Henry Rollins is a busy man, that's for damn sure. He seems to be on tour 80% of the year doing his trademark spoken word, and when he's not doing that he's releasing books, music or, as in this case, DVDs.
For those of you who don't know, Henry has been doing "talking shows" (as he likes to call them) consistently since 1983, not to mention touring with both Black Flag and various incarnations of the Rollins Band. His talking shows deal with a wide variety of subjects, from politics to personal issues and stories, but it's all delivered with a biting, sarcastic sense of humor that many of us have come to expect and love. His latest DVD (and second in two years) is titled Shock & Awe: The Tour, and the title says it all; much of his material this time around has old GW in the crosshairs. I believe the original title for the DVD was Shock & Awe My Ass, and it represents Rollins' disgust with the use of words on the administration's part, as if the U.S. government was putting on a fireworks show or something.
Henry begins by explaining that making fun of the President because he can't speak well is like punching out an 8 year old -- satisfying, but not something you want to rely on, and that he has much bigger problems with him than that. He attacks Bush's blatant irresponsibility on issues like going to Mars and ignoring the problems here in the "flat 50." Henry goes on to rap on everything from the recently deceased pope (who was still alive at the time), what "jack-off hell" might be like (and why he'd be the first to go), a mind-blowing conversation he had with a would-be burglar, his own masturbation technique (hilarious), dating in L.A., the "Kill Bill" premiere, his recent USO tours and, of course, his unlikely collaboration with William Shatner and Ben Folds for the song "I Can't Get Behind That." I'm being careful not to put in spoilers in here for those who have yet to see it, but the entire thing is hilarious and entertaining, not to mention politically well-informed and insightful. Henry is (much like fellow punk elder and activist Jello Biafra) very well read on his subjects and is careful not to attack things he is not entirely familiar with.
The set was shot at the Moore Theatre in Seattle, Washington, on March 14, 2004, and it looks wonderful. Technically speaking, the lighting is wonderful and the production is top-notch, plus the DVD extra is a clipbook of Henry's personal photos from his USO tour in Afghanistan.
If you're a fan of Henry then you've most likely already picked this up, but if you're looking for somewhere to start, then this is a perfect and very accessible purchase.