Toronto Rocks

For the almost half-million concertgoers who sweltered in Smogtown's heat last July, the experience of being at SARSstock (or SARSapalooza, though officially known as Toronto Rocks) consisted of claustrophobia, dehydration and sunstroke. The majority of dancing was saved for the porta-potty line. Drugs were more prevalent than alcohol, being then semi-legal and easier to smuggle in, creating a calm, polite vibe closer to the original Woodstock than its rowdy sequels. For the hordes of us who barely had a view of the faraway video screens let alone the stage, the Toronto Rocks DVD reminds us that we were part of concert history. For thousands more watching at home, miffed at the disappointing television coverage, it's a chance to actually see uninterrupted performances. Overall, the show's presentation is technically adept with good audio and camera work but because the American release squeezes the international acts and headliners onto one disc, many of those who deserve more time (AC/DC, Flaming Lips, the Guess Who and even Justin Timberlake) receive as much or less than the worst act, Dan Aykroyd's utterly humiliating Have Love Will Travel Revue. Hopefully these discrepancies are only due to space and/or song clearance rather than egos - AC/DC was almost universally declared to have kicked rock gods the Stones' wrinkly old asses, yet is represented by only two songs. The Canadian version's added disc, with full sets by the afternoon home-grown bands, goes on too long in comparison. There's little about the event itself in the extras ("In The Crowd" had potential but is greatly under-realised), instead there are various short clips that highlight the artists backstage. "The Photo" provides the voyeuristic pleasure of watching the performers suck up to each other. Alas, too often the footage is repetitively in the vein of "Wow man, this is awesome…" Plus: interviews, more. (TGA/Warner Music)