Thursday, November 13, 2003

Review - Live at the US Festival

Artist: Triumph

Posted on Thu, Nov 13, 2003 at 4:00 AM

Live at the US Festival
Label: TML Entertainment
Media: CD
Format: Album
WorkNameSort: Live at the US Festival

It took a while, but it was bound to happen. Twenty years after one of the most legendary rock concerts ever -- the 1983 US Festival -- some of the performances that made it so legendary are starting to leak out. After the success of the 1982 US Festival, organizer Steve Wozniak pulled out all the stops for the second -- and final -- year. There was "New Wave Saturday," with INXS, Oingo Boingo, The Clash (!) and others. And, more notably, there was "Heavy Metal Sunday," which, for all intents and purposes, formally put the world on notice that the '80s were going to be a hard-rockin' decade. Mötley Crüe (in the opening slot), Ozzy Osbourne, Judas Priest, Triumph, Scorpions and, most famously, Van Halen delivered a statement of intent nearly as powerful as the one delivered 15 years earlier at Monterey Pop. Triumph's is the first set from this legendary day to find legitimate release, and this CD/DVD package is a stunning reminder of how powerful the band was at the time and, sadly, how poorly history has treated them. It's important to remember that Ozzy, Mötley Crüe and Judas Priest were all put on the bill before these Canadian rockers, and their melodic but powerful rock was an integral part of any denim-clad kids diet back in the early '80s. (As is noted in the press materials, the group rocked a crowd of 55,000 at Orlando's Tangerine Bowl the day before the US Festival, headlining a bill that included Sammy Hagar and ZZ Top.) This set covers all the band's bases -- "Allied Forces," "Rock & Roll Machine," "When the Lights Go Down" -- and the CD sounds great. The DVD portion, however, is what shines. The idea of a half-million (yes, a half-million) rock fans gathered drunkenly in rock & roll bacchanal is nearly as halcyon as the peace and love espoused by the Woodstock generation. Now, two decades later, perhaps the historical record will start to reflect just that.



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