Look at the score, I dare ya. Yep, that’s right, Paul the huge Ataris fan gives their DVD an average 2.5. ‘Live at Capitol Milling’ is unfortunately the perfect example of a major label cashing in on its new found gains. ‘So Long Astoria‘ is a good record, at times great, and thanks to the success of the singles it’s sold almost 500,000 copies. So what do Columbia do? Cash in! This DVD has one video, a making-of said video, and several (admittedly good quality) live tracks. But it’s not great value.
There are hardly any extras, the layout is hardly the most aesthetically pleasing and the song selection is a bit strange. And it’s short – stupidly short. It’s more a taster than anything you’d actually want to add to your collection. To me it’s pointless having five live tracks, why not follow the Kung Fu Records series and have an entire concert, at least give the fans value for money. As it is, what there is is done well, but it’s what there isn’t which lets everything down.
The ‘In This Diary’ video is good, but it’s been seen before a billion times. There’s no ‘Boys Of Summer’ promo, which seems a bit strange, so the next item is the making of the video which actually does offer an interesting insight into how it was put together. It’s far from essential mind, and after you’ve watched it twice it’s pretty forgettable fare. So, onto what most people will but it for – the live songs. The tracks are shot really well, with loads of angles and the sound is perfect, really highlighting Kris’ vocals. The energy the crowd puts in mirrors the boys on stage and all of this is spot-on. But there are just five tracks – it’s neither here nor there. ‘Takeoffs and Landings’ is well performed but played in front of an unsuspecting LA audience, and ‘Teenage Riot’ is prefaced with a mumbling Kris Roe contradicting himself…he clearly means well but comes across a bit confused, bless him. The song is great though, the crowd spill over the front as the band rock the stage.
‘My Reply’ is Kris on his own and although it’s a good song it is hardly an advert for the new record, while ‘Unopened Letter To The World’ is a good song performed well. But it’s not ‘San Dimas..’, ‘Your Boyfriend Sucks’ or any of the other classic Ataris songs you’ve come to know and love which are desperately missing from this DVD. Even the closing ‘Song #13’ is a strange choice, certainly not one of the best tracks off ‘End Is Forever’, even if it is a high-octane performance which has John buzzing around the stage and Kris ending this by diving off a speaker stack. But, and I’m loathe to ram it home, there is definitely a sense that you’ve been left short-changed by what you have just seen.
This is one that is for collectors only. The bad points far outweigh the good ones and even as an Ataris die-hard I wouldn’t recommend parting with too much of your own money for it. Still, it would make a pleasant Christmas pressie…