Mar 08 2008

Os Paralamas do Sucesso: Rock in Rio 1985

Rocking the Eighties


Rock in Rio 1985

This is a DVD many Paralamas fans have been waiting for. Not only have the fans, the guys from Paralamas do Sucesso enjoyed the release, too. The trio considers their appearance at the first edition of the famous Rock in Rio festival as their international breakthrough. Sure, the rock band — Herbert Vianna (guitar and vocals), Bi Ribeiro (bass) and João Barone (drums) — had already gained a serious popularity, especially after their warming up act for Lulu Santos at Rio’s rock temple Circo Voador (1983). But appearing at this huge festival was something else! Paralamas felt it could lead to more. The band played during two evenings (13 and 16 January 1985). It’s the second evening that is documented on this DVD. It was the time that rock bands were fully developing their skills. Equipment was often brought in from Europe or the US, clever guys constructed their own instruments and amplifiers while influences from abroad dominated the music. It was also the time of “Redemocratização,” the first democratic presidential elections after 21 years of military dictatorship. Tancredo Neves was chosen as president of Brazil during the elections of January 15th, one day before Paralamas hit the huge stage for the second time at the festival ground.

During their first evening at the Festival, Paralamas opened (again) for Lulu Santos. Some of the other acts that evening were Nina Hagen and Rod Stewart. The show of Paralamas during this first evening is remembered as a bit nervous. Three days later 40,000 people were there to see the band again, followed by Moraes Moreira, Rita Lee, Ozzy Osbourne and again Rod Stewart. The band hit the stage to deliver a powerful concert that showed Paralamas was ready for the world. The two concerts at the festival (that was under world wide attention) opened the door to international recognition for Paralamas do Sucesso. It gained the band enormous popularity in Argentina. A few years later they also performed at the world famous Montreux Jazz Festival (Switzerland, 1987).

The DVD covers the whole concert. However, three songs were recorded with such a poor sound quality that they only appear in the “bonus” section of the DVD. It’s fun to see the band at the beginning of their success.Paralamas do Sucesso

The young Herbert Vianna (23 years old at that time) is on stage wearing awful shorts that match the shirt bassist Bi Ribeiro is wearing. João Barone sits behind a huge drum kit, clearly inspired by drummers from American and British rock bands. The music is fantastic, the perfect time image. That time image is also illustrated by priceless shots from the audience. Of course Paralamas refers to the elections, expressing the suspicion about its democratic quality. Lead vocalist/guitarist Herbert Vianna announces a protest song by Ultraje a Rigor, a rock band from São Paulo, with “…we don’t know how to choose a president, as they have chosen for us…” The song, “Inútil” (“Useless”) reflects how Brazilians felt they were silenced and patronized by politics. The rest of the repertoire consists of the hit songs from the band’s first two albums — Cinema Mudo (1983) and O Passo do Lui (1984). The songs are still on the band’s current repertoire, but it’s nice to hear them in the trio setting.

Later the band was extended by regular guests on keyboards, percussion and wind instruments. Despite their continuing popularity, Paralamas do Sucesso didn’t perform at the 1991 and 2001 editions of the festival in Rio. Even worse, it was short after Rock in Rio 3 that Herbert Vianna got involved in the ultra-light airplane accident that claimed his wife’s life and left him paralyzed below his waist (February 2001).

This DVD can serve as a 25 Years on the Road celebration, and it shows why Paralamas do Sucesso had such an impact on the rock scene in Brazil. They’re part of the country’s rock history and it’s great to see how it all started. The disc is a must for the fans and a nice document for nostalgic souls. A nice bonus of the DVD is that all the lyrics are subtitled in English and Spanish. However it’s a missed opportunity and even a shame that the documentary on the DVD has no subtitles. Its contents are interesting enough to share with the non Portuguese speaking fans of Paralamas. The sound and image on the DVD are perfect (recorded by Globo TV). With the omission of one song (the encore version of “Patrulha Noturna”), the music is also available on CD.



Paralamas do Sucesso
Rock in Rio 1985
EMI 508900 9 (2007)
Time: 78’00”


All songs written by Herbert Vianna, except where noted.

  1. Mensagem De Amor
  2. Assaltaram A Gramática (Lulu Santos – Waly Salomão)
  3. Patrulha Noturna
  4. Inútil (Roger Moreira)
  5. Fui Eu
  6. Cinema Mudo
  7. Meu Erro
  8. Óculos
  9. Patrulha Noturna (not on CD)
    Bonus songs:
  10. Ska
  11. Vital e Sua Moto
  12. Química (Renato Russo)