Henry Rollins – Live at Luna Park
directed by Modi
starring Henry Rollins
I know Henry Rollins through his music and his acting. I had heard from friends that his spoken word performances were quite entertaining, but I had never sampled a CD nor had the opportunity to experience one live. So, this DVD, compiling the “best of” a month long set of performances at the Luna Park night club in 1999, was a welcome opportunity to sample something I had long heard about.
Rollins’ performance is a mixture of stand-up comedy and dramatic monologue. The best comparison I can give is Eddie Izzard circa Dress to Kill, minus the eye make-up. He takes us through various place in his life, both geographic and temporal, as we hear his commentaries on driving in different parts of the world, flying while sleep deprived, acting in a cartoon, and jobs he held while in high school, among other subjects.
The energy that Rollins puts into his music is evident in his spoken word performance, but is more controlled than I expected. Rarely does he explode into a verbal torrent of a diatribe. Rather, he gives reasoned and intellectual insights, while still being laugh-out-loud funny throughout the hour-plus of material. The best review I can give is that my wife, who is ambivalent about most of my review material, continually told me to back the disc up so she could hear another bit again, she was laughing so loud.
The photography gives a good intimate club feel, with a nice balance of shots between Rollins and the crowd’s reaction to him. The sound was perfect, with none of the monologue drowned out by laughter. Surround sound was relegated to the occasional crowd noise, and the Rollins Band interstitial music between subjects. The only bonus on the disc is another performance, but this alone is almost worth the cost. In this extended piece, Rollins details his rivalry with Iggy Pop to give the best stage performance. The laughs in this one just keep coming, while at the same time you get a behind the scenes look at Rollins’ musical journey, something which was for the most part missing from the rest of the show.
Henry Rollins is known as a literate individual, committed to many causes, who also happens to be have released some intense music over the years, and in the interim tried his hand at acting. This performance shows a little of all of those sides, and a little more if you are paying attention. I am definitely recommending this to my friends, and definitely going to try and see him live if the chance every presents itself.
Henry Rollins: http://www.henryrollins.com/