• Tubes, The - Live at German Television : The Musikladen Concert 1981

    Released By: MVD Visual/Sireena Records
    Released On: October 7, 2016.
    Director: The Fine Folks At Musikladen
    Cast: The Tubes, Some Cheerleaders, Assless Chaps
    Year: 1981
    Purchase From Amazon

    The Film:

    A wise man once said, "Hey, man, as long as I have tickets for The Tubes, I don't give a shit about anything else." That wise man was named Spike, and since he once photoshopped his long-haired, shades-wearing mug onto the Mona Lisa flawlessly, you have to figure that he knows his rock and roll. But by 1981, The Tubes, led by the wonky Fee Waybill, had moved pretty far from the ass-shaking foot stomper "White Punks On Dope" that put them on the map, opting to venture into more proggy, synth-driven tunes. And while they still maintained somewhat of an edge, with the satirical social commentary that they'd started out with, Waybill and Co.'s musical outtings were masking that satire in the radio-friendly sound of the 80's.

    And so, The Tubes played German TV's famed Musikladen show in 1981, on the strength of their album, "The Completion Backward Principle", which had done moderately well in the charts. Their first album for Capitol records after they were dropped from A+M, "Completion" covered such far-ranging topics as sushi, 50-foot women, and the band's need to make some noise. All of the tracks from that album are featured here, with various cuts from other albums....White Punks on Dope is sadly absent, with the band pushing their synth agenda in some pretty poorly chosen red and blue outfits. Still, even though there are no dildos or hypodermic needles on display, Waybill and his bandmates push the boundaries of acceptable German television. Once they get past the hip-swaying, hand-clapping white boy funky sound of A Matter of Pride, a television is wheeled out onto stage....what's on TV? Waybill wonders...and jumps on top of the television to deliver the song while a full-on porn movie plays on the screen underneath him.

    Think About Me and Talk To Ya Later follow, and then it's time for Sports fans, with Waybill rocking a very suspect jersey adorned with the number 88, utilizing a number of pieces of sport equipment before the cheerleaders come out to strut their very sexy stuff. After Amnesia, it's into Mr. Hate, where Waybill does his best Alice Cooper impersonation, bound in some kind of getup for a good chunk of the song before he manages to finally break free...and take a female hostage at knifepoint. Lest there be any confusion or debate about sexism in a Tubes set, Mondo Bondage finds the very pale Mr. Waybill rocking some leather chaps that bare his prominent ass, that are then ripped away to reveal a leather studded pair of bikini briefs. Sure, the cheerleaders are back in lingerie to get their dry-hump on, but they ultimately have the last laugh as they buckle the singer up in a head restraint with matching leash and ride him around the stage.

    With 20 some-odd tracks here from various points in their career, this is a pretty decent video/live retrospective for fans. Sadly, The Tubes choose to go out with Let's Make Some Noise, obviously meant to be a crowd-rousing table-smasher, but in front of a German TV audience...well, let's just say that when Waybill confronts the audience to inspire them to Make Some Noise, the reaction is fairly subdued. In conjunction with the satire and costumes that border on sheer cornball, not to mention some of those very dated video effects, there's not really too much to love about The Tubes Musikladen appearance. Maybe it's the synthesizers, maybe it's just the 80's, but it's very apparent that only die-hard fans are going to want to witness this spectacle.

    Chapter/Track List:

    Intro Part 1
    A Matter Of Pride
    TV Is King
    Think About Me
    Talk To Ya Later
    Sports Fans
    Mr. Hate
    Attack Of The Fifty Foot Woman
    Mondo Bondage
    Intro Part 2
    Don't Want To Wait Anymore
    Power Tools
    Business Dance
    Don't Slow Down
    Sushi Girl
    Tubes World Tour
    Let's Make Some Noise


    If you're like me, you've caught the majority of what Musikladen has to offer via youtube and torrent files ripped from old VHS. And truth be told, this DVD isn't much of a leg up in the quality department. The video shows up on this Region 0 DVD in a 1.33:1 transfer that looks just alright, considering that it's creeping up on forty years old and was shot on video. As a result, you can expect interlacing, some pretty heavy saturation from the stage lights, ghosting, trails, and other wacky visual issues, with a moderate level of detail. It's not nearly as bad as it sounds, but anyone hoping to compare it to the latest blu-ray with Atmos 7.1 sound from some recent performer at the San Diego Enormodome will be a little underwhelmed. All things considered, it's about what you should expect from a television broadcast of this vintage.

    Audio comes courtesy of a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack, clocking in at 192kbps. Yes, it says PCM Stereo on the back of the cardboard digipak, no, it is not lossless. A number of the issues that affect the video take their toll on the audio here, namely that it's a 30+ year old video recording that is now being presented in lossy Dolby...which results in a fairly flat, sterile sound that is pretty much robbed of any dynamic range imaginable. Still, it's serviceable for rabid fans of The Tubes, and seems to have been mixed well, with all of the instruments represented...it just doesn't sound that great.

    It should be worth noting that the "Intro Part 1" and "Intro Part 2" chapters, with Musikladen VJ speech is in German with no subtitles.

    Aside from a track listing and a small written piece on the back by Rolling Stone music guy David Fricke (from July 2016), there are no extras on this disc.

    The Final Word:

    What can I say? Fans of The Tubes are going to want this nifty little package that has a lengthy and fulfilling set list, especially for those who appreciate The Completion Backward Principle. Still, having seen footage from other Musikladen and German TV performances....The Monks, The Ramones, and Tenpole Tudor to mention a few...this one is a bit of a letdown, and about as basic as it gets.