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Dave Chappelle Block Party...

Published by Warren Dell under on Wednesday, July 05, 2006
Dave Chappelle’s block party may have only just been released in the cinemas over here but thanks to the ability of my trusty Tesco bought DVD player, I managed to watch the yanks DVD which has been out for months now.

Block Party goes back to 2004 when Chappelle gathered some of his closest buddies to put on a good old fashion knees up. Or what in America is known as a block party.

This isn’t one of those straight up concert DVD’s that seem everywhere in the Christmas build up, but more of a documentary thanks to director Michel Gondry, he of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind fame.

Rather than the quick editing that makes concert DVD’s look like some flashy promo the work here gives the viewer a better impression of the action and helps you get the feeling of what it was like to be there.

Indeed it would have been great to be there as Chappelle assembles a concert line-up that rivals no other. It’s not often you get to see all in the same show Kanye West (as the opener!), Erykah Badu, Dead Prez, Common, The Roots, Jill Scott, Talib Kweli and Mos Def. Throw in the reuniting of The Fugees as well and you can’t really put a price on that ticket.

To actually get into the block party you had to be one of the lucky ones that Chappelle approached when he went back to Ohio, where he spent his school years.

These golden tickets were handed out to a host of people who you wouldn’t expect to see at a block party – an old shopkeeper, two police officers and pretty much anyone that was lucky enough to be in the area when Chappelle travelled round his old haunts.

The story of how the block party was put together is intertwined with performance footage and although the music is great, it’s the unsung heroes that steal the show with the Ohio University performing Jesus Walks with Kanye and the odd couple who live in their home made abode right by the stage.

Chappelle may have given up on creating more episodes of Chappelle Show, but his stand-up will continue to be laughed and applauded at. Here he is at his best and is as much of a draw as any of the artists on parade. This winning combination coupled with people from all walks of life combine for the community feel of a block party.


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