Hard Rock Cafe has been combining the great pleasures of American café style dining and rock music memorabilia since 1971 when Eric Clapton donated one of his guitars to the wall of the premiere location in London, England. Since then the Hard Rock Cafe brand has continued to expand all across the globe. But how do all of those locations become filled with memorabilia as great as a signed electric guitar seen in a popular video or as seemingly insignificant as a famous lyric scribbled out on a bar napkin? The television documentary "Hard Rock Treasures" sets out to present one such trek, as it follows the travels of Don Bernstine, one of the many behind the scenes folks who make Hard Rock Cafe what it has become and a rather dull host. We follow Bernstine on his backstage, mansion, warehouse quest to discover and acquire new stuff for the ever rotating rock museum's collection. This is "Antiques Roadshow" material all the way with less discussion of what an item might be worth in dollars, but instead in cultural significance to the rock community or emotional significance to the artist.
Although there's a certain assumption that someone who'd sit through this sort of thing would already have a strong knowledge of rock music, its back story, and its significant figures, this is surprisingly pretty shallow stuff just this side of explaining Beatlemania, and is complete with a presentation that flows unevenly and borders on amateurism. Overlooking these drawbacks becomes easy when the meat of the show leans on brief interactions, interviews, and tours of memorabilia collections by the likes of Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page, Cheap Trick's Rick Nielsen, Metallica's James Hetfield, and Deep Purple's Ian Paice. For a true rock fan this doc feels more like a back handed ad campaign for the café or bragging rights for Bernstine who seems to know or meets so many famous rock folk. Even if the makers of this documentary seem to have no clear point or have no clue who their audience should be, they don't scrimp on strong song snippets running the gamut from The Beach Boys to Red Hot Chili Peppers and visits to significant locations as Sun Records in Memphis that reminds the viewer that is all goes back to the music.
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