Are you ready to set your DVD to time machine mode? StarVista Entertainment and Time Life is doing just that with the release of “The Midnight Special”!
In 1972, Burt Sugarman created and produced a television show called “The Midnight Special” as a late night musical series. Whereas most musical shows at that time had performers lip synching, “The Midnight Special” prided itself on live performances. Having a built in audience with the time slot right after ”The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson,” the show premiered No. 1 in that time slot.
The program featured introductions to guests by musicians with hits at the time as well as the memorable Wolfman Jack! Also, comedians such as George Carlin, Billy Crystal, Steve Martin and my personal favorite, Flip Wilson, would perform on the series.
Now, StarVista Entertainment and Time Life have brought the absolute best to the three DVD set of “The Midnight Special.” The set brings the best of rock, pop, country and R&B with the most memorable songs of the era. These are some of the most iconic performances that can now be relived again.
Some of the amazing highlights are the seven-minute rendition of “Moondance” with Van Morrison, a very young Carlos Santana, George Benson, Dr. John and the incomparable Miss Etta James. There is also a duet by Dr. John and Etta James singing the song “I’d Rather Be Blind” that is just heart-stopping to watch.
There are performances by Heart singing “Crazy on You” and Steely Dan giving us “Reeling in the Years” and “Do It Again.” I have to admit that it was very touching to once again see Jim Croce singing “Operator (That’s Not the Way it Feels).” I cannot say enough about that performance alone.
Watching a tall, lanky and young Barry Manilow singing “Mandy” and “It’s a Miracle” brings back plenty of memories, but that’s only the tip of the musical iceberg! There are performances by the Bay City Rollers, Glen Campbell, Charlie Daniels Band, Christopher Cross, Natalie Cole, Earth, Wind & Fire, Aretha Franklin, Gloria Gaynor, REO Speedwagon, Linda Rondstadt, Spinners, Donna Summer and Wild Cherry.
Mesmerizing is seeing Dolly Parton singing “Jolene” and her beautiful rendition of “I Will Always Love You”. The DVD also has bonus features such as interviews with George Benson, David Steinberg and creator Burt Sugarman, among many others. In total there is 274 minutes of performances and the 30 minute extras to remind us why we loved the ’70s!
TUBS OF POPCORN: I give “The Midnight Special” five tubs of popcorn out of five. There are memories in our lives that are brought out by music. This DVD managed to bring out every one of them for me. I had forgotten how much I loved waiting for “The Midnight Special,” especially if one of my favorite performers was playing. The thing is, they were all my favorite performers.
This DVD only touches briefly on all the performances throughout the years on “The Midnight Special,” but it is so worth owning. From crazy bell-bottoms to big hair styles to matching suits to risqué tops (like the one Aretha Franklin wore), it is fun to remember that’s how we all were in the ’70s. This is music, real music that had heart and soul to it!
Four hours of classic performances are here to share with family and friends who remember the ’70s music that made us sing, dance and even do the “bump.” That’s what music brings to each of us — fond memories of good times and good tunes.
In the end — in the words of Alice Cooper, “It’s a soundtrack for your life!”