Samhain – Live 1984 DVD
Music Video Distributors
While there is plenty of Misfits and Samhain related “product”, the one thing there is a definite lack of on both fronts is any kind of official live videos. I guess you can chalk it up to being in the 1980s and video cameras were a rather pricey luxury. Lucky for the world of punk rock that people like Target Video and Flipside had the good sense to invest in some video equipment and document some of these great bands.
This is one of only two officially released Samhain videos (the other being included in the Samhain box set) and while it isn’t without its faults, it is a pretty nice little document of the band in their earlier years. This was recorded by the Flipside crew in 1984 at the long-gone Stardust Ballroom in Hollywood, CA. At this time the band had only the Initium album out and were in the process of making the Unholy Passion EP (a couple of the songs that would end up on that record were played at this show). The lineup was Glenn Danzig, Steve Zing, Eerie Von and Damien (I believe). The show was 47 minutes in length and featured most of the Initium album, a couple Misfits songs, and the aforementioned tracks from Unholy Passion. It was a pretty energetic set and the crowd were into it. On one of the final songs, “Archangel” Glenn actually plays guitar which is something I have never witnessed him do either live or on any video I had seen before from any of his bands.
The video was shot on a few different cameras all from different parts of the stage so most of the footage is of different side views. At various points in the show the view is through a fish-eye lens which makes for a somewhat neat little effect. The video quality is basic VHS quality, the footage hasn’t aged terribly, but there are some weird lines and glitches on occasion that was a fault with the source material, not a manufacturing error. The audio here is the big issue. It has its fair share of distortion/clipping in certain songs which is again a result of how it was recorded and the limitations of the equipment used. The overall quality is like a pro-bootleg, its better than what you’d get on the tape trading circuit, but not by much. Since there isn’t a lot of Samhain footage floating around out there, despite the quality issues at times, it is a cool document of a time long gone (which is now 21 years ago!). Die-hard Samhain fans and collectors are going to want to have this for completion. I don’t think I’d recommend it for a casual fan or someone who was just curious of what the band was all about just because of how rough the sound/footage is at times.
There are no extras on this disc, which was kind of a shame but I chalk that up to the lack of anything around from the band to add to the disc. It does come with a cool Samhain vinyl sticker which I thought was a nice touch. The relatively low price tag will make it an easy purchase for the hardcore Samhain collector (of which there are many) but the casual fan or someone not needing to own it all might want to pass on this one.