Sometimes the strangest things turn into a catalyst for a revelatory moment. Like Graham Parker reuniting after more than 30 years with the Rumour — for a guest shot on Judd Apatow’s 2012 comedy “This is 40.”
Parker and the Rumour had just released their long-awaited, and perfectly named, studio collaboration Three Chords Good when they were asked to set up for a concert scene in September 2011 at the Belasco Theater in downtown L.A. Featured over a fleeting moment in the completed film, this boisterous set actually stretched back to included pub-rock favorites like “Local Girls” and “Soul Shoes” (given snarky, propulsive readings) and newer compositions like “She Rocks Me” and “Long Emotional Ride” (the last, offered as a delicately conveyed moment of reminiscence).
Apatow filmed it all, and has now overseen the release ofThis Is Live, available August 20, 2013, as a Blu-ray/DVD pack from Shout Factory. There’s even a previously unreleased track from the sessions for Three Chords Good, called “Sirens in the Night.”
What that album could only hint at, this feisty concert recording makes clear: Parker and his rough-housing compatriots have lost none of the righteous indignation, sucker-punch sarcasm and face-peeling rock smarts that defined their late-1970s hey day, but it’s leavened now with a new-found sense of shared camaraderie — and (dare we say it) grown-up acceptance.
The quintessential angry young man has become a older one who can still summon that outrage, even as he’s learned to be thankful for what’s left.