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Mountain: Sea Of Fire
featuring: Leslie West, Corky Laing, and Richie Scarlet

producer: Steve Michelson

75 minutes (E) 2002
Wienerworld DVD Region 0 retail

RATING: 7/10
reviewed by Christopher Geary
American heavy metal band with a chequered history, formed by noted producer Felix Pappalardi in the late 1960s, Mountain have stuck - unapologetically - with the hard rocking traditions of Cream, Deep Purple and the later Rainbow - though without the fuss, and are presented here as a charismatic power trio, still fronted by singer/guitarist Leslie West, once famously described (by himself, of course!) as a "fat kid from Queens." With flyaway Brillo-pad hair, rose-tinted half-moon glasses, and a blue snakeskin jacket, the massive, almost hulking West (think of larger-than-life Meatloaf spliced into an oversized Dave Gilmour, but with the muted stage presence of Clapton) is, perhaps, the quintessential wrinkly rock star of the millennium.
   Playing the Mystic theatre in California, this gig was filmed on 9 August 2002, as part of their 'Sea of Fire' tour, and daringly opens with a prankster guitar solo, with audience participation (something West is very good at, and amusingly so). Creating an intimate, engaging atmosphere in the small venue, Mountain deliver loud, yet highly entertaining signature tunes, with virtuoso riffs and chords that have clearly influenced the likes of Rush. The plain fact of Mountain's existence and artistic status as a living clich´┐Ż does not actually detract from their appeal or diminish the quality of their musicianship. Songs included on this DVD: Blood Of The Sun, Yasgur's Farm (a Woodstock flashback) Crossroads, The Sea, Never In My Life, Mutant X (no connection to the derivative sci-fi TV show), Theme From An Imaginary Western (which sees West playing the 'five-tones' sequence from Close Encounters Of The Third Kind), the band's legendary Nantucket Sleighride (in it's original form, one of the longest rock songs ever recorded, yet somewhat mercifully shortened here, and West quips it's the first time they've managed to finish it), plus the equally famous Mississippi Queen.
   The DVD features a choice of Dolby digital 5.1 or DTS soundtracks, plus about 30 minutes of documentary material: Hall Of Fame appearance (drummer Corky Laing's book-signing), vintage footage and stills gallery in a scrapbook format, a mini-biopic of founder Pappalardi, backstage footage, Mountain at Woodstock, and even comments from the band's fans. There is also a multi-angle option that displays different camera views in split-screen effect, enabled by the DVD-9 format.
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