In 1974 one of the great fights of the century was taking place in Kinshasa, Zaire, between George Foreman, the champion and Mohammed Ali. Sponsored by the government of Zaire, it was a celebration of black sports and entertainment. Consequently, America's most popular African-American artists were invited to entertain the many thousands of people from around the world who had come to see the great battle. Among these great entertainers were The Pointer Sisters and B.B. King, performing for an audience of more than 50,000 fans. Their shows were shot in 35mm on six cameras and directed by Leon Gast who recently won an Academy Award for "When We Were Kings". If you look closely you will see Muhammad Ali in the audience of both these shows. Songs include: African Dancers, Hands Up, Wang Dang Doodle All Night Long, Steam Heat, Salt Peanuts, Swanee River Medley, Old Songs, Ba Meir Bist Du Schien, That's Aplenty, Alexandra's Ragtime Band, I Wish I Could Shimmy, Yes We Can, and Love Up In Them Hills.
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They gonna pitch your wang dang doodle, but only for about 40 minutes here. Normally, that's aplenty, but unfortunately the sound on this supposedly 5.1 Dolby Digital disc, via an original two-track mix, is sadly muddy. The Sisters seem to be at their fine, hot, energetic best, but nothing can overcome the annoying echoes and lack of definition in the sound. The 1974 concert in Africa was put on to celebrate black sports and music on the occasion of the Foreman-Ali fight in Zaire. The film was shot by Leon Gast (When We Were Kings), who forgoes shots of the audience and keeps his cameras in close on the performers possibly more than he should, since establishing shots of the stage and crowds would have contributed more of a sense of the concert experience. Poor acoustics, dull visuals, a mere 40 minutes when we would have preferred to pitch it all night long--now we just want to pitch it. --Jim Gay
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