Intro

In support to his world tour and television program that begins airing this fall on IFC, world famous musician and performer Henry Rollins releases a two disc set that becomes an instant must own for fans and something to check out if you’re not already.

Story

On this two disc set, Henry Rollins releases two performances for fans to enjoy. On the CD, fans are treated to a spoken word performance recorded live from two performances in San Francisco and Amsterdam. On this disc, Henry treats the audience to stories that range from his experiences with children to alligator attacks and even goes a little political with shots at both President Bush, some of his policies and how Van Halen fans can help us win the war in Iraq.

The second disc is a DVD release of Henry performing from London in 1999 which features him telling stories about a visit to Thailand while on tour to his first nude scene in a movie. This performance was originally released to Comedy Central as a special and is now here for fans to revisit.

Good and the Bad

To review this release is to review it in two parts so bare with me here if this review gets a little wordy. I am going to start with my review of the DVD portion of this release which was filmed in London over two nights and released as a Comedy Central  special in 1999. I remembered viewing this special a few years ago when it was first released and laughing hysterically. It was the first time that I became familiar with Henry Rollins and I always remembered him because I thought it was ironic that I wasn’t even familiar with his music until a few years later.

Putting this DVD in I was set to enjoy the comedy that I remembered and found that while I had forgotten most of the material that he covers during this performance, the laughs were still ever present. Henry Rollins turns in a great performance on this release telling stories from his childhood all the way into his adulthood.

While his style and choice of words fall onto the crass side, what’s fun about Henry’s style of comedy is that he’s a storyteller. Rarely will he express one of his own personal opinions and instead just lets the comedy of his stories come through making his comedy much more approachable to a general audience. Despite Henry’s resume in heavy metal music, his stories will still be enjoyable to most audiences who don’t mind the subject matter going a little blue.

As for the CD portion of this release, the laughs were ever present though I did find that the story he opens the album with regarding sexual education pushed some of my boundries. Not so much because the story itself was dirty (though believe me, it is) but more because the people that he talks about in this opening story are so monumentally stupid and misinformed that their exploits might make your head hurt.

The largest difference I noticed between the DVD performance and the CD performance is that over the years Henry added more political material to his stories and expresses some liberal views. While I have absolutely no issue with his views, I did think that the points he makes in the first story didn’t really need to be inserted and the story wouldn’t have suffered without them. Later in the album when Rollins takes shots at President Bush’s speaking errors and Senator Larry Craig’s bathroom exploits, he is able to tell his stories and express his views without making them feel like they were inserted just for the sake of having them there. Instead his views in these stories are part of the story instead of one of his occasional non sequitur.

Overall

Fans are in for a treat with this release as Rollins delivers a strong performance on both discs that had me laughing all the way through. His self effacing humor is a really refreshing change of pace from the typical comic or musician who refuses to let his macho persona be damaged and allows the fans to laugh along with him as he shares some of his stories about being an awkward teenager. While there is definitely a part of the audience who are going to be turned off by the strong language and sometimes vulgar material, the stories and jokes rarely crossed lines that I felt went too far. After you get through that though, you’re going to find a great addition to any comedy fans collection!

Final Grade: 85% – B

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