Blu-ray Review: T.A.M.I. Show / The Big TNT Show (Collector’s Edition)

Plenty of people believed rock and roll would not last. The industry feared Elvis Presley would be forgotten by the time his two year tour in the Army ended. When the Beatles came and conquered America, their press conferences were peppered with questions about what were they going to do when this all comes to an end. Rock was just a phase like Ragtime, the Charleston and World War I bring peace to Europe. At the same time, everyone wanted to cash in on the rock craze while it lasted. Movies wanted to cash in on the craze, but it takes time to shoot, edit and distribute a film. Nobody wanted to roll film the hot new band only to discover them discarded by the kids when the movie opened. Who wants to see a song that was hot nearly 8 months later? Rock and roll seemed more of a television event with live variety shows like Ed Sullivan booking bands as they rise in the Billboard charts. T.A.M.I. Show changed came up with a solution to insure seeing a rock band in a movie theater wasn’t a nostalgia event. Now it and the follow up concert event are out on Blu-ray with T.A.M.I. Show / The Big TNT Show: Collector’s Edition.

T.A.M.I. stands for either Teen Age Music International or Teenage Awards Music International. Ultimately what it stands for is meaningless compared to who performs on the stage. This is a rock and roll heaven line-up for the end of 1964. The kids that packed the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium for two shows were treated to what must have given rise to the concepts of Monterey Pop and Woodstock. The show starts off with the musical pioneer Chuck Berry swapping songs with early British invasion act Gerry and the Pacemakers. Motown gets its time as The Miracles with Smokey Robinson and Marvin Gaye layout their sweet soul sounds. The Supremes with Diana Ross remind us that there were female singing trios before Destiny’s Child. Lesley Gore picks up the party feel with “It’s My Party” and a few more big tunes. Jan and Dean perform a few of their hits that were co-written with Brian Wilson. Then the Beach Boys take the stage to ride the California surf sound. James Brown amps things up with “Out of Sight” and “Night Train.” While that would be enough of a line-up for an amazing night, T.A.M.I, keeps the night going with The Rolling Stones.

The stage was filled with talent such as Toni Basil and Terri Garr as dancers. Members of the Wrecking Crew as the main band including Jack Nitzsche, drummer Hal Blaine, guitarist Glen Campbell, upright bassist Lyle Ritz and pianist Leon Russell. Director John Landis and actor David Cassidy were in the crowd. It was an amazing show. How did such a concert get made into a movie and remain fresh? It was shot on film. Bill Sargent’s “Electronovision” was a higher definition that TV. The concert was videotaped so that the editing process could be done quickly and then a kinescope was made on film. This step saved weeks that would have been spent carefully editing film from the various cameras and sound synching. This is how a show that took place at the end of October was in the theaters by the end of December. The film was a major hit although for the longest time, the Beach Boys segment was missing from it.

The Big T.N.T. Show was the follow up the next year. The producers did a wise movie of hiring Phil Spector to put the music together. Phil was still a musical genius at that point and not a convicted killer. Things start off right with Ray Charles belting out “What’d I Say.” The Lovin’ Spoonful rock the autoharp with “Do You Believe in Magic.” Bo Diddley brings his beat on “Hey Bo Diddley” and “Bo Diddley.” Joan Baez gets Phil to join her on the piano for “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling.” The Byrds go folk rock with “Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is a Season)” and “Mr. Tambourine Man.” Donovan gets trippy. The Ike & Tina Turner Revue shut things down with their dynamic sound and moves. Conducting the orchestra is David McCallum of Man From U.N.C.L.E and NCIS. Be sure to spot Frank Zappa in the crowd. The film wasn’t a hit when released. Why? The roster is impressive, but not quite as explosive as T.A.M.I.. Also the concert was record a month before it was released so there was little time to build a buzz. Both movies are essential viewing for fans of rock and roll that knew this music would last longer than Doo-wop.

The video is 1.85:1 anamorphic for both films. Since both were shot on a video system before being captured on 35mm film, there’s a bit softness to image. The audio is DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 mono for both films. Things sound good for the times. The music is performed live.

Audio Commentary with Director Steve Binder has him discuss everything that went into putting on the T.A.M.I. Show. He would go on to director Elvis’ comeback special. and Music Historian Don Waller is a must listen from any number of standpoints, including the technical data on the shoot as well as fantastic anecdotes about the performers.

Interview with Director Steve Binder (12:36) gets into his general career as well as his relationship with Bill Sargent and involvement with this production.

Original T.A.M.I. Show Radio Spots are four clips that got to kids to see their favorite groups.

Original Trailer (3:38) gets you pumped up for the show.

Trailers from Hell (4:13) has John Landis talk about the movie which is great since he was in the audience.

Interviews (27:11) catches up with performers for T.N.T.including Petula Clark, John Sebastian and Henry Diltz.

The Big T.N.T. Show – An Eclectic Mix (8:26) has Clark, Sebastian and Diltz discuss the various musical genres that took part in the evening..

Trailer (3:02) lets the T.N.T. go boom.

Shout! Factory presents T.A.M.I. Show / The Big TNT Show: Collector’s Edition. Starring: James Brown, Mick Jagger, Brian Wilson and Tina Turner. Boxset Contents: 2 Movies on 2 Blu-ray discs. Rated: Unrated. Released: December 2, 2016.

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