Review: ‘Live from the House of Blues’

While there's little to dislike in this series premiere of shows shot live at the popular House of Blues nightspot, viewers are likely to find that this hourlong concert offering is no different from many of its competitors; they can already regularly view many of the acts set for the series on MTV or VH1.

While there’s little to dislike in this series premiere of shows shot live at the popular House of Blues nightspot, viewers are likely to find that this hourlong concert offering is no different from many of its competitors; they can already regularly view many of the acts set for the series on MTV or VH1.

Viewers may also balk upon discovering that the show is designed as little more than an hourlong infomercial for the venue, with performances buffered by atta-boys about the clubs — in Cambridge, L.A., New Orleans — pointing up their menu and design, as well as philanthropic interests and contributions to the community.

This seg spotlights the efforts of the Friends of the L.A. River, a nonprofit group that beautifies the area’s waterways with murals. Also discussed is how the club hosts inner city kids and teaches them about the blues and its generational ties.

First installment, shot at the Los Angeles club, spotlights performances by Sheryl Crow and Hootie and the Blowfish.

Naturally Crow warbles her signature nugget, “All I Wanna Do,” and the toothysongstress rips through a set of tracks off her debut A&M Records disc, “Tuesday Night Music Club.”

Hootie and his contingent plod through a list of by-now-familiar VH1 -made-famous offerings, including the hit single “Hold My Hand,” from their “Cracked Rear View” disc.

The band deviates momentarily from its debut to offer a pale reading of an appropriate show closer, the blues classic “Mustang Sally.”

Director Ron Yager does an admirable job of keeping the

perfs interesting with his fluid and efficient direction, giving viewers unobstructed views of the principals.

A House of Blues VJ intros both the performance and tour guide segments, while often reminding viewers that trips to the venues and a Pontiac can be won in a drawing.

The sound quality is top-notch, and serves as a testament to the industry big names behind the mixing board.

While future shows promise to be more exciting, with perfs from Public Enemy and the Spin Doctors, among others, on tap, the producers have at least succeeded in creating a slick marketing vehicle for the club.

Live from the House of Blues

(Fri (27), 9-10 p.m., TBS)

Production

Taped in Los Angeles by House of Blues Prods. and A*Vision Entertainment in association with Warner Bros. Pay TV and TBS. Executive producers, Eric Frankel, Michael Klenfner; producer, Michael Murphy; director, Ron Yager; writer, James Wynbrandt; lighting design, John Ingram, Jim Tetlow.

Crew

Editor, David Snowdy; sound , Robert Margouleff, Brant Biles, Fred Derby; music, Hal Willner.

Cast

Bands: Sheryl Crow: Todd Wolfe, Tad Wadhams, Wally Ingram, Scott Bryan; Hootie and the Blowfish: Dean Felber, Soni, Darius Rucker, Mark Bryan.

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