Rock Docs: Free To Rock (2017) - Reviewed

I have always been amazed at the unifying power that music possesses. Being a traveler all over to music festivals (mainly metal music), I often find myself being excited not only for the music, but almost as much for seeing and meeting old and new friends, and the camaraderie of the community we are all a part of. Personally, there is nothing more exhilarating than hearing the phrase, “Oh man, I love that band also!” That statement is always guaranteed to lead to an excellent time. Rock N’ Roll is a unifying and powerful force that has shaped the lives of people, past and current, and also can have the power to change the course of history as is illustrated in the wonderful Free To Rock. 

If Free To Rock does not make you think about your place in the world, then you are just switched off. Free to Rock, in its modest 60 minute running time, shows us how Rock N' Roll was able to affect social change behind the Iron Curtain between the 50's and the 90's. It also shows us how it contributed to the collapse of the Soviet Union and ending the Cold War. 

As I watched Free to Rock, all I could think of is how easy it was for me to explore music, especially Rock N’ Roll growing up. The communist control the youth of Iron Curtain were under was simply incredible. Even, when Rock N’ Roll started trickling its way in, it was still measured and controlled to negate a “negative influence”. Simply astounding. Free to Rock, through its excellent interviews with greats such as Billy Joel, Elton John, and The Beach Boys gives us their first hand accounts of piercing the veil of the Iron Curtain. They were the agents for the change and the youth demanded the freedom to listen, to write, and to perform Rock music for themselves. 

My only gripe with Free to Rock was that it was a little short. I would have loved to see more about the history of this movement as it was very interesting in the fabric of Free to Rock. 60 minutes just seemed to rush the narrative of, while I already think Free to Rock is excellent, could have been incredible with another 30 or 40 minutes to give us some more details. 

Regardless, Free to Rock is an excellent historical music documentary to make a us westerners really appreciate the freedom we have enjoyed to explore music. 

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-Scott W. Lambert