Band reunions usually turn out one of two ways: either awash in nostalgia or a striking reminder of how good they once were. However, in terms of reunions’ ability to recapture the old magic, well, that’s a tall order to begin with.
The reconvening of Graham Parker with the Rumour provided an intriguing subplot for Jud Apatow’s comedy This is 40. Still, it wasn’t pure happenstance that the storyline coincided with their decision to reunite for Three Chords Good, their first album in 31 years. It was also fortuitous that when they shot their crucial concert scene at L.A.’s Belasco Theater, they were still capable of a definitive delivery. This DVD offers the complete show, its 12 songs encompassing Parker classics like “Fool’s Gold,” “Local Girls” and “Soul Shoes,” along with assorted tracks from the new album. Though older and greyer, the band is obviously invigorated, and Parker’s ever-feisty presence spurs a taut and tenacious performance that belies any hint of ageing whatsoever.
Given the band’s seminal punk posturing, there’s some irony in watching this group of 60-somethings replaying songs of defiance as iconic oldies. Yet, when Parker urges the audience to “Turn up the volume” during “Stupefaction,” that command is as warranted as ever.
– Lee Zimmerman