Born to Boogie the Ringo Starr-directed, 1972 concert film of a newly electrified T. Rex was meant to capture leader Marc Bolans Beatlemania-like grip on his young, impressionable audience. The film has been restored and expanded into a two-DVD, five-hour-plus collection. Among its features are two same-day shows at Londons Wembley arena, and a valuable 47-minute documentary, Cosmic Rock, that includes interviews with producer Tony Visconti and the only (!) surviving member of the 1972 lineup, drummer Bill Legend.
The concerts themselves are persuasive even for the casual rock n roll fan to a fault. Bolans egocentric mien (he wears a T-shirt bearing his own face) and guitar poses are Spinal Tap worthy, while a handful of tunes (Baby Strange, Children of the Revolution and Bang a Gong) are given tight, slam-bang run-throughs befitting their excesses. However, the Fellini-esque interludes are exactly what youd expect when giving cameras to a stoned crew with no script and vague cinematic ambitions and Bolans acoustic guitar is aggravatingly out-of-key as he sits cross-legged for a set of ballads. You had to be there? Now, you pretty much are.
Rob O'Connor writes about music for Metro Times. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.