Picks and Pans Review: Break Every Rule

updated 06/29/1987 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 06/29/1987 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Tina Turner in performance is a force of nature, part thunderstorm, part whirlwind, part heat wave. It hardly diminishes the joy and musical passion of this tape that it was recorded in a London theater with a setup crowd for a cable-TV special. Despite the slightly artificial atmosphere generated by an audience that often resembles extras more than fans, Turner is her flamboyant self, tossing her hair (or wig) and legs around, strutting, screeching and singing with deceptive subtlety midst the brouhaha. Most of the songs are from the 1986 album that gave this show its title. Among them are Mark Knopfler's Overnight Sensation, Paradise Is Here by Paul Brady and the Terry Britten/Graham Lyle tune Two People. There's a welcome addition to the set, though, in six songs Turner has never recorded. They include Robert Palmer's Addicted to Love, a natural for Turner in its insistent rhythms, Wilson Pickett's In the Midnight Hour and Land of a Thousand Dances and 634-5789, on which blues guitarist Robert Cray adds a happily soulful duet vocal. The all-star backup band that appeared on the Break Every Rule album isn't around. Knopfler and Branford Marsalis, for instance, are among the missing. Cray does add a guitar solo on Sam Cooke's A Change Is Gonna Come, however, and Knopfler's Dire Straits mate, Alan Clark, appears playing keyboards. Directed by David Mallet, who also did Turner's Private Dancer tape, this production is framed by to-the-theater and from-the-theater segments that seem unnecessary. But these are just brief distractions. Turner is not the sort of singer who wastes an audience's time with snappy patter. She just digs right in. And for the most part Mallet has sense enough to know that, with a performer this charismatic, the smartest thing to do is point your cameras at her and otherwise stay out of the way. (HBO, $19.95)

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