Born to Boogie

Born to Boogie — the Ringo Starr-directed, 1972 concert film of a newly electrified T. Rex — was meant to capture leader Marc Bolan’s Beatlemania-like grip on his young, impressionable audience. The film has been restored and expanded into a two-DVD, five-hour-plus collection. Among its features are two same-day shows at London’s Wembley arena, and a valuable 47-minute documentary, Cosmic Rock, that includes interviews with producer Tony Visconti and the only (!) surviving member of the 1972 lineup, drummer Bill Legend.

The concerts themselves are persuasive — even for the casual rock ’n’ roll fan — to a fault. Bolan’s egocentric mien (he wears a T-shirt bearing his own face) and guitar poses are Spinal Tap worthy, while a handful of tunes (“Baby Strange,” “Children of the Revolution” and “Bang a Gong”) are given tight, slam-bang run-throughs befitting their excesses. However, the Fellini-esque interludes are exactly what you’d expect when giving cameras to a stoned crew with no script and vague cinematic ambitions — and Bolan’s acoustic guitar is aggravatingly out-of-key as he sits cross-legged for a set of ballads. You had to be there? Now, you pretty much are.

Rob O'Connor writes about music for Metro Times. Send comments to [email protected].

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