For any true music fan, just looking at the contents of this DVD box set is enough to make your skin crawl. It's close to a year since those historical two nights at Madison Square Garden, when some of the greatest artists in Rock & Roll came together to celebrate the power of something we hold so dear to our hearts. My only gripes is that I wished the producers could put all the performances in. Even then, 5 1/2 hours of music isn't too shabby. The edited show is taken from the original HBO broadcast, with Jerry Lee Lewis opening and Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band closing. Every single artist who took the stage were on the top of their game.
There are so many wonderful moments, like Stevie Wonder suddenly breaking into tears while singing MJ's The Way You Make Me Feel, and Simon & Garfunkel singing Bridge Over Troubled Water. Metallica surprised all by backing Ray Davies and Lou Reed, while Mick Jagger coolly walked onstage to U2's version of Gimme Shelter. Then you had Sting, Buddy Guy and Billy Gibbons jamming with Jeff Beck and paying homage to Curtis Mayfield, Jimi Hendrix and The Beatles.
Springsteen's set was of course the longest. Sam Moore and Darlene Love did their own soul classics with the E Street Band (and some additional horns and backup singers), and Tom Morello floored everyone doing an 'out of this world' solo during The Ghost Of Tom Joad, not to mention London Calling. Seeing John Fogerty trading vocals with Bruce on Pretty Woman was pretty special too. And the big highlight was Bruce singing with Billy Joel on New York State Of Mind (the Boss brought a new fiery passion to it), and the king of Long Island returning the favor on Born To Run.
Over the course of watching these performances, you'll realise that Rock & Roll, as a genre, is just so broad, as we normally don't associate Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Otis Redding, Sam Cooke, The Everly Brothers, The Beach Boys, or even Miles Davis with Rock & Roll. So this DVD is a perfect music history lesson of a timeless art form.