Ike & Tina
On the Road 1971-72
BluesWax Rating: 5 out of 10
On The Road, Onstage, and Behind The Scenes
With this release of Ike & Tina: On The Road 1971-72 fans are offered an opportunity to behind-the-scenes views of the band at near or at the peak of their popularity. It was filmed by the noteworthy rock photographer Bob Gruen and his wife Nadya while they were on tour with the Turners, plus there are somewhat interesting off-stage segments. So, in addition to some nineteen Ike & Tina (edited and for the most part incomplete) performances, we also get a glimpse of the group at work in the recording studio. We see Tina and the Ikettes practicing their on-stage antics and get inside Ike & Tina’s house where we find Tina cooking dinner and horsing around with her kids. The audio is pretty rough and (the mostly black and white) video is even worse. The DVD weighs in at eighty-one minutes. There aren’t any bonus tracks or special features, other than playing the complete movie, chapters listing, and a pretty okay slideshow of still shots.
I enjoyed seeing the Turners’ perform and being interviewed on Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show. During this interview Tina looks natural and does all the talking, but Ike just sits there. Carson asks, “Do you want to hold it down Ike?” It’s a pretty funny moment that’s more about Carson than the Turners, but it’s pretty cool to see. There is also a strong blues (and complete) performance of “I Smell Trouble” with stinging Ike guitar licks, and Tina vocally nails it (in a short-short micro mini skirt) too. It’s by far the best segment included here. But even though a lot of the performances are passionate and exciting they are not very enjoyable because of the quality of the audio. I could excuse the video but felt that a majority of these performances were better left unseen, especially the closing and somewhat erotic “I Want To Take You Higher.”
Even though this video shows rare off-stage segments, Ike & Tina On the Road is tedious to watch and it’s just too much and too long to sit through. On a positive note I never noticed any odd or weird tensions between Ike and Tina. That being said, at best this is a one-time viewing, with not enough quality sounding audio and video on-stage performances that might have fared better if they were complete instead of edited-down tunes. The herky-jerky editing from off stage moments shifting back and forth to the on-stage tunes could have transitioned smoother too. But perhaps Gruen says it best: “If the movie What’s Love Got To Do With It shows why Ike and Tina Turner broke up, but Ike & Tina: On The Road: 1971-72 shows why Ike and Tina were together for twenty years before that.” So for those who want to know more about the Turner’s family life this DVD could work for you, yours truly did not have the tolerance to endure and found this video mostly boring. Long story short, this DVD is for Ike & Tina fanatics only.
Bob Putignano is a senior contributing editor at BluesWax, a contributing writer at Blues Revue, and the heart and soul of SoundsofBlue.
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