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The Big T.N.T. Show (1966).

April 13, 2007

The Scoop:
This great vintage concert film (the follow-up to the groundbreaking concert film “The T.A.M.I. Show”) features live performances by the likes of the Byrds, the Lovin’ Spoonful, Ike and Tina Turner, Ray Charles, and a host of other great stars.

The showstopper, though, is Bo Diddley’s blistering pre-Hendrix guitar noise, which reveals him as a true garage/punk pioneer. That sound is just as fresh today as it was all those years ago, even after Hendrix’s has begun to show its age. The only poor performance is the otherwise-talented Joan Baez’s dour rendition of “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling.” Complete with go-go dancers and Beatle-esque screaming teenage girls, this is a good glimpse at the touring rock revues of the ’60s. One of my favorite concert films.

Best Line:
“As some of you may know, I like to create my own music. It’s not exactly rock, and it’s not exactly folk. It’s more of a depressive jazz.” (Roger Miller, introducing his song “Engine #9.”)

Side Note:
Filmed at the Moulin Rouge club in Los Angeles. The building, on Sunset Boulevard, was originally opened in 1938 as the Earl Carroll Theater (home of “the most beautiful girls in the world”), and later in the ’60s became the Hullabaloo and then the Aquarius Theatre, which was the home of the Doors and the L.A. production of “Hair.” By the ’70s it was a televison and movie sound stage where a number of productions were shot (most notably “Star Search,” some concert scenes for “What’s Love Got to Do With It,” and several Nickelodeon shows). It has recently been sold to a private developer and is not being used.

Companion Viewing:
“The T.A.M.I. Show” (1965) and “That Thing You Do!” (1996).


Take a Look:
The trailer (check out Frank Zappa in the audience!):

Here’s Bo Diddley’s scorching performance. Two things (besides the music) stand out about it for me — one is the kickass group of backup singers (one of whom doubles as Bo’s rhythm guitarist), and the other is the lone group of black kids in the audience who are really feeling it, unlike the white kids who look bored waiting for Donovan to show up:

One last clip — this is Ike and Tina ripping it up to close the show:

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