I watched a video by the White Stripes a few days ago at a friend's house. Some hotshot director made it. Lots of fast cuts and random images and money behind it…a very busy video. I couldn’t even hear the song, the visuals were trying so hard to dazzle me. It was creative masturbation at its finest. Video overkill. It was as if everyone forgot that the basis of the video was actually a song.
I hearkened back to the days of yore, when videos were simple. Maybe they weren’t great, but they did their job and understated the song. The band members also seemed more capable of performing the song, not reliant on computer generated effects to do the work. Then sometimes, it was nice to see their vulnerability (see Red Rider below) in front of a camera, not quite knowing what to do. They seemed human and sweetly imperfect.
Video Concert Hall was the first video show I ever witnessed, pre-MTV. I couldn't find the opening of the program but this was the theme song:
Led Zeppelin, Carouselambra
Video Concert Hall came on at 3 pm and my friends and I would race from school to my house to watch it. My mother worked until 5, so we could smoke our cigs and be little bad asses in peace; wide-eyed and glued to the first visuals of our rock stars.
This was the first video I ever saw on Video Concert Hall and to this day, it remains one of my favorite videos (as well as one of my favorite songs.) Not a lot of rapid cuts, or people morphing into animals or the sky raining drops of blood. No visual mindfucks or editing overkills. Just a great song, a great band (at the time) and a video of it.
Genesis, not being fancy with Turn it on Again
Here's a few other Video Concert Hall faves. Make sure you get to the end, where The Who display how effective a simple video can be (even though John Entwistle may already be dead in Who are You, I don't know.)
Pete Townshend, Keep on Working Pete keeps it so simple, he doesn't even get out of his ratty robe. Viva la Pete Townshend!
Iggy Pop is Bored, Chairman of the Bored
The Pretenders being one of the most well-rounded bands
Herb Albert, Rise (aka Luke and Laura's Rape Song)
Red Rider, Lunatic Fringe
Split Enz with the ever lovely Neil Finn
The Who being the best band ever. If Keith Moon hadn't become a drummer, he would have exploded, I do believe. Perhaps he did...
Okay, actually this is the only Who video I remember on VCH. I want to grow up and be Pete Townshend. I love Pete in this, shaking his cute little ass. Nothing hotter than when a man knows his ass looks good...yep, nothing. (Stop talking about asses Beth. Its totally irrelevant to this blog post. No, you stop talking about asses...shhh, both of you.)
And to prove that I'm not living in the Dark Ages, I like the simplicity of this video (though I guess its got simple built-in, since it just a video recording of a studio session.)
Silversun Pickups, Lazy Eye. Is this guy's voice wild or what?
This post dedicated to Krissie, who sang every song with me.
EXTRA BONUS VIDEO:
My friend from Open Salon preferred this version of Turn It On Again, and I must confess, it's wonderful. It's great to see Phil so energetic: