When Two Worlds Collide (DVD)

Vanilla Fudge

ABC Entertainment, 2009


REVIEW BY: David Bowling


Every once in awhile, an old friend can disappoint you. Such is the case with the latest DVD release by Vanilla Fudge, When Two Worlds Collide.

Vanilla Fudge released a number of creative and bestselling albums from 1967-1970. Guitarist Vince Martel, keyboardist and vocalist Mark Stein, bassist Tim Bogert and drummer Carmine Appice took hits of the day and slowed them way down -- and I really mean way down. Their sound was heavy, dramatic, bombastic, over-the-top, and dirge-like in places. It was also commercially successful, gaining them sales in the millions. Their music was a cross between psychedelic and heavy rock. Active during my college years, Vanilla Fudge consistently found a place on my turntable.

The group broke up in 1970. Bogert and Appice went on to found the heavy rock group Cactus and they played with Jeff Beck for a short spell. They have reunited Vanilla Fudge several times over the years, sometimes with Stein and Martell and sometimes without. The original group members toured together in 2005. For the purpose of this release, Bill Pascali is the keyboardist and main vocalist while Teddy Rondinelli handles the lead guitar playing. Both have played with Bogert and Appice in the past.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

So what’s wrong with this release?

First, they try to do too much. They have an orchestra to support their sound, and while their music has always had a classical type of underpinning, it just doesn’t work. It moves their music away from the overblown sound that made them so unique and appealing. They would have been better off with just the basic four instruments that served them so well in the past.

Secondly, despite the fact that they are playing live, there is no audience to be seen here. There is no reaction to their performances and this definite lack of excitement is then transferred to the viewer. There is also a CD release of this album, and maybe it works better without the visuals.

They do present all of their classic material in this set list, and Bogert and Appice still are a formidable rhythm section. “People Get Ready,” “Shotgun,” “Season Of The Witch,” “Take Me For A Little While” and their top ten single hit “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” are all brought into the 21st century (for better or worse).

The most interesting track they chose was the old Zombies tune, “She’s Not There,” which is graced by a stellar bass solo and lead vocal by Tim Bogert.  On the other hand, Carmine Appice co-wrote Rod Stewart’s number one hit “Do You Think I’m Sexy,” but it was a song they should have avoided.

When Two Worlds Collide comes across as a sterile affair, missing their old magic. If you want to hear Vanilla Fudge at their creative best, find a copy of any of their first three albums (their self-titled debut, 1968’s The Beat Goes On or Renaissance, also released in 1968), put on your head phones and enjoy.

Rating: C-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



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