Friday, April 2, 2010

The T.A.M.I. Show (movie)

If you've ever wondered what one of those '60s package shows was like, have I got a DVD for you. The T.A.M.I. Show was shot in 1964 at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium to a packed crowd of crazy teenagers, intent on seeing some of pop's hottest stars. The Rolling Stones, The Beach Boys, Smokey Robinson & The Miracles, The Supremes and many more appeared, and director Steve Binder shot the show in black and white for release to theatres.

The T.A.M.I. Show—it stands for Teenage Awards Music International (boy, they really wanted to use the acronym TAMI, didn't they?!)—also featured a weird opening, a back 'n' forth between Chuck Berry (who was really an oldie at that point, but had a hit with "Nadine" at the time) and Liverpool's Gerry & The Pacemakers. Marvin Gaye and Lesley Gore follow (not together), Billy J. Kramer and then The Barbarians (sorry, fans, only one song and no "Moulty," though they do an extended zoom in on the drummer's one-armed pounding), and prior to the Stones, the standout performance of James Brown & His Famous Flames. Good God! does this man put on a performance. The crowd goes wild, too, despite the fact that there are few kids of kolor in sight. I would guess that a lot of these girls never saw a Negro get down like that before! I'm telling you, Brown's performance is so good, I understand why Mick, Keith & Ko. didn't want to have to follow him (though they did a pretty good job anyhow).

Shout! Factory has issued this DVD after decades of unavailability; ever since the movie played in late '64, the only things that have been available have been very bad quality bootleg VHS tapes and copies of copies of copies. Though the movie was shot in B&W in some newfangled Electronovision or whatever, it looks all right despite its age. And the mono sound is pretty good, too, though the edits between acts and songs are pretty raw to 21st century eyes. But it's totally worth the price. To see James Brown down on his knees multiple times, then draped with his cape by his handler (who looks very worried), during "Please, Please, Please" is one of the best treats I've ever enjoyed in my rock 'n' roll life.
5/5 (Shout! Factory DVD)

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