Music Blu-ray Review: What's Going On: Taste - Live at the Isle of Wight 1970

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Any lover of classic blues rock who isn't already familiar with the late Rory Gallagher and his band Taste is in for a true treat with What's Going On: Taste - Live at the Isle of Wight 1970. Come to think of it, anyone who is familiar with Taste is likely to be even more excited by this release. Newly available on Blu-ray via Eagle Rock Entertainment (a DVD edition is out, too), What's Going On (named after one of Taste's songs) serves the dual purpose of offering a documentary charting the brief history of this relatively obscure Irish band and also presenting their entire set from 1970's Isle of Wight Festival.

The band (which guitarist/vocalist Gallagher founded in 1966) didn't last long after their performance at that legendary festival. They broke up in late 1970. Gallagher continued on as a solo artist, making music until his untimely death in 1995 at age 47. The documentary puts Taste, which was far better known in the UK, in context with the blues rock scene of that era. A case is made for Gallagher's influence as a blues rock guitarist, all while allowing us to also see some of his multi-instrumentalist skills including his very adept saxophone playing. Gallagher is compared by some of the doc's participants (which includes such luminaries as Bob Geldof, Queen's Brian May, U2's The Edge, and jazz guitarist Larry Coryell) as being a sort of UK-equivalent of Jimi Hendrix when it came to innovative blues guitar playing.

The concert itself, which is presented in full as a separate 55-minute program, offers blistering evidence of why Taste was on the same bill as the like of Hendrix, The Who, The Doors, and many other better-known acts (a lot of lesser-known ones, too) during the Isle of Wight Fest. Taste performed their eight-song set on the third day of the five-day marathon, attended by an estimated 600,000 people. The original 16mm film footage has been remastered and looks pretty astounding in high definition. The documentary is 1.78:1, while the concert-only option offers the full-frame 16mm. Audio is offered in DTS-HD MA 5.1 and LPCM 2.0 stereo.

Bonus features include: a 16-minute live performance from German TV series Beat Club and three "conceptual music videos" (for "I'll Remember," "What's Going On," and "Born on the Wrong Side of Time." It's not only a great release for fans of Rory Gallagher and Taste, but also a great introduction to a band that deserves more recognition.

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Chaz Lipp writes for The Morton Report.

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