The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

Hanoi Rocks

Buried Alive

What can you say about Hanoi Rocks that hasn’t been said before? As the blueprint for the late eighties Sunset Strip ‘Hair’ and ‘Sleaze’ scenes you are either eternally grateful to them or curse the day they discovered aquanet.

Hanoi Rocks called it a day for the second time in 2009; and this time it’s for good, with both Mike and Andy looking at new projects and the rest of the band including ex-Electric Boy Conny Bloom, going their own ways too.

As someone who has been along for the ride almost since the beginning (well at least since reading about them in Sounds magazine in the UK in 1983) it’s sad to see them split. This DVD ended up being my favourite Christmas present and is a pretty conclusive footnote on the legacy. Beautifully filmed in a small sweaty club in front of a crowd that is surprisingly young, there’s also an added photo gallery and short behind the scenes video footage, but really far fewer extras than I would have liked!

Filmed at their last ever gig at the Tavastia Club in Helsinki, a venue very much a part of the bands history the DVD is a pretty slick affair. Though I had expected a little more from the packaging which is a simple digipak with no notes or anything special. However that is about the only fault to be fair.

What you get here is 138 minutes of Hanoi Rocks kicking it live one last time. That’s 32 songs that span the band’s entire career. There’s stuff for the diehards from the first few albums, tracks from the Bob Ezrin produced ‘Two Steps From the Move’ which could have been their big breakthrough, and plenty from their later releases, oh and even a few covers thrown in.

Things start off in fine fettle with a stomping rendition of ‘Tragedy’ one of their classics. Its four songs in that we get to hear the first ‘new’ Hanoi song ‘Street Poetry’ and to be honest even though I loved the later albums I still don’t think they are a patch on the earlier stuff. There’s nothing wrong with them, and the song-writing is great, but to some degree they are just great hard rock songs, something of the spark that made early Hanoi so unique is missing. But it’s really only when you put the newer songs up against the rawer tracks from the old days like ‘Beer and a Cigarette’ or ‘Taxi Driver’ that it hits home. That I guess is always the curse of being a long term fan of any band.

It’s hard to pick out highlights, but obviously the onstage appearance for the encores of original band member Nasty Suicide is great to see, just a shame Sami Yaffa couldn’t have made it, or even Gyp! The pairing of ‘Don’t You Ever Leave Me’ Hanoi’s greatest ballad and ‘11th Street Kids’ is particularly meaningful for me remembering where it all started and how many years of great memories I have of this band. From then on it’s a sheer pleasure though sitting at 138 minutes as it does it’s a pretty exhausting party!

Watching the DVD for the first time made me wish I had seen Hanoi on that final tour, but like most of us my finances don’t stretch quite that far, though I came close. I’m just glad I did get to see them in their prime.

For a casual fan this is a great document of a great band and pretty much tells the story. To a diehard it is simply essential. I know you’ll enjoy this a lot.