[DVD Review] AC/DC | Family Jewels

When DVDs became the dominant format for home video, AC/DC made some decent attempts at putting out comprehensive collections.  Family Jewels (Great name!) is a two disc set from 2005 that compiles almost all of their music videos from 1976 to 1990. 

All of the hits are here.  Thunderstruck, Who Made Who, and Back In Black are presented as they were on MTV 30-40ish years ago, but it is the deeper cuts that are the real treat for me.  As someone who had taped every Much Music Spotlight on AC/DC and bought all of their VHS tapes, even I had yet to see some of what is on Family Jewels before 2005.  

The videos are presented in chronological order with disc one opening to the band’s first appearance on television.  It was on an Australian show called Countdown performing their cover of Baby, Please Don’t Go with Bon, to compliment Angus, in a school girl uniform! There is also the band’s debut on American television performing Sin City on NBC’s Midnight Special and Bon’s final television appearance for a Spanish program called Aplauso.  This is where the band performed Highway To Hell and Girls Got Rhythm 10 days before his death.

I’m using the word “performed” loosely.  Most television stations in the ’70s were not equipped to properly mic a full rock band.  Heck, most are not still today.  Some performances are legit, some have Bon’s mic hot as he performs to a backing track, but most have the band mimicking their performance to the album track. They are a product of their time.

Disc two contains the videos that most are accustomed to.  They are the “promo videos” from the ’80s that are designed to regularly air on MTV and attract teens to buy albums.  They start off simple, as the four cuts from 1980’s Back In Black look like they were shot in one day, and leap in production value as the three videos done for 1990’s The Razors Edge were shot months apart. 

AC/DC gave you some solid bang for your buck here.  The videos that make up the last half of this disc were originally released on separate VHS collections, Fly On the Wall, Who Made Who, and Clipped.  These collections could have been ported over to DVD and priced individually.  I’m sure someone was tempted.

Family Jewels inside

The entire Fly On The Wall VHS from 1985 is as bad as you remember it.  Thankfully AC/DC hired David Mallet for the following Who Made Who videos. He has a sense for what works for AC/DC in video form and he has done all of their videos since.

It is not exactly a complete collection which is disappointing since the discs are not exactly full.  During the recording of promo videos for Back In Black, the band did one for You Shook Me All Night Long, which was skipped to include Dave Mallet’s version from Who Made WhoHighway To Hell is in the same boat as Bon’s final television appearance was chosen over its promo video.  The video for Guns for Hire was cut and videos for Ballbreaker and Stiff Upper Lip that are absent.   

Advertisements

These omissions were corrected by a third Family Jewels disc that was added to another boxset, Backtracks in 2009. Not adding them here is a mistake.  I understand how they wanted to eliminate duplicates from the main setlist, but they could have added them as a bonus tracks.  The length for each disc totals 90 mins, so you had plenty of room to do so.   

Speaking of extras, there isn’t much.  Disc two’s AC/DC discography is really the only one.  There are no interviews, commentaries, or an alternate 5.1 audio mix.  None of the videos have been restored.  The Fly On The Wall videos, for example, were obviously shot on quality film and scaled down for VHS.   It is disappointing to see the same VHS transfer is on the DVD.  But the booklet is fairly solid with all of the background info on when and where these videos were shot.

With a lot of this content free to view on AC/DC’s YouTube channel, is Family Jewels still worth it?, I would say almost not.  There are still a few videos on here, mostly from the Bon Scott era, that have no official place to stream.  Fans do upload them from time to time, but they only last for a while before they are taken down.  So, for now, this set remains as the most reliable way to watch them.  And if it were a little more complete, Family Jewels would be a little more perfect.

4/5

Advertisements

37 comments

  1. I never got this but my sister for my 40th Bday 13 years ago bought me the Plug Me In Deluxe set on DVD. Plug Me In came out the same time so it was no brainer when she said “what do you want old man!” I’ll hold off on saying more about that one when you post it. lol
    Your right those Fly videos were goofy lol I remember my English teacher going off on the ‘Sink The Pink’ video. lol. That was. great class as he had a little street red in him for watching the Pepsi Power Hour.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. lol, those old TV shows like to go to the drummer a lot for cutaway shots. A lot of animation in one spot. It gives you a lot of bang for your buck when TV cameras in the ’70s were the size of a small car!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Everyone’s face in that video was priceless actually because of Bon dressed as a schoolgirl and his interactions with Angus. I think he had a fake hammer (or something like that). I saw a blurry version of it on youtube. By the way, what’s with Mal wearing all white?!?! Like what the heck and those black boots too, it did not suit him in my opinion lol!

        Liked by 1 person

                1. Oh, people knew cigs were bad for a very long time. People were just in denial because they were addicited. You even see old movie with Doctors smoking in them. Sarah and I were watching an old one from the ’40s the other day and they were calling them coffin nails. They all knew!

                  It was really 2nd hand smoke that woke a lot of people up because now you were causing harm to someone else.

                  Liked by 1 person

                  1. Doctors smoking too? Thats sad, but I can see that. I don’t get the big deal with smoking. They think it looks cool, but it looks disgusting and does nothing for their voice. I used to be a huge Leonardo DiCaprio fan after I saw Titanic, but then I saw him in the later years and was like, “Geez, what happened to him!” I always thought it was cause the smoking makes people age faster.

                    I didn’t even know what second hand smoke was until I researched it. So I learned something new because of you, thanks! At least it got those people to change their ways.

                    Liked by 1 person

                    1. I know he’s smoked in some of his films such as Romeo + Juliet, The Basketball Diaries, The Departed, Titanic, Shutter Island, and The Quick and the Dead. Oddly enough, I saw the latter after my Leo obsession begun. I literally just got off the computer from watching clips of Romeo + Juliet, and the TV had The Quick and the Dead playing, then I was like, “Is that Leonardo DiCaprio?!?!” Haha good times. I think he smokes in real life too.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    2. Yeah, smoking the odd times during a scene in films isn’t going to harm you too much. It is the everyday, all the time. People used to smoke two, three packs a day. And chain smokers were the worse. They would light their next cigarette with the one they were currently smoking and never stop. It is amazing that people lived at all, lol

                      Liked by 1 person

                    3. It’s true that smoking for movie scenes isn’t that bad, but think about how long it’d take to film certain scenes! Gosh I don’t know how people can smoke three packs, let alone one pack a day.

                      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s