May 1, 2003

Ronnie Wood
Far East man
This DVD is kind of a career retrospective for a man who has grown to look and sound a little too much like his Rolling Stones bandmate Keith Richards. Here, Wood tackles material from his latest solo album (Not For Beginners), his Stones career, some unusual covers (including John Lennon’s “Jealous Guy” and Parliament’s “Testify”), and a Faces moment (“Stay With Me”). He also brings Slash on stage for much of the proceedings (the be-hatted one digs into a marvelous instrumental version of Guns N’ Roses’ “Paradise City”), and joins the Corrs’ beautiful Andrea Corr for some harmonizing. The friends and family affair is further expanded by the addition of his son, his daughter, and “Uncle Vinnie” to the band.

The performances are as rough and ragged as you’d imagine, and, depending on your allegiance to Woody, the song selection will either be inspired or so-so. However, his version of “Far East Man”—a tune he co-wrote with the late George Harrison—includes some evocative and touching slide work.

The rest of the package is just okay. You don’t get 5.1 surround (the soundtrack is a very well-mixed stereo format), the backstage footage is rambling and boring (although, unless you’re Marilyn Manson, I guess all backstage “events” are numbingly boring), and a gallery of the Woodster’s rather primitive paintings and drawings certainly won’t make you an art fan. But, let’s face it, this is a release for stone Woody fans, and, as a document of the man and his music, Far East Man will not disappoint the faithful. Chipster/SPV.

—Michael Molendag    

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