June 2, 2008

DVD - Mink DeVille - Live At Montreux 1982

Seeing as this Live At Montreux 1982 DVD is of a concert from 26 years ago, I watched the Mink DeVille Band, recalling how things were in 1982 and exactly what was being played on the radio (and MTV). I only mention this so as to put this very tight six-piece group in place with their ‘hair band’ counterparts of the day. Mink DeVille with their enigmatic lead singer, Willy DeVille, is certainly not like any band that was around at the time….nor are they every much like many others who have come and gone since.

Again we get the amazing camera work of a Montreux production team with on-stage close-ups so we can see every bead of sweat on skinny pompadoured Willy Deville’s face as he sings and sways for the crowd. The rest of the band consists of Louis Cortelezzi on sax, Kenny Margolis on keys, Paul James on lead guitar, Joey Vasta on bass and Tommy Price on drums — all pumping along through a myriad of musical styles. Songs run from the ‘noir’ feel of set opener “Harlem Nocturne” (written in 1939, no less!) right on through the groove of the third number, “Savior Faire,” and the triple shot of this 16-song set, “Love Me Like You Did Before,” “Spanish Stroll” and “Lipstick Traces.”

As with other DVDs from Montreux, there is a fold-out providing a background for each song played, maybe a bit gushing in its praise of DeVille, but informative nonetheless. What I liked most about this concert (beyond the deck-of-a-ship stage set) was how effortlessly Mink DeVille performs, how easily they can switch from all-out rockers to ballads, and then end with a song like “Stand By Me,” I’m not sure about the current state of live bands (I really don’t get out all that much these days) but I can tell you Mink DeVille is about as tight as a band can get. And this DVD is a great historical document to what they were all about.

~ Ralph Greco, Jr.

"Harlem Nocturne"—cover of the instrumental track by Earle Hagen
"Slow Drain"—from the 1980 album La Chat Bleu
"Savoir Fare"—from the 1980 album La Chat Bleu
"Cadillac Walk"—from the 1977 album Cabretta
"She's So Tough"—from the 1977 album Cabretta
"Mixed Up, Shook Up Girl"—from the 1977 album Cabretta
"Just Your Friends"—from the 1978 album Return to Magenta
"Love and Emotion"—from the 1981 album Coup de Grace
"Maybe Tomorrow"—from the 1981 album Coup de Grace
"This Must Be the Night"—from the 1980 album La Chat Bleu
"Teardrops Must Fall"—from the 1981 album Coup de Grace
"Love Me Like You Did Before"—from the 1981 album Coup de Grace
"Spanish Stroll"—from the 1977 album Cabretta
"Lipstick Traces"—from the 1980 album La Chat Bleu
"Oyeah"—unknown song
"Stand by Me"—cover of the classic hit by Ben E. King