The Jam - "Trans Global Unity Express" DVD Review ~ BrooklynRocks: NYC Music Blog

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Jam - "Trans Global Unity Express" DVD Review

The Jam - 'Trans Global Unity Express' DVD ReviewThere are a number of concert/music videos that I remember from the early days of VHS and Beta that never made it to DVD so the DVD release of The Jam’s "Transglobal Unity Express" concert film comes as a welcome surprise. This disc captures nine tracks from The Jam’s show at Bingley Hall in Birmingham on March 21, 1982 where the band was touring behind their final release, The Gift, which was released earlier that month.

While this disc only captures thirty minutes of what was probably a ninety minute concert, the band is on fire and the energy of the capacity crowd adds to the performance. The Jam played as a five piece this tour, with Keith Thomas (Saxophone) and Steve Nichol (Trumpet) onboard, to reproduce The Gift’s strong R&B/Motown sound. The Gift charted at #1 in the UK and contains some brilliant songs by Paul Weller that are still relevant and poignant today so it seems a crime that Weller disbanded The Jam later in 1982. As much as I’d love to see the original Jam reunite, you have to give Weller credit for sticking by his beliefs and refusing to be a “reunion tour dinosaur” like The Who and Rolling Stones.

As to be expected, the material on this DVD mostly comes from The Gift (six of the nine tracks) and the band’s cover of “Move on Up” also comes from this period and was later released as the b-side to “Beat Surrender”. While this show was originally filmed on tape, it doesn’t have the ‘crispness’ of a recent concert film but that doesn’t detract from either the audio or video portions of the show. This video was filmed with multiple cameras and the sequencing of shots was done with care so there are seamless cuts between camera angles. The audio portion is also stellar and captures the fullness of The Jam’s sound.

Here is the complete track list:
“Town Called Malice”
“Move On Up”
“Private Hell”
“Pretty Green”
“Trans-Global Express”
“The Gift”

Now that this concert has finally surfaced on DVD, I vaguely remember seeing a Japanese VHS release of the band’s final show at the Brighton Centre that I’d love to see make it onto DVD sometime in my lifetime.

Paul Weller
The Jam