rush. Jon Anderson has the vocal range to play both folk music and progressive music and it’s never been more apparent than on “The Living Tree: In Concert.”

Rick Wakeman is a God when it comes to the keyboards. With Anderson’s story telling voice mixed with Wakeman’s technical skills you get one beautiful picture painted. Wakemen is such an amazing composer. He’s playing the musical score to the story that Jon Anderson is telling. The score is so complex and interesting and when Anderson sings on top of the score everything seems so simple and peaceful.

While they play Yes songs, it’s different than Yes. The songs take on a whole new light when it’s just Anderson and Wakeman. I think all Yes fans should experience “The Living Tree: In Concert.” Yes is the total sum of it’s parts, but with this you’re pulling two parts out and shining the spot light on them and it really makes for an enjoyable listening experience. It’s like hearing some of these songs for the first time all over again. I highly recommend Anderson and Wakeman’s “The Living Tree: In Concert.”

Bob Zerull is the Managing Editor of Zoiks! Online. He writes pop culture commentary, does interviews with bands, and reviews music and stand-up concerts. He also administers Zoiks! Online’s Facebook page. Follow Bob on twitter atbzerull. Email Bob at