|Albert Collins: In Concert
As a longtime blues fan, I got to see – and interview – a lot of legendary blues dudes who have since passed, like Robert "Junior" Lockwood, Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, and Junior Wells. One of my biggest regrets is not pursuing the Iceman, as Albert Collins was known to blues fans because of his signature song "The Freeze."
This DVD captures the band at its house-rocking prime, at a 1985 show in Stuttgart, Germany. Collins still moved smoothly at the time, and his voice sounded great on this particular night – a perfect snapshot for posterity. Once you get over the weird juxtaposition of the slick Texas-style rocker in his boots, sideburns, Telecaster and leisure suit against the sparse Euro-design stage (it kind of resembles an airport bathroom), “In Concert” is a good ride through a smokin' opening jam called "Listen Here," and chestnuts like "If Trouble Was Money," "The Things I Used to Do," and "Frosty," a "Freeze"-like instrumental jam that turns even this Stuttgart nightclub into a dusty Lone Star barbecue. The video production is sharp and camera work professional – as far as blues DVDs go, this one's actually very nice.
Don't get me wrong, I thank the Lord every day for European audiences: In many ways, they are more sophisticated consumers of American jazz and blues, appreciating its artful nuances and sustaining the careers of our treasured artists long after our consumer culture discards them like old styrofoam Quarter Pounder boxes piled high at the landfill. Despite this disc's warts – way too much dry ice, a short set, and an overhyped dose of Southside Johnny (of Jukes fame) guest harp on "Brick" – this is still a very nice slice of the Iceman in action. Since I never got to interview him or see the man perform live, this will do nicely as a surrogate.
~Mojo Flucke, PhD