Sunday, February 11, 2007

DVD Review: "Alice In Chains - MTV Unplugged" (1999)

I was never a huge fan of the grunge phase that dominated rock radio in the early to mid 1990s, but I absolutely loved Alice in Chains, in my opinion, one of the three best bands to ever come out of Seattle, Washington (along with Heart and Queensryche). By the time this DVD was filmed in 1996, their best work (1992's "Dirt" and 1994's "Jar of Flies") was behind them, largely because lead singer, the late Layne Staley, was in the depths of heroin addiction by that point, a situation foreshadowed by the lyrics to the song "Junkhead", from "Dirt".

On this recording, a greying Staley (and I'm talking skin, not hair) looks like death warmed over and rides guitarist Jerry Cantrell's coattails, barely enunciating the words. However, the strength of the songs themselves make up for Staley's strung-out squeegee-kid impression. Listen for the fat sound of Mike Inez' acoustic bass, especially on gems like "Nutshell".

This is a good DVD to have in your collection to represent the alternative music era, as well as the whole MTV Unplugged phenomenon, not to mention that it's one hell of a good "say no to drugs" infomercial to show the kids.

Overall rating: 7.25/10


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