Bob Gruen (director)
MVD Visual (studio)
90 min approx. (length)
14 January 2013 (released)
22 January 2013
This is a rare and fascinating insight into the touring- as well as the private life of one of the most iconic musical acts ever.
As the title suggests, Ike & Tina on the Road is exactly about that, plus a little extra footage thrown in.
Rewind to the early 70’s, when legendary rock photographer Bob Gruen and his wife, Nadya, toured with Ike and Tina Turner – filming them behind the scenes and performing on the road.
The resulting footage is now available – for the first time ever – to the public. Shot partly in b/w and partly in colour, we get to see stonking renditions of the band’s best-loved songs, as well as glimpses backstage, plus Ike and Tina at home. Also incorporated are snippets from talk show appearances like The Johnny Carson Show.
There’s Tina buzzing about in the kitchen preparing dinner for her kids, and there’s Tina without wearing one of her wigs (bet you want to know what her real hair looks like, right?). Equally cool is footage of Ike in the recording studio, and Tina and the Ikettes practising dance routines in the dressing room - in between applying their make-up, munching on sandwiches, and sorting out stage outfits. You’d swear a schedule like that would take its toll, but the entire band and entourage comes across as good-natured and in great spirits. So good-natured in fact, there’s always energy left for goofing around at airports and indulging in a little wheelchair racing while waiting for check-in. Most surprisingly (given his later status as a wife-beater) some tender moments between Ike and Tina roll across our eyes. Really, one wonders whether this is the same man who violently knocked his wife about.
Then there are the live performances, and they truly burst with groove and energy. In particular Tina’s dancing – followed by the Ikettes – is jaw-dropping. What a hot mama, what a sexy mover! Not to be completely upstaged, Ike seduces with his impeccable instrumental skills.
A total of 19 songs feature throughout the 90min. DVD, amongst them ‘River Deep, Mountain High’, ‘Shake A Tail Feather’, Gulf Coast Blues, ‘I Want To Take You Higher’, and an awesome rendition of ‘Proud Mary’ (the couple won a Grammy Award for the song!). So much for plus points!
Now for the lower points: while the concert footage is of reasonable quality (just about), the home footage (as well as interviews/conversation) tend to suffer as far as audio clarity is concerned – making it quite difficult to understand what’s being said. The often wonky b/w footage fares worse in the quality stakes than the colour footage. Still, one mustn’t forget that all was recorded with a portable video recorder, and speaking in technical terms, we are talking the early 70’s.
This DVD should appeal to all you Ike & Tina fans out there, albeit purely for reasons of getting to see some early and rare footage. As a bonus feature, the disc offers an insightful slide show.