The concert film "The Motels Live At The Whisky A Go Go," which Vesuvio Entertainment released on DVD and Blu-Ray on November 6 2015, is a terrific celebration of the '80s; both the band and the venue are genuine icons of that era. The fact that the January 17, 2014 date of that concert is both the 50th anniversary of the Los Angeles club and the 63rd anniversary of the birth of Motels lead singer/driving force Martha Davis is further proof of the kismet regarding that group playing that night.
The following YouTube clip of the promo. for "Motels" nicely conveys the fun and excitement of the event.
The retro fun begins with actress Rosanna Arquette recapping the history, which includes go go girls in cages and the unfettered The Doors being the house band, of the club. Musician Linda Perry then takes over by discussing Davis being a female pioneer breaking into the male-dominated rock world.
It is equally nice to see a simple stage with multi-colored lights as the only enhancements. This is a good reminder of days when the music, rather than elaborate video displays and blinding pyrotechnics, was the main attraction at a concert.
Davis stays true to the music being the thing in not flying in, descending a massive staircase flanked by shirtless male dancers , or otherwise making a grand entrance. She simply calmly walks to the microphone accompanied by the band.
Seeing Davis clad in a fedora-style hat, long scarf, and black duster coat both enhances the '80s vibe and evokes thoughts of the Tom Baker portrayal of The Doctor in "Doctor Who."
The below photos allow you to be the judge.
Davis opens the show with the not-so-well-known tune "Party Professionals" and then moves onto the hit "Where Do We Go From Here." We further get treated to the mega-hit "Suddenly Last Summer" and the literal show stopper "Only the Lonely" mixed in with a handful of other tunes. The ballad "Mr. Grey" is one of the more subdued numbers.
Davis sounding the same to these untrained ears as she did 30 years ago is a nice surprise. She further shows an awesome sense of humor in responding to a request to take off her blouse with "Do you know what birthday this is?"
The awesome special features include a roughly two-minute video of surprising a 30-year fan with a meeting with Davis and a round table discussion with the original Motels. The latter kicks off with a fun discussion, including reminiscing about a rickety staircase, of playing The Whisky A Go Go back in the day.
The best context in which to understand the special nature of the concert and this record of that memorable night is to try to image if seeing a boy band or other pop sensation of today returning to play "where it all started" for that group or performer 30 years from now would be exciting.
Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Motels" is encouraged to either email me or to connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.