It’s been almost three years since Glenn Danzig, Doyle, Steve Zing, Tommy Victor and London May joined up with director Mark Brooks to shoot a live performance of the Legacy Tour in the same style as the Elvis ’68 TV Special (hence why it was referred to as a TV taping, even though it has never been shown over the air). There were some reshoots done, editing of course, and other tasks required to get the show ready for distribution, but it’s pretty incredible that it took three years for fans to get a peek at it. This past Friday, Danzig Legacy was released on Vimeo as a 24-hour rental. For ten bucks, fans can “rent” the special and stream it on various devices through Vimeo for 24 hours. Two main questions immediately come to mind: was the special worth the wait for Danzig fans and how do fans feel about paying ten dollars to rent a 50 minute video?
Before answering those questions, let’s quickly jump back to 2011 when the Legacy shows were first announced. Initially conceived as four shows, the band Danzig was to play three sets at each show with each set highlighting a band from Glenn Danzig’s past: The Misfits, Samhain, and Danzig. Joining the band was former Samhain drummer London May and former Misfits guitarist Doyle. Doyle and Danzig have played numerous shows over the years, going back to 2005, but Samhain had not performed since 1999 when they held a short reunion tour. The Danzig set was also played in chronological fashion highlighting every Danzig album released (except the often maligned Blackacidevil) since 1988. I was fortunate enough to attend the show in New York and it was a pretty awesome experience for a long-time fan of Glenn Danzig’s work. After those shows concluded, it was announced the boys would do a special taping. More intimate and less involved than the actual Legacy shows, the band sat down with their instruments and ran through some old numbers. Some of the songs were staples of the Legacy shows while several gems were added to the setlist that weren’t featured at the shows. The band recorded two sets that day, the sit-down Elvis-like set first followed by a more traditional Danzig show later on that day.
In theory, the TV Taping sounded like a great idea. After all, Danzig had never done anything like it before. The closest I can think of is the semi-legendary acoustic set the band did for one of Riki Rachtman’s birthday parties (remember him?) back in the early 90’s. That was obviously not recorded so most fans have never seen the band in this type of setting before. The fact that the band would be dusting off forgotten tracks like “Come Back” and “She” was also pretty cool, as over the years the Danzig/Doyle sets haven’t changed a whole lot (though they did add “Last Caress” for the Legacy shows so I really can’t complain).
The show itself was pretty robust. Unfortunately, the digital release is not the entire show. Several songs have been left out and there’s a couple of reasons why that may be. It’s possible that Danzig still intends to release the show on a physical medium and having additional songs would help entice fans to pay for the show a second time. The other reason could be that the band wasn’t satisfied with how the songs came out. Glenn Danzig remarks a few times that his voice is in rough shape during the show and he may not have been happy with how the other songs came out. He elaborates a little before the final track, “Thirteen,” and then the song starts and it appears the vocals may have been overdubbed. Danzig may be planning on doing something similar with the other songs, or maybe he’s not and they’ll never see the light of day. If the songs were held back for a DVD/Blu Ray release I’d argue that’s silly as only the diehard fans are going to be interested in this thing anyways, and they’ll be more than happy to buy it a second time knowing they’ll have a copy to enjoy for years to come.
The show first opens with a new studio recording of “Mother.” It’s basically your typical Danzig video clip with lots of close-ups of Glenn trying to look scary with devil girls dancing in the background. It’s basically just Glenn and guitarist Tommy Victor in front of a green screen. I get that anything claiming to embody the Danzig legacy needs to include “Mother,” but I’m curious why they went with a new studio track instead of just including the performance from the Danzig set as this clips just feels useless. After that clip concludes we’re taken to a small, red stage and the guys emerge from the black to take their seats. There’s a fairly stylish “Danzig” done up in red lights that suits the setting and theme. The guys quickly start into “Come Back” and Glenn promptly loses a tooth (probably what this special will be remembered most for). It’s kind of odd that the band is going with electric guitars instead of acoustic but the mixing is done well enough that nothing is too overpowering. For those who have not attended a Danzig show over the last 5-6 years may be a bit surprised at how Glenn’s voice sounds these days. Decades of touring and screaming have certainly changed how he sounds. He doesn’t sound bad, just different. His lower, rougher, voice actually suits some the tracks pretty well such as “To Walk the Night” and “London Dungeon.”
The band runs through some Misfits tracks, and then the video jumps ahead to the Danzig set. Again, the audio sounds pretty good but ditching the intimacy of the sit-down set is kind of a let-down. The band also plays songs that have been staples of Danzig sets pretty much ever since each song was recorded. It would have been nice to have something different included. The band did perform “Rebel Spirits” from the latest album, but that sadly was left off. After the Danzig set is concluded, the Samhain one commences. It’s quite brief as it features only two songs: Samhain and To Walk the Night. The recording of “To Walk the Night” features a lot of added footage as it looks like they recorded Glenn later on so they could grab close-ups of his face covered in the trademarked Samhain blood. If someone had told me this is how the performance would be presented here I would have been disappointed, but it actually works to give the Samhain set a little more personality. After that, it goes back to the sit-down part where the band does “Thirteen” to close things out. A new video clip for the song “Black Hell” serves as the final song of the special. It’s just a music video using the same recording that was released on the Hangover II soundtrack with just Glenn Danzig preening in front of his big, red, flaming logo.
As a release, the Legacy TV Taping is a bit of a let-down but that’s mostly driven by the fact that fans have waited three years for something that’s been severely cut down from what it was. If all of the songs had been included I’d feel a lot better about the release, but no amount of content could make me feel good about how it’s been released. Ten dollars for 50 minutes of content, with about 10 of that just being new videos for “Mother” and “Black Hell,” feels like a rip-off. If it was something that could be downloaded that would be a little better, but I’m old-fashioned and have never embraced the digital release. If this is ever released, in full, on DVD or Blu Ray then I’ll probably pick it up assuming the price isn’t ridiculous. As it stands, this Vimeo version is essentially for the diehard only, the fans who really feel like they have to see it.
Below is the setlist, for those curious. I’ve included the full setlist from the recording back in May 2012 and noted where songs were cut for release (“Skulls” was performed twice):
Vampira (not included)
Hollywood Babylon (not included)
Twist of Cain
Not of This World (not included)
Her Black Wings
Mother (not included – new studio version included instead)
Rebel Spirits (not included)
Black Mass (not included)
Skulls (not included)
Last Caress (not included)
Horror Biz (not included)
To Walk The Night