Later... with Jools Holland--Giants
is a collection of classic live performances from a decade of the late-night BBC music show. Everyone will have their favourites and, no doubt, differing opinions on what constitutes a musical "giant". What is indisputable here is the sheer volume and variety of artists and styles on offer. The 32 performers range from Pete Towshend to Blondie; Paul Weller to Willie Nelson; Leonard Cohen to Jeff Beck; Page and Plant to Ronnie Spector and the Divine Comedy. The acts vary in quality--Brian Ferry's posturing, staccato rendition of "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?" and Georgie Fame's futile, asthmatic efforts to keep up with the beat on "Yeh! Yeh!" are notable low points--but thankfully the few weaker moments are more than compensated for by tour de force
performances from the likes of Al Green, REM, Tony Bennett, Dusty Springfield and George Benson. Your enjoyment will obviously depend on a desire to see these greats play, but where else are you going to get both Robbie Williams belting out an impromptu performance of "Suspicious Minds" and
Solomon Burke singing "Cry to Me" from an enormous golden throne?
On the DVD: Later... with Jools Holland--Giants comes with a desirable selection of interviews with 10 of the featured performers. Sadly, they are tantalisingly short--never longer than three minutes, some little more than a minute--and never stretch beyond Holland's stock questions or brief, if entertaining, anecdotes. Also included are: a "playlist" feature, which allows you to select six of your favourite tracks and play them in an order of your choice, normal track selection, subtitles and a credit list. --Paul Philpott