It was sometime in late 1998, after the Big Bad Voodoo Daddy's first major label release that I first saw them live in concert. From that moment on, I knew I had found a band whose music I really loved. For those that aren't familiar with Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, they formed in the early 90s and were at the head of a new generation revival for the swing genre. They take the big band approach to music, supplying plenty of great lyrics and brass, with influences from the likes of Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra. Most people may not realize it (I didn't until about 1998), but they've seen Big Bad Voodoo Daddy in action. The band made a cameo appearance in the popular 1996 movie Swingers, where they played three of their most popular songs, "You and Me and the Bottle Makes 3 Tonight (Baby)", "I Wanna Be Like You", and "Go Daddy-O". This opportunity was one of the band's really big breakthroughs. Afterwards, their fan base grew exponentially.
This release contains a live recording of Big Bad Voodoo Daddy playing a concert at the Majestic Ventura Theatre on May 15, 2003 in both an audio and video flavor. The audio CD contains an audio recording of the concert, while the DVD provides a video recording. It's quite exciting to see (and hear) this band in action. Unlike some bands, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy plays really well live. It's clear from watching the DVD that they have a lot of talent. They produce an energy that makes you just want to smile, sing, and dance. Whether a fan or newcomer, seeing Big Bad Voodoo Daddy play live is quite the positive experience.
The other attraction, found on the DVD, is a short documentary entitled "The Early Days". The documentary covers the beginning of the band and how they started from a small two man musical ensemble and grew to become something much more. It's entertaining for the fans to learn a brief history about the band. However, I really would have enjoyed a longer documentary. It concludes feeling somewhat unfinished and we're left with a "to be continued" message, so hopefully we'll be seeing more of Big Bad Voodoo Daddy on video.
Some live concert CD/DVD releases do not have the same content on the audio CD and the DVD. Under these cases, the DVD contains a song or two more than the audio CD, which is due to the concert being too lengthy. In this release, the audio CD and DVD contain the same track lists. I was really happy about this, because that means you can listen to live recording where you want, whenever you want, and most importantly without missing anything.
This release covers some of the band's most popular hits. Here's the track list.
2. "The Boogie Bumper"
3. "Jumpin' Jack"
4. "I Wanna Be Just Like You (Jungle Book Song)"
5. "You Know You're Wrong"
6. "Big Time Operator"
7. "Minnie the Moocher"
8. "Oh Yeah"
9. "King of Swing"
10. "You and Me and the Bottle Makes 3 Tonight (Baby)"
11. "I Like It"
12. "Please Baby"
13. "Mr. Pinstripe Suit"
14. "Go Daddy-O"
15. "Simple Songs"
16. "So Long, Farewell, Goodbye"
17. "Always Gonna' Get Ya"
The video on the DVD is presented in anamorphic widescreen color. The picture quality is fairly decent. The picture has a very distinct blocky touch, which is the result of video compression. While it isn't terrible, it is noticeable. Unlike some other live concert recordings, there was a substantial amount of preparation for this filming. The lighting detailed the band very well.
The sound in this concert DVD is provided in two flavors, 2.0 Dolby digital stereo sound and 5.1 Dolby digital surround sound. The sound quality is very good, with vocals and instrumentals coming off very rich and vibrant. The audio CD does not sound as good as the DVD, which is mainly because the DVD provides a much richer 5.1 audio track.
There are no extras supplied with this release.
I've been a really big fan of Big Bad Voodoo Daddy for some years now. It was definitely exciting to have the chance to see them live in concert once again. The music that comes from this band is simply extraordinary and has the ability to attract fans of all ages. So whether you enjoy genres like jazz, swing, and big band, or artists like Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Cherry Poppin' Daddies, Brian Setzer Orchestra, and the Squirrel Nut Zippers, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy has a place in your heart and you'll definitely get a kick out of listening to them live.