The Midnight Special

The Midnight Special

DVD - 2014
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Featuring an incredible array of the greatest musicians of the '70s and early '80s. It stands alone in the history of rock n roll as the first ever late-night live concert show on TV, capturing the spirit of a time when rock was exploding in so many new, exciting directions. For nine thrilling years, The Special brought audience the very best live music from every genre, rare performances right into homes every week, complete with the intimacy of close-ups and multiple camera angles.
Publisher: [Place of publication not identified] :, [Publisher not identified],, [2014]
Copyright Date: ©2014
Branch Call Number: DVD 781.64 Midnight
Characteristics: 6 videodiscs (505 min.) :,sound, color ;,4 3/4 in.
digital, optical, rda
video file, DVD video, rda

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r
rshartjr
Apr 02, 2018

What a blast from the past! I remember sneaking out of my bedroom when my father was watching just to see and hear the artists, too. (Got caught more than a few times!) Love it!

b
ba_library
Dec 31, 2017

I do not remember watching Midnight Special on t.v. (it aired at midnight) but watching the DVD the artists were basically the soundtrack for my high school years. I didn’t recognize all the artists, but I sure recognized all the songs! Midnight Special was different from other music shows (American Bandstand / Soul Train) because the artists performed live (no lip syncing) and had a live audience - this was before MTV and music videos. It also had a very diverse showcase of talent from rock to soul/r&b to country bands. The show was hosted by Wolfman Jack and guest hosts. Helen Reddy hosted for a year – I’m thinking was she that popular? Apparently – yes! In one bonus segment the O’Jays are being interviewed and one says she looked like a housewife, but she was a successful artist. Midnight Special ran through the 1970s, so the fashion is quite horrible in retrospect! Men had long, long hair, some were early glam rockers (Ted Nugent) with pretty make up and clothes. Also, the polyester pantsuit was quite the look for men, platform shoes, etc.—a good laugh for those of us who lived through the era.
Disc 1 starts in 1972 with John Denver, Linda Ronstadt, Harry Chapin and Argent. Next episode from 1978 with Crystal Gayle, Chuck Mangione and Tom Petty & the Hearbreakers. The following episodes contain Mac Davis, The Doobie Brothers, Peter Frampton (in the bonus section Frampton talks about his talk box), Joan Baez, Hall & Oates. By the end of Disc 1 I’m wondering did they have any black bands on the show?
Slip in Disc 2! Starts with an episode from 1973 with Curtis Mayfield, Sly and The Family Stone. Also has Jim Croce, The Bee Gees, The Miracles, ELO, and Fleetwood Mac. Goes on to a 1979 episode with Alice Cooper, The Cars, Todd Rudgren and America. In the bonus features on this disc Alice Cooper comments that most rock bands (like his) could not get on any television show at the time, so Midnight Special was a great help and especially since they could perform live.
Disc 3 I’m wondering about the audience – they are seated on the floor and everyone looks kind of out of it (too stoned?) but the audience finally comes alive when LaBelle performs Lady Marmalade. A 1974 episode has Golden Earring (remember Radar Love?) and Aerosmith performing Dream On. Also Rufus with Chaka Khan (Tell Me Something Good), Redbone (a Native American band) with the hit Come and Get Your Love. Barry White appears in a hot pink and sequin polyester pantsuit singing Can’t Get Enough of Your Love in his deep voice and Olivia Newton-John. The bonus has the Village People singing YMCA and Chic performing Good Times.
I almost didn’t make it through Disc 4 because the audience got up and got dancing (fine) but in front of the performers you really couldn’t see the band/artist which included Peaches and Herb and Blondie. The Edgar winter Group performs Frankenstein to weird psychedelic lights making the band orange, yellow and purple. Hang on! The Disc also has Loggins and Messina, Billy Preston, Curtis Mayfield, Charlie Rich, War and Robert Palmer.
Disc 5 was sort of the Vegas acts: Helen Reddy, Neil Sedaka (he really should not dance!), the Captain & Tennille, KC & The Sunshine Band. Also included Earth Wind and Fire singing Devotion – I was wondering where was Kool & the Gang?
Disc 6 starts with a 1977 episode featuring Bread and Eddie Rabbitt. Onto 1978, with the O’Jays, Billy Preston and Sammy Hagar. Back to 1975 with the Bee Gees singing Nights on Broadway and Jive Talking – I had to look up when Saturday Night Fever was released (1977) I think both of those songs are on the soundtrack. This Disc also has a couple of songs from Marvin Gaye during a live performance in Atlanta in 1974 as well as Midnight Special performances by AC/DC (Sin City – go Angus!) and the Kinks.
So if you are ready for a 70s flashback, you’ll want to watch this DVD!

yes, the concert moves swimmingly along. highlights are FRANKENSTEIN, by Edgar Winters group; MIDNIGHT AT THE OASIS, by Maria Muldaur; Harry Chapin's TAXI; the two numbers provided by BLONDIE, one of which Debbie Harry improvises an ending to. Those are my highlights: which are yours? young people don't realize there wasn't always such easy access to the popular music of the day, as there is now. there was this show, and Don Kirshner's Friday night shindig (the name of which escapes me). oh, and American Bandstand, which almost escapes mention, as it was lipsynched performances, only. Of course, these days we have AutoTune...yeah, and I looked for the Doobie Brothers,(their picture is on the inside literature)but they weren't on any of the discs (and all the discs in the package were there)). Janis Ian's AT 17 is the most profound song in the set. she accompanies it on acoustic guitar, alone, while singing. the profundity is why I thought of her as 'the female bob Dylan.' Before this one, their was, SOCIETY'S CHILD. Not sure what she's been up to lately.

real_thing Jan 09, 2016

MIDNIGHT SPECIAL IT UP

Yes, Virginia, there was a time before MTV. And during that time The Midnight Special and other shows like Don Kirshner's Rock Concerts were some of the only ways to see live performances of the happening musical acts of the time on TV.

At long last a number of The Midnight Special performances have been released on this 6 disc compilation. There's a mix of everything, not always very memorable or notable, but by far the R&B and Soul artists performances are consistently the best, not just for the songs but these artists had time-tested their showmanship skills and musical chops.

There aren't a lot of performances on this set, considering it's 6 DVDs and capable of holding much, much more content. But the shows number in the hundreds (it was on every week) so I'm hoping additional compilations are forthcoming.

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