Eagle Rock Entertainment // 2008 // 129 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Adam Arseneau (Retired) // July 9th, 2009
The cover of Ted Nugent: Motor City Mayhem (Blu-ray) should tell you everything you need to know about this Blu-Ray concert disc. Ted Nugent is playing his guitar like a gigantic penis, and a naked lady is coming out of a patriotic cake on Independence Day. It is an eponymous image; a perfect summation of all things Nugent. It also perfectly summarizes why Ted Nugent fans worship the ground that he walks and hunts on, and detractors want to see him shot into space without an oxygen tank.
Returning to his hometown for his 6,000th concert performance, the controversial and unapologetic Ted Nugent brings his patented mayhem and rock destruction upon the DTE Energy Music Theater on July 4, 2008. Joining him are Derek St. Holmes, the original vocalist for the Ted Nugent Band, Ted's guitar teacher from back in the 1950s and Johnny Bee Bdanjek. Ted Nugent: Motor City Mayhem (Blu-ray) contains the following songs:
* Ted Nugent Intro
* "Star Spangled Banner"
* "Motor City Madhouse"
* "Wango Tango"
* "Free For All"
* "Stormtroopin' "
* "Dog Eat Dog"
* "Need You Bad"
* "Weekend Warrior"
* "Love Grenade"
* "Honky Tonk" (with Joe Podorsek)
* "Wang Dang Sweet Poontang"
* "Bo Diddley" / "Lay With Me"
* "Baby Please Don't Go"
* "Geronimo And Me"
* "Jenny Take A Ride" (with Johnny "Bee" Badanjek)
* "Soul Man"
* "Hey Baby" (with Derek St. Holmes)
* "Cat Scratch Fever" (with Derek St. Holmes)
* "Stranglehold" (with Derek St. Holmes)
* "Great White Buffalo"
* "Fred Bear"
Whether you consider yourself a fan of The Nuge or not largely depend on a few criteria, including preference for pickup trucks, shooting live animals via archery, lighting things on fire, and championing the right to own surface-to-air missile launchers, to name a few. Unabashedly conservative, Nugent is a force of right-winged rock-and-roll fury, and his inability to shut his gob inevitably (and constantly) lands him into trouble any time he is in earshot of a microphone, be it held by a reporter or strapped to his face at a concert. You name the advocacy group, they hate Ted Nugent: animal rights, women's rights, Democrats, gays, and on and on. Except the NRA -- they absolutely adore him. Nugent is a walking caricature of Redneck America. In the world of The Nuge, all girls would be topless, all guys would carry machine guns, and every other country on Earth would be a large radioactive smear of ash. To summarize: Ted Nugent is a dick, but he wouldn't have it any other way.
For many, it is hard to be a fan of Ted Nugent as a man, but much easier to be in awe of him as a legendary figure in popular culture. Whether you agree with his near-constant verbal diarrhea of conservative political and social views (and most will not) it is hard not to admire the hell out of someone so unapologetic and forthcoming about his freedoms and rights, of someone so joyously embracing the American notion of independence -- even to levels of lunacy. He may be so ideologically on the other end of your radar as to shatter the screen entirely, but he puts his money where his mouth is. He hunts anything that moves, but takes great pride in killing and eating what he catches. He is extremely anti-drug and anti-alcohol, advocating a sober lifestyle and tirelessly performs philanthropic work and charity for underprivileged inner-city youths. And after 30 million albums sold and constant touring since 1967, you have to admire his tenacity and pluck. The dude is an American institution, and you'll never see a senior citizen with so much piss and fire in your life.
As for his 6,000th show, I expect it is little different from any other Nugent concert -- lots of archery and scantily clad women, lots of conversations referring to himself as "Uncle Ted," endless praise to Americans serving in the military, patriotic banter, pro-NRA rhetoric and lots of rock. For a sixty-year-old man, The Nuge can still deliver. His guitar-playing is frenetic and blistered, ravaging out solo after solo while singing into his wireless microphone, and his vocals are still on point. His antics and constant outpouring of controversy often outshine his raw musical talent, of which he has a metric ton. You wouldn't know it by looking at his song titles, like "Wang Dang Sweet Poontang" and "Love Grenade," but the dude has serious chops and boundless energy, like a toothless hillbilly version of Bruce Springsteen rocking endlessly until the audience cries Uncle (Ted, to be exact). Unexpectedly, there is minimum of controversial banter here, but perhaps it simply got left on the editing room floor. Fans should enjoy the long set list, but for the casual listener waiting for "Cat Scratch Fever," the lack of variety might start to wear down the ears. His songs are straightforward rock, and it all sort of blends in together after a while.
As Eagle Rock transfers go (especially Blu-Ray ones), the technical elements of this disc are underwhelming. The 1080i presentation has muted color palates and a natural look with little in the way of processing or touch-ups. The stage is simple and free from complex effects or pyrotechnics save for the aforementioned naked lady in a cake. The venue is a peculiar-looking mix of outdoor seating and covered stage, and the overcast day makes hell of lighting levels, which seem to be completely random, alternating between heavy shadow in one angle and brightness in another. The image is soft and lacking the crisp fidelity one expects from a HD concert. At times, you can see small details like sweat and hair follicles, but most of the time you are squinting through unexpected graininess and judder.
The audio suffers its own peculiarities as well. The LPCM Stereo track, beyond all rational is the best-sounding of the bunch, offering a beefy and clean sonic experience with excellent balance and clarity. The 5.1 Dolby Digital track is weak and effeminate, barely worth noting. One expects the DTS HD Master Audio to be the crème de la crème track, but it lacks the oomph of the LPCM track. It is well-rounded and very natural sounding, but mixed quite differently; drums are more paper-thin and bass is noticeably smoother. It will boil down to preference, but I liked the sound of the stereo best.
As for supplements, forget it -- this disc is as bare as they come, which is awfully disappointing when you consider the higher price point of a Blu-Ray title. Toss us a trailer or something, c'mon.
A mediocre technical presentation and a complete lack of supplements will probably not deter fans of the Motor City Madman to snatch this title up and add it to their collection. For everyone else, there honestly isn't much here to turn you into a fan of The Nuge. It is a good concert, all told, but nothing compared to footage of the man from twenty or thirty years ago. Ted Nugent: Motor City Mayhem (Blu-ray) will probably end up a rental title for most.
Ted Nugent may be guilty of many things, but he still does rock. You gotta give him that. Not guilty.
Review content copyright © 2009 Adam Arseneau; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Eagle Rock Entertainment
* 1.78:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)
* DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio (English)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* PCM 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 129 Minutes
Release Year: 2008
MPAA Rating: Not Rated