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One thing that can be said about Guns N Roses, is that it was a shame they split up. It is also a shame they released The Spaghetti Incident but I won’t go there. As a fan of the band throughout their career, I was looking for some fond memories however was it more of a case of rose tinted spectacles?

Guns N' Roses Welcome to the Videos

The Film
This DVD features thirteen music videos from this bands varied career spanning the albums Appetite for Destruction, Lies, Use Your Illusion 1 & 2 and The Spaghetti Incident. A few tracks are left off which I would have liked to see including one of only two redeeming songs from their covers album, Ain’t it Fun. Quite surprising is the fact that You Could Be Mine is not here, being one of their biggest chart successes to date, but perhaps they do not own the rights to that video since it features footage from Terminator 2, as well as The Gonvernator himself. The track listing is as follows:

  • Welcome to the Jungle
  • Sweet Child O’Mine
  • Paradise City
  • Patience
  • Don’t Cry
  • Live and Let Die
  • November Rain
  • Yesterdays
  • The Garden
  • Dead Horse
  • Garden of Eden
  • Estranged
  • Since I Don’t Have You.

Of course this DVD had to open with Welcome to the Jungle and while the song is still excellent, the video is a little tragic with permed bouffon 80’s hair styles running their merry way over the heads of every band member. Sweet Child is much more normal than Jungle, and Paradise City is a compilation of footage of the band and several recordings from live gigs. So whether this is the original video (if one was even made) I am not sure. Patience and Don’t Cry will always be fantastic songs and GnR’s cover of Live and Let Die really opened their Illusions albums up to the masses. Don’t Cry is still excellent and November Rain is still the 10 minute version you rarely get to hear on the radio these days. I will never forget the French and Saunders rip off of this song and video. Laugh, I nearly died. The second half of the DVD starts to move into the more recent releases. A couple of songs I was not expecting to see (The Garden, Dead Horse and Garden of Eden) are then backed up by the fantastic Estranged and the cover, Since I Don’t Have You.

Guns N' Roses Welcome to the Videos

I was surprised how many are 'live' videos however it is a lot easier and cheaper to make a music video just using live footage of a band playing the song. It isn’t as bad as it sounds however as there is a lot of stuff going on, onscreen and the “story” videos are intermingled with the “live” ones at regular enough intervals to not give the impression of a lazily made DVD. There are a few songs I would have liked to see here including Ain’t It Fun, Rocket Queen,  Mr Brownstone, Knockin’ on Heavens Door and Used to Love Her amongst others however this is a really good trip down memory lane and even if not watching the videos, it is nice to listen to occasionally instead of a GnR album.

Video
The phrase I am looking for here is “lowest common denominator”. Each video as well as the DVD menus are presented in 4:3 which is not really surprising since even today, not many music videos are made in widescreen. Due to the nature of this DVD, each video is presented slightly differently and so it isn’t easy to give it an overall grade. The quality of the presentation does improve as the DVD progresses but even at its peak, it is nothing too fantastic. Colours are often accentuated with crazy lighting and poor lighting exposure during concerts and black levels range from nearly black (which is good) to grey (which is bad). Grain a plenty here however very few artefacts mean that each video was cleaned up before presentation too a degree. Certainly the presentation is adequate for the subject material.

Audio
A bit of a disappointment here in that it is nice to have the inclusion of high bit rate audio such as DTS and using a 5.1 speaker configuration to accentuate the sound is a good feature to have, but alas this disc is only presented with Dolby Digital 2.0. Not even PCM audio is available which seems odd as one would assume this is a free feature to add. It isn’t even CD quality to be honest which is a shame. I would have hoped for a little more in this department and while the presentation is relatively clean audio, since this is a music DVD more could have been done. I suppose given the limited market the entire budget was used to create what we have. An average audio track can’t take too much away from the quality music however!

Guns N' Roses Welcome to the Videos

Extras
There is a menu, and it is even animated. With computer graphics. The DVD believe it or not, came in a case too. Does that count? No, I don’t think so either.

Overall
A great trip down memory lane, with a few key missing tracks but that serves to remind of a time that was. Be it at school, college or University, the band had a great many unwashed student fans (as well as ‘hardcore rockers’) and it is to you who this DVD is aimed at. With this and two live DVDs also released it might be hard for a fan to decide where to spend that money and it boils down to what you want from your DVD. This is a half sized greatest hits, a compilation of singles, presented without talking in between, nor that feeling of a live gig however that isn’t what people always want to hear. No extras is a shame when there must be hundreds of interviews out there in the big wide media ether but certainly this DVD, if nothing else, does ROCK!


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