Shout! Factory // 1983 // 65 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Daryl Loomis // November 13th, 2011
Are you sure Hank done it this way?
In 1982 and 1983, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak sponsored a pair of incredible three day concert extravaganzas in San Bernadino, CA, called the US Festival that brought acts from all different genres together on one stage in front of hundreds of thousands of onlookers. June 4, 1983 was dubbed Country Day at the US Festival and, at sundown, Waylon Jennings, one of the greatest country artists to ever pick up a guitar, took the stage to bring the house down. This 22 song set is captured in full on this DVD from Shout! Factory that any self-respecting country fan should own.
Waylon hits all his marks on Waylon Jennings: Live at the US Festival, playing many of his most famous songs, including "Amanda," "I've Always Been Crazy," "Rainy Day Woman," "Honkey Tonk Heroes," and the theme from The Dukes of Hazzard. His wife, Jessi Coulter, comes in for a great version of "Storms Never Last." One of my favorite country songs, "Mental Revenge," gets a fantastic rendition and, just on that basis, I support this disc. His band is great, as always, and features one of the all-time great steel guitar players in Ralph Mooney, who played with everyone who was anyone in the genre. Country music has been populated by plenty of fools and posers over the years, but Waylon Jennings was the real deal and proves over these sixty minutes.
Shout! Factory has announced plans to release a series of concert DVDs from the US Festival, and Waylon Jennings: Live at the US Festival rightly comes first. It's not a great disc, but for a nearly three decade old live event, it's a completely decent disc. The image looks as good as I could expect, with a solid transfer and good colors. There are some defects in the original video, but it's surprisingly clear for its age. The stereo sound mix is fairly good, as well; not as powerful as I might have wanted, but still an acceptable, mostly noise-free track. The one extra is a brief pre-show interview with Waylon for a local public access program. The interviewer doesn't know what he's doing and Waylon seems drunk or high, so it's not going to give you any real insight, but it's fun to watch anyway.
Waylon Jennings was one of the true great ones and, though this is the coke-addled '80s, he shows exactly why during this concert. The performance is great, his voice sounds solid, and the songs are fantastic. Waylon Jennings: Live at the US Festival is a must-own for country fans, and I can't wait to see a few more of the sets from this festival.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Shout! Factory
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (English)
Running Time: 65 Minutes
Release Year: 1983
MPAA Rating: Not Rated