Rocket From The Crypt CD/DVD review by Joseph P. Larkin
Apr 21, 2008, 04:53
ROCKET FROM THE CRYPT R.I.P. CD & DVD
On Halloween night in 2005, fifteen hundred rockabilly boys, jocks, drunken fat guys and maybe three attractive women total swarmed the Westin Horton Plaza Grand Ballroom in downtown San Diego, CA to watch Rocket from the Crypt shake, death rattle and roll after sixteen years of service. Due to the oppressive heat and overly aggressive audience, who shoved, moshed (remember moshing?) and dove from the stage as if it were Lollapalooza circa '92, the experience of seeing the band's final performance can best be summed up in three words: pure fucking hell. Thank God this live CD/DVD combo exists to let the chosen few see and hear what they missed that fateful night as they fought to escape being crushed to death against the stage while the good ship Rocket from the Crypt set sail for one last voyage. Of course, no recording or film could ever properly document the madness of this particular night in pop history—you just had to be there. I should know: I was there. And I've got the scars (mostly emotional) to prove it.
Don't believe I was really there? Just pop the DVD into your player (that sounded way dirtier than I had intended it to soundâ€¦) and look for the dashing young man in the red polo shirt directly in front of head Rocketeer Speedo—that's me in all my sexless glory. If I look miserable, it's because I was miserable. It was a miserable experience. Again, no film could ever accurately do justice to the lunacy that Rocket from the Crypt's final set inspired in the crowd, but this DVD does a decent enough job of capturing most of the mayhem. Granted, you won't see the gigantic purple bruises all over my back nor will you see a guy near me cut his hand open with a broken beer bottle (long story), but you will see all of Rocket from the Crypt's last live gig in vivid screaming color, which ought to satisfy any fan of the band.
Unlike the DVD, which contains the full and uncut concert complete with band chatter and massive amounts of downtime between the songs, the CD is heavily edited, with numerous tunes missing and much of Speedo's meandering banter mercifully removed. Honestly, the track listing for this disc, which leans heavily on the band's earlier material, is a bit of a disappointment, with many of the best songs from the show having been removed for reasons I don't quite understand (I'd like to say time constraints are to blame, but the disc is only fifty-one minutes in lengthâ€¦). That said, the CD sounds great, though the recording is not quite as crisp as one might expect from an official live release; no matter, the somewhat substandard sound quality best reflects the spirit of the show. Who wants to hear the boys butcher classics like “Used” in high definition Dolby Digital surround sound anyway? This shit is supposed to be raw. Like sushi. And raw it is. Like sushi!
In the extensive and brutally honest liner notes that accompany R.I.P., Speedo freely admits that Rocket from the Crypt was no longer in peak form and the band's final set wasn't as good as the group had hoped it would be, thanks in no small part to the shitty crowd and the band's inability to properly play many of its songs. Truthfully, Rocket from the Crypt's final performance feels restrained and not quite chaotic enough. Still, R.I.P. proves Speedo and company sure knew how to put on a show, even if they weren't all that adept at crowd control. [Vagrant]
-Joseph P. Larkin