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The Call: A Tribute to Michael Been featuring Robert Levon Been of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club (DVD/CD)

Releasing seven studio albums between 1982 and 1990, Santa Cruz, California four-piece The Call were seen by many as America's answer to U2, a similarity in style and lyrical content often suggested. However the four-piece went into hiatus after the Red Moon album in '90, before a comeback seven years later with To Heaven And Back proved to be their swansong. The band's lead singer and bass player Michael Been remained active in the music scene, heavily involved with his son, Robert Levon Been and his band Black Rebel Motorcycle Club until Michael's untimely death in 2010.

Fans of the band, quite obviously, believed that was the end of The Call and indeed that was the case until 2013, when Robert stepped into his father's shoes to join Jim Goodwin (keyboards), Tom Ferrier (guitar) and Scott Musick (drums) on stage to relive the best moments of The Call in front of some of the band's hardened followers. The show in question took place on April 19th 2013 at The Troubadour and it was recorded and filmed for this live document which fans of the band will find indispensible. Robert does his father proud, not only singing the songs with passion and precision, but sporting his father's fretless bass as he does so. Goodwin, Ferrier and Musick aren't overshadowed one jot though, the easy yet forceful vibe of the songs hitting with a memorable impact that makes "The Walls Came Down", "You Run" and "Into The Woods" as relevant to today's world as they were when the hard-hitting lyrics were written all those years ago.

The Troubadour itself is a small club and as such, the filming of the show is straight forward and yet the clever use of light and interesting camera angles keeps the visuals flowing, as the sound remains perfect throughout. All of which allows the DVD portion of this set to hit just that little bit harder than its CD counterpart. Levon Been while obviously finding the occasion an emotional one keeps things in check, never relaying purely on his heritage to pull the songs together, instead it's clear he's worked hard to make sure his performance is everything it should be. Something he deserves huge credit for. For those who've never heard The Call before, the U2 comparisons are a decent touching point, while comparisons with Simple Minds and even a hint of Big Country are also fair suggestions and yet the sounds remains resolutely American, even with those UK inspirations.

Add in some nice little extras - interviews with Levon Been and Ferrier, pre and post show chats with audience members and a bonus set of four songs not from the main set and this unexpected addition to The Call catalogue is one fans will adore. However it's also one which newcomers will be immediately taken with and want to explore further because of, which in less skilled hands wouldn't have been the case.
Enjoyable from start to finish this DVD/CD set is a fitting tribute to a musician taken from us way too soon.

Track Listing
1. Everywhere I Go
2. I Still Believe
3. I Don't Wanna
4. Floating Back
5. Into The Woods
6. Turn A Blind Eye
7. Oklahoma
8. You Were There
9. Red Moon
10. Let The Day Begin
11. Modern Romans
12. You Run
13. The Walls Come Down
14. Uncovered

Added: December 27th 2014
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: The Call online
Hits: 2658
Language: english

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» Reader Comments:

The Call: A Tribute to Michael Been featuring Robert Levon Been of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club (DVD/CD)
Posted by Ken Drew on 2015-01-01 16:28:19
My Score:

For readers information, the album can be found at various places right now for a great deal.

The $5 Amazon download:

Download the video via iTunes:

Download the audio via iTunes:

Buy the CD via Amazon:

The Call: A Tribute to Michael Been featuring Robert Levon Been of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club (DVD/CD)
Posted by Jim Goodwin on 2014-12-29 00:20:13
My Score:

I'd like to thank Sea of Tranquility and the writer, who's name I can't find, for this inspiring review. Your insight into the effort that Robert Been put into this project is exactly right. It was an amazing display of talent, commitment, devotion, and love. For myself, Scott, and Tom all we had to do was play the songs one more time which was easy because we had spent 20 plus years not playing them, so they were infused with fresh interest. For myself, to witness a son perform a tribute to his father such as this was deeply moving. And it was the first time my two kids (19 and 21) witnessed me performing on stage with any band. The concepts of time, life cycle, renewal, birth and death swirled about me on the stage that night, and the detail with which Robert reproduced his father's parts and his likeness to his father visually made me question what year it was. Time never seemed so much like an illusion as it did that night, and it passed like a dream in an altered reality. It was fantastic. I am so happy to hear that some of the magic of that night made it into the film and is shared by some of those who watch it. Thank you for taking the time to review our project.
Jim Goodwin

2004 Sea Of Tranquility
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