Black Flag - Live DVD (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Black Flag

Live 📀 (2000)

Cherry Red

Well, many of you have an opinion of Black Flag, and even more of you have an opinion about certain eras in Black Flag's history...but I could honestly give a shit about your opinion. So, without the explaining of history and what not I'll cut to the chase.

This the full, unedited taping of a Black Flag concert in England during the 1984 My War tour. Rollins is obviously on vocals, Greg on guitar, Bill Stevenson on drums, and Kira on Bass. So, let's start with the concert itself. The show starts with Rollins quoting a facinating line from Henry Miller, which really made me think, and I thought that was pretty cool. Immediately after Rollins finishes, the band breaks into "Nervous Breakdown". Now, on this certain song I think Keith Morris was best suited for the vocal.....but Rollins definitely shows it good justice here. He's jumping around and screaming the lyrics to his hearts content....and he does a great job. Next is the song "Can't Decide", which is much better suited for Henry's vocal style. It's a great song with the unforgetable line "I always wear a smile, cause anything but a smile would make me have to explain....what I can't explain anyway." Rollins loses his black shirt on this track and really starts to break into the performance. They go on to play a mass majority of My War & Slip It In tracks...with a few of the first four years mixed in as well.

Some highlights include Rollins' complete freak out during "My Ghetto" and a brutal version of "Rat's Eyes" which, when played live, actually can hold up to the majority of earlier Black Flag material as well. They play 2 of the 3 slow songs off My War here...."Three Nights" and "Nothing Left Inside" usual...these songs come off much heavier and a bit faster than on the album itself. They are, despite popular opinion, very powerful and overwhelming songs. Another impressive track is "Forevertime"....which features Rollins at his most manic. I also found that I much perfer Rollins instead of Chavo for the song "Jealous Again", Henry adds a much needed does of intensity to it. The 16 song setlist is as follows-

Opeing credits- Obliteration (Instrumental)
1.) Nervous Breakdown
2.) Can't Decide
3.) Slip It In
4.) My Ghetto
5.) Black Coffee
6.) Forevertime
7.) Six Pack
8.) My War
9.) Jealous Again
10.) I Love You
11.) The Swinging Man
12.) Three Nights
13.) Nothing Left Inside
14.) Fix Me
15.) Wound Up
16.) Rat's Eyes
Closing Credits- Obliteration (Instrumental)

Overall this is an amazing performance from the most primal and brutal band of all time. Another interesting note would be that during this concert there were very few of the infamous Black Flag audience altercations. One tall, drunk guy was trying to feel Rollins up at one point and a few weak punkers in the front row yelled some inaudible obscenties at Rollins during Rat's Eyes......but nothing serious. The whole thing ends with Rollins telling the two kids that he doesn't care what they think and that they don't make him feel bad about himself.

Now, on to the technical portion of this is very lite on extras. There is a discography section, a Cherry Red catalogue and scene selection....along with a creepy shot of Rollins on the Menu screen....but nothing else. The quality of the video is the best of any Black Flag video I have seen (with the exception of some of the live clips off of "Reality 86'd" which are of better quality than this), but the quality is far from perfect. It is in color and everyone is nice and visible, but at times it seems that there is a very green tint to the video...which may be due to its old age. Sonically it's a mixed bag as well.....Rollins vocals are at the forefront of the sounds like he's screaming at you from inside your he sounds great. But Greg & company are a bit underappreciated here, with their playing very audible....but a bit muffled and pushed into the background. These aren't major takes very little away from the experience.

I would call this DVD a must buy for any Black Flag fan and anybody who is a fan of hardcore punk or punk metal should definitely check this out as well. The show is top notch and the DVD does a reasonable job of restoring this age old concert footage. Until Greg decides to ease up and give the creators of "Reality 86'd" a break, this is the best we're gonna get. In comparison to the other "Live '84" video from the Stone in San Francisco...which was only released on VHS....this DVD blows the extremely poor video quality of that one out of the water.