Mike Campbell: The Guitars" is a fifteen chapter web-documentary series directed by Justin Kreutzmann. The series is currently premiering exclusively on TomPetty.com for members of Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers' Highway Companions Club
After being dumped by his girlfriend, a boy runs away to California. But he ends up in heaven because he dies after trying to help a family from drowning in a river. In heaven he'll meet a beautiful girl, who has never reincarnated before.
A friend bought it for me as a birthday gift over a year ago, and I doubt there's a DVD that's taken more spins in my machine. I'm a big Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers fan, and we're lucky to have this kind of a document of the band's live show. Technically, the disc is superb. The sound is clear and sounds great loud, although it can be a bit bass-heavy. Only some people would see this as a bad thing. Visually, the video quality is excellent, as is the direction, by far the best I've seen in a concert film. The shot composition and lighting are really something, there's countless moments during the film where I wish I could freeze the screen image and put it on my wall - it looks that good. I also own the very good concert DVDs by Pearl Jam (the Touring Band one), U2 (in Boston), and Dave Matthews (Listener Supported), and as good as they are, Petty's effort is the one I keep coming back to.
As far as the performance itself, it's what you'd expect from Petty and the band. The film was cut together from two nights worth of filming at the Filmore, and the small venue really gives this concert movie a different feel. It was the last two nights of a long stand there, and it shows as the band is very tight and comfortable, and the performance is excellent. The setlist is a good mix of old and new, leaning a little more heavily to the new. That's a good thing in my opinion, as the band only seems to be improving with time, right up to Echo, the album which was released right around the same time as this DVD and lends it several songs. Standout tracks, for me, are "Room at the Top" and a great solo acoustic "Walls".
I said this is a nearly perfect concert film and I do have a couple of nitpicks, however small. One, the Warner Music logo that comes up when you start the DVD is loud, tacky, and annoying. Second, although it's well edited and flows pretty well, and the little vignettes between songs are interesting, I would've preferred seeing one concert in its entirety, rather than a cut up mix of the two nights. Third, the complaint everyone has at every concert, they didn't play (a) song(s) I wanted to hear. Given the band's catalogue, though, that one's excusable. Fan or not, check this film out, it's totally worth it.
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