The Outlaw Performance is one of those concert recordings that brings immediate happiness to a fanbase from the very first note. For those followers of Waylon Jennings, this DVD has nearly everything that is essential in conveying the appeal of the rebellious singer/guitarist at the height of his performing power. And brings along a few admiring peers to sing his praises, too.
Taken from a full concert from Nashville’s Opry House, filmed in 1978, the 16-song set is a certified hits and history list, including then-and-now-classics, “Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys,” and “Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way.” Jennings, onstage, is in fine form; healthy and happy, in contemporaneous interspersed interview segments he talks candidly about putting the chronic cocaine use behind him. His voice is rich and strong. He’s smiling and energized, leading his touring band through crackling renditions of his repertoire. As for the performance footage itself, it is reflective of the era in both sonic and visual quality and approach- not at all flashy, yet more than functional- cleaned up to its highest possible shine, and works as well as an historical document of sorts as much as it does as a piece of enduring entertainment.
The DVD is divided amongst several features: a concert-only option; the concert with Jennings’ interview clips; and bonus interview segments recorded in 1990 with friends such as George Jones, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, and drummer Richie Albright. All totaled it’s not only a neatly wrapped package of a show, but also something of a deserved career celebration for Jennings and his contribution to the Outlaw Country movement.