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November 2002                                          SITE MAP   SEARCH
Joe Cocker: In Concert
featuring: Joe Cocker, Dean Parks, Greg Leisz, Chris Stainton, and Jim Keltner

producer: Michael Au

60 minutes (E) 2001
Wienerworld DVD Region 2 retail

RATING: 8/10
reviewed by John M. Peters
I have to admit that Joe Cocker was never a favourite of mine in my formative years back in the late 1960s, and while his white soul-boy leanings continued to be very popular during the 1970s he faded from view somewhat after that, appearing occasionally for the odd hit or movie soundtrack. So this recent concert from German television is something of a reintroduction for me, and it is a most welcome one. It seems that over the years Cocker has grown old disgracefully, looking like he's matched Nick Nolte bottle for bottle, while shedding the wilder excesses of his vocal and physical performance to become a song stylist of some stature.
   Eschewing most of his hits in favour of what I guess could be called the classic rock and soul songbook, Cocker and his excellent band - including Jim Keltner, Chris Stainton and Dean Parks - give a bravura performance of restraint and musicianship in front of a small but highly appreciative audience. Songs include: You And I, Darlin' Be Home Soon, Delta Lady, Sail Away, Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood, Many Rivers To Cross, Into The Mystic and many more. These are all performed with a maturity few of the Fame Academy and Pop Idols generation will ever achieve, and with a respect and love for the lyric that even fewer of the current 'stars' could identify with. Joe Cocker paid his dues a long time ago, and this concert shows that he still has it in abundance.
   The DVD doesn't really come with much in the way of extras: a text bio of the singer, a lengthy list of other concert shows in the same series, an interview with the producer about the concert series, and an advert for the high end audio cables produced by the concert series sponsors. An interview with Cocker or perhaps a rehearsal jam session would have been most welcome, but as it is, this a superb showcase for Joe Cocker.