The first album that I ever paid for with my own money was Quiet Riot's 1983 heavy metal classic, Metal Health. For some reason that metal mask on the front cover spoke deeply to my eight year old mind, and it called out to me from across the record store and said 'put me on your record player… do it!' I was powerless to resist its calling, much to the dismay of my mother who bought a Billy Joel album on that very same shopping excursion.
With that at the forefront of my mind, I'm not ashamed to admit a fondness for Quiet Riot. They were the first heavy metal band to have a number one hit with their cover of Slade's Cum On Feel The Noize and despite breaking up and reforming and a few different line up changes over the years, they continue to record and tour to the time of this writing, even if now they're playing bars rather than arenas.
The man who really made Quiet Riot famous was vocalist Kevin DuBrow. His voice is instantly recognizable and more so than any other musical factor gave the band its sound. When he left the band (or rather, was kicked out) in 1986 after the recording of their third album for being notoriously difficult to work with and having a tendency to slag other band members and record company types, Quiet Riot attempted to carry on, recruiting from Rough Cutt singer Paul Shortino to handle microphone duty. The results were a low point for the band, but that didn't stop someone from filming one of their live shows in Japan from that very same tour.
The set list for Quiet Riot – 89' Live In Japan is as follows:
01 – Party All Night
02 – I'm Falling
03 – Stay With Me Tonight
04 – Run To You
05 – The Wild And The Young
06 – The Joker
07 – Drum Solo
08 – Coppin' A Feel
09 – King Of The Hill
10 – Cum On Feel The Noize
Looking at the set list it is very obvious that a lot of the bands bigger and better known songs are not performed. I'm sure a lot of this has to do with the fact that Paul Shortino is handling the vocals and not Kevin DuBrow (who during this era filed a law suit against the band claiming that he owned the rights to the name). While Shortino is a charismatic front man with a decent range for hair metal and a lot of charisma, he just doesn't have that raunchy, bratty sound that DuBrow had and that made the band the success they were earlier in the decade. The self titled album for which the band was touring when this concert was shot turned out horrible, and sadly we get a lot of material from that album here in place of far better earlier tracks like Mama Weer All Crazee Now and Metal Health.
As a curiosity item this DVD is quite interesting, as the band really seems to not quite know what to do with themselves here – they almost seem like they've lost their sound and in a sense, with DuBrow gone, they had – but it isn't a particularly good set. Hair metal was very much on its last legs by this time, and this concert shows how tired and cliché ridden it had become.
The concert footage is presented fullframe at 1.33.1, which looks to be how it was meant to be shown. Video quality isn't too bad but there is some ghosting and streaking noticeable during the set when the cameras get in too close to the stage lighting. This is a pretty common occurrence on live DVDs and it's nothing that I haven't seen before, but it is still there and needs to be mentioned. Video clarity is pretty decent with a good level of detail present in the picture. Colors look accurately reproduced and while there is some mild edge enhancement (look at the drum kit, that's where it is the most obvious) there aren't any problems with compression artifacts.
Quiet Riot – 89' Live In Japan gets a brand spankin' new Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound remix for this DVD release. Basically, all the music comes at you from the front center and left and right speakers, while the back speakers are used mainly to fill in audience noise and fill out some of the reverberation that occurs during a live show. The subwoofer brings the bass into your living room nicely, adding some power to the mix and the vocals come through loud and clear. No problems with this audio mix.
There are no extra features of any kind on this release except for the promotional video for Stay With Me. There is also song selection available off of the main menu.
While this concert isn't representative of the Quiet Riot that most fans want to remember and while a lot of the bigger hits are conspicuously absent, Quiet Riot – 89' Live In Japan is a well shot and good sounding concert DVD that should provide some mild thrills to eighties hair metal fans. If you're a die hard you already know you're buying it, everyone else should probably rent it first.
Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.