May & Ellis’ Candlelight Concerts Recording Another Huge Hit For Eagle Rock

Courtesy:  Eagle Rock Entertainment/Eagle Vision/Eagle Records

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment/Eagle Vision/Eagle Records

Eagle Rock Entertainment and its visual division, Eagle Vision, have been at the front of the line in live recordings in recent years thanks to releasing so many big, bombastic concerts on DVD and Blu-ray. So it goes without saying that Brian May & Kerry Ellis: The Candlelight Concerts is quite the departure for Eagle Rock and Eagle Vision. That’s not a bad thing, either. While it features Queen guitarist Brian May alongside one of the most powerful voices in Broadway’s modern history, the references to Queen are kept to a minimum throughout the course of the concert. That is the most important factor in what makes this latest release from Eagle Rock and Eagle Vision so worth the time. Another reason that audiences will appreciate this new recording is its audio and video mix. The high quality video and audio mix (both on the Blu-ray and CD) maintain Eagle Rock and Eagle Vision’s long-held standard of releasing only the best quality concerts to audiences. And making everything complete for this latest recording is its packaging. Brian May & Kerry Ellis: The Candlelight Concerts has been made available to consumers in a double-disc Blu-ray/CD combo pack in a single package. This allows audiences to take in the performance in whole without having to choose which one they would want more. It may be a slightly higher price. But in the long-term, it’s more cost effective for those wanting the full concert experience. All of the factors noted here make Brian May & Kerry Ellis: The Candlelight Concerts yet another huge success from the leader in live recordings.

Brian May & Kerry Ellis: The Candlelight Concerts is not a Queen concert. That’s not to say that there are no Queen songs featured throughout the course of the set’s CD and Blu-ray. As a matter of fact, some of Queen’s biggest hits including ‘We Will Rock You’, ‘Somebody To Love’, ‘Crazy Little Thing Called Love’ and ‘No-One But You (Only The Good Die Young)’ are part of the performance. But by and large, this performance features covers of other songs, and even a couple original tunes. One of the most powerful of the performance’s moments comes in Ellis’ cover of ‘The Way We Were.’ The song, made popular by singer/actress Barbara Streisand in the 1973 movie by the same name. As Ellis notes before performing her take on the song, it’s more commonly performed with a full orchestral backing, even in the movie’s soundtrack. It gains a whole new identity in this completely stripped down setting. On the other end of the spectrum, May and Ellis presented a stripped down song in ‘The Kissing Me Song’ that absolutely cries out for a full band setting. Any drummers and percussionists out there will agree with this drummer that there is a stunning polyrhythmic drum track just waiting to come out in this piece. One can even hear a tambourine part echoing in the background. Making the song even more interesting is that it is an original piece, instead of a cover. It would be interesting to see if the pair ever re-works the tune for a full band setting. Moving on, there is at least one more high point in this performance in terms of the show’s set list that audiences will appreciate. That last high point is the duo’s take on ‘Crazy Little Thing Called Love.’ Despite being in a stripped down setting, it is just as enjoyable in this setting as on record. And experiencing the audience’s enthusiastic reaction to the song makes it all the more enjoyable for viewers watching it in their homes. It has just as much energy here as in any other setting. As enjoyable as this moment is, it isn’t the last of the show’s many high points. There are plenty more moments from which audiences will get to choose when they purchase or order the combo pack for themselves.

The set list chosen for this penultimate performance of May and Ellis’ “By Candlelight Tour” is central to the enjoyment of this recording. Those hoping for a stripped down Queen set will be sadly disappointed since it isn’t a Queen set. For those more open-minded, they will deeply appreciate the variety of songs included in the show. The songs would be nothing without the expert work of those behind the cameras and soundboard. Eagle Rock Entertainment and Eagle Vision have maintained a high standard for their live recordings for some time. And this recording is no exception to that rule. The picture and sound are both crystal clear. And the angles used in the camera work expertly capture the emotion of both performers in the rather intimate setting. It adds so much depth to the overall presentation, making it even more worth checking out.

The set list and overall production values of Brian May & Kerry Ellis: The Candlelight Concerts are both pivotal elements to the overall presentation of this recording. Both go hand in hand in making the whole thing worth the time and money. There is still at least one more element worth noting about this set. That aspect is the recording’s packaging itself. Eagle Rock, Eagle Vision, and Eagle Records have come together to make the set available to the masses not as separate release, but as one entire package. On the surface, this might drive up the price of the set a bit. But in the long run, it actually saves money and the time trying to decide which is more important. Eagle Rock is actually serving its customers by combining the CD and Blu-ray into a full double-disc set. What’s more, each of the two discs gets its own spot on either side of the Blu-ray’s case. That saves space and in turn, helps to keep the cost of the set down. And that combined with the show’s outstanding production values, and equally outstanding set list makes it one more huge success from the company that more than deserves the title of being the leader in live recordings.

Brian May & Kerry Ellis: The Candlelight Concerts is available now in stores and online. It can be ordered online via Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Candelight-Concerts-Live-Montreux-Blu-ray/dp/B00I60VY56/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1396512611&sr=1-1&keywords=brian+may+kerry+ellis. More information on this and other releases from Eagle Rock Entertainment, Eagle Vision, and Eagle Records is available online at http://www.facebook.com/EagleRockEnt and http://www.eagle-rock.com. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

UB40 Live At Montreux ’02 Another Enjoyable Addition To Eagle Rock’s Montreux Concert Series

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment/Montreux Sounds

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment/Montreux Sounds

UB40’s recently released live recording UB40 Live at Montreux 2002 is another enjoyable addition to the ongoing series of releases from Eagle Rock Entertainment and Montreux Sounds.  This addition to the companies’ Live at Montreux recordings will impress anyone that is a long-time fan of UB40.  Fans will be impressed first and foremost by the extensive set list chosen for this concert.  The set list boasts a grand total of twenty-one songs.  Among those songs are some of the band’s biggest hits and some that are only slightly less familiar to audiences.  The band deserves credit for its extensive set list chosen or this show.  It also deserves a certain amount of credit for its on-stage performance in general.  Eagle Rock Entertainment deserves just as much credit for continuing to present recordings boasting such high quality audio and video standards.  Those high standards and the equally impressive set list collectively show why this is yet another enjoyable addition to Eagle Rock and Montreux Sounds’ Live at Montreux series of recordings.

The Montreux Jazz Festival is one of the biggest music festivals in the world.  For any artist, group or band to be invited to perform at this elite festival is an honor.  It means that said artists, groups and bands must bring their A-game.  Fans of UB40 will be glad to know that the band has done just that with this recording.  The band’s set list runs twenty-one songs deep, two of which are encores at the show’s very end.  The show’s set list includes major hits such as ‘Red Red Wine’, ‘The Way You Do The Things You Do’ and even the band’s famous cover of Elvis’ ‘(I Can’t Help’ Falling In Love With You’ as well as plenty of others.  The entire twenty-one song set list runs just over ninety-minutes.  Considering that length, it makes twenty-one songs quite the mass of music.  And it’s a mass of music that the band’s long-time fans will enjoy every time they put on this recording.

The extensive set list chosen for UB40’s 2002 Montreux performance will impress the band’s long-time fans.  That goes without saying.  Anyone that has ever attended or watched a live concert will agree that the show’s set list is only one part of the equation.  Just as important to the show is the stage presence of the artist, group or band in question.  It can be said will full certainty about UB40 that the band’s stage presence in its performance definitely enhanced the show.  The whole band kept the energy flowing from beginning to end.  Even in its rare slower moments, such as in its two biggest hits, there was still a certain amount of energy exuded by the band.  There was so much energy in fact, that even audiences watching this recording for the first time might find themselves getting up off their couches, love seats, beds, or whatever else and moving to the music.  It shows that while this show is roughly twelve years old now, the band still had what it took to entertain audiences back then just as it does even now.  That stage presence alongside the show’s chosen set list makes the performance all the more enjoyable for anyone that is now or has ever been a UB40 fan.  Of course, what would the band’s stage presence and set list be without the show being recorded?  That is the last part of what makes this recording enjoyable for the band’s fans.

Audiences today take for granted that every live show ever recorded for public consumption will turn out to be a perfect ten.  Sadly, not every live recording ever released is like that.  There are those that have shown to have poor quality audio and video mixes.  Again though, UB40 is not in that mass with this recording. And neither is Eagle Rock Entertainment.  The video and audio mix are quite well balanced throughout the show.  Even at the show’s most energetic moments, no one member of the band overpowers the other.  And that is thanks to the work of Jean Ristori with MTX Mastering Studio Montreux Sounds.  Audiences with home theater systems will equally agree on just how impressive her work was in terms of the recording’s post-production work.  Of course, one would be remiss to ignore the work of Eric Glardon for putting the final touch on the work done by the show’s camera crew and director.  Glardon wonderfully captured the full experience from both the vantage point of the band and the audience that was in attendance.  The transitions from shot to shot and the choice of shots in general add so much depth and feeling to the recording.  Audiences will see and hear just how much work was put in by both he and Jean Ristori (and those that originally recorded the concert) to make this recording a reality and all the more worth adding to their own personal libraries.

UB40 Live at Montreux 2002 is available now in stores and online.  More information on this and other releases in the Live at Montreux series from Eagle Rock Entertainment and Montreux Sounds is available online at http://www.eagle-rock.com and http://www.facebook.com/EagleRockEnt.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Black Utopia Re-Issue Another Hit For Sherinian

Courtesy:  Armoury Records/Eagle RockEntertainment

Courtesy: Armoury Records/Eagle RockEntertainment

Derek Sherinian’s second solo album Black Utopia is an interesting work from this world renowned keyboardist.  There is so much to say about this record and not enough space or time to go into everything.  So instead of rambling, we’ll hit on the main points of what makes this album just as enjoyable for Sherinian’s fans the second time around as it was in its original release.   The first aspect of this album that makes it so enjoyable is its sequencing.  That is to say the order of the songs.  The second factor that listeners will appreciate (especially those that might be hearing the album for the first time) is the A-list guest stars that agreed to be a part of this album.  The third factor in the success of the album’s re-issue is the reworked liner notes.  All three of these factors together make Black Utopia an album that any Derek Sherinian fan will appreciate just as much in its new re-issue as they did in its initial release some ten years ago.

The success of Black Utopia is thanks in large part to its sequencing.  The album’s sequencing greatly exhibits the understanding of and appreciation for music possessed by both Derek Sherinian and co-producer Simon Phillips.  The pair treat Black Utopia as if they were creating a set list for a live show.  The energy of the songs rises and falls just enough throughout the course of the album’s nine tracks to keep listeners fully engaged.  That energy rises and falls just enough within the context of the songs themselves to make the energy in the transitions between songs even more impactful.  It shows on a deeper level, the pair’s understanding of and appreciation for their craft.  The resultant effect is one the makes this album one of those rare albums that listeners will want to take in from start to finish without skipping even one song. It’s just the starting point of the album’s success, too. And that’s saying something.

Black Utopia’s success is thanks in large part to its sequencing.  The sequencing of the songs would be moot without the music crafted by Sherinian and the guest musicians that make appearances on this album.  That is the second factor in this album’s creation that makes it a success.  Sherinian invited some of the biggest names in the business to join him on this record.  And it’s a good thing they accepted his invitation.  Among those major names are the likes of Simon Phillips (The Who, Judas Priest, Gary Moore, etc.), Zakk Wylde (Ozzy Osbourne, Black Label Society), Al Di Meola (Return To Forever, Chick Corea), Yngwie Malmsteen, Billy Sheehan (Steve Vai, David Lee Roth, Mr. Big) and others.  Their talents are well shared throughout the record.  The whole group teams up on the album’s opener for what is without a doubt one of the album’s absolute best works.  Malmsteen puts on a virtual clinic with his shredding, while Sherinian himself manages somehow to mix in a touch of jazz/fusion at one point, adding even more flare and substance to the song.  And the combination of Zakk Wylde, Simon Phillips, Tony Franklin and Jerry Goodman on ‘Nightmare Cinema’ is incredible.  Sherinian’s etherial keyboard part set against Phillips’ drumming early on perfectly illustrates the song’s title.  It establishes quite the eerie vibe.  The eventual addition of Wylde on guitar adds even more depth to the song as it progresses.  It is simply something that must be heard in order to be fully appreciated.  The same can be noted of the album’s remaining tracks.  Sherinian  and his fellow musicians come together on each song to show just why their addition to Black Utopia is such an important part of the album’s overall success.

The who’s  who of musicians recruited to record Black Utopia alongside Derek Sherinian is just as important to the success of the album as its sequencing.  Without the talent of the musicians in question, the sequencing would not be all that important to discuss.  Thankfully that wasn’t the case here.  And because it wasn’t the case, it leaves only one remaining factor to note of this re-issue.  The factor in question is the updated liner notes included with the album.  This time out, Black Utopia includes an article crafted by journalist Joe Lalaina, of Guitar World magazine.  Lalaina outlines the album in his own words.  Sherinian’s own thoughts on Black Utopia are also included as a follow-up to Lalaina.  Listeners will take special interest in Sherinian’s comment about working with Brian Tichy (Something Unto Nothing, Ozzy Osbourne, Billy Idol).  He notes that it was his friendship and working relationship with Tichy that led the pair to work together on this album.  There’s also mention of his excitement of working with both Yngwie Malmsteen and Al Di Meola.  One of his comments in particular regarding this can’t be repeated here.  But it will most definitely have listeners laughing.  It’s the finishing touch to an album that any hard rock fan should hear at least once now that it has been re-issued by Armoury Records.  More information on this and other albums from Derek Sherinian is available online at http://www.dereksherinian.com.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Eagle Rock Still The Standard With Release Of Morrisey’s ’25 Live’

Courtesy:  Eagle Rock Entertainment

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

Steven Patrick Morrisey—a.k.a. Morrisey—has been making music for almost three decades.  He started his career as the front man of the British rock band The Smiths way back in the 1980s.  Since that time, Morrisey eventually struck out on his own and made quite the name for himself in the process.  Now all those years after he first rose to stardom, Eagle Rock Entertainment has offered to Morrisey’s fans a special treat in the form of his new live DVD and Blu-ray, 25 Live.  This extensive live recording is one more example of why Eagle Rock remains the sole leader in live recordings.  The nearly ninety-minute performance boasts some nineteen songs that span Morrisey’s career.  The audio and video mix serve to make the concert even more enjoyable for fans.    Add in a bonus live, in-studio session complete with four performances and audiences will agree that they get in this recording, a real treat for any long-time Morrisey fan.

The very first aspect of 25 Live that audiences will appreciate is its career spanning set list.  The concert’s set list runs nineteen songs deep and just short of ninety-minutes.  Morrisey and his backing band—including veteran Morrisey guitarist Boz Boorer—waste no time getting the crowd moving as it kicks into ‘Alma Mater’ and ‘Ouija Board, Ouija Board’  The band’s energy barely lets up even for a second throughout the course of the concert.  The most incredible moment of the concert comes in the show’s closing number, ‘The Boy With The Thorn In His Side.’  It’s during this final song of the night that the audience in attendance basically erupts.  People in the audience start trying to rush the stage if only to get close to Morrisey.  His security detail was quick to whisk said individuals back into the crowd.  But the last person to get up on stage, they leave alone.  That last person is a young boy that could not have been more than perhaps ten or eleven years old.  The security guards instantly back off as Morrisey welcomes the boy and keeps singing at the same time, not missing even a single note.  That showed real class both on the part of Morrisey and his security team.  It shows the respect that he [Morrisey] has for his fans.  It’s a short moment.  But it’s one of the concert’s truly moving moments.  There are other great moments throughout the show.  And fans will each find their own favorite moments when they purchase this concert for themselves.

The set list that makes up 25 Live is key to the enjoyment of this recording for Morrisey’s fans.  But the set list would be nothing without the show’s expert audio and video mix.  Director James Russell is more than deserving of his share of applause for his work on the show.  The almost frantic manner in which the show is captured from song to song adds to the energy exuded by Morrisey and company as they perform for their fans.  The audio mix manned by Tim Summerhayes adds even more to the viewing experience.  As much goes on in the course of each song, it would have been so easy to let the mix get out of hand.  But that wasn’t the case here.  Each part complimented the other just as well as the various shots of the show.  That expert audio and video mix set alongside the show’s set list make 25 Live all the more enjoyable.  Though there is still one more factor to consider with the recording that puts it over the top.  That factor is the show’s bonus live, in-studio session puts this recording over the top.

The set list included in 25 Live and its audio and video mix all combine to make the recording’s main feature a joy for any of Morrisey’s fans.  The show’s bonus live, in-studio session puts the whole presentation over the top.  The bonus live, in-studio includes exclusive performances of four songs.  Those songs are: ‘The Kid’s A Looker’, ‘Scandinavia’, ‘Action Is My Middle Name’ and ‘People Are The Same Everywhere.’  These are performances that fans won’t get anywhere else.  And while it is just four songs, somehow Morrisey and company make them feel like so much more.  It’s difficult to put a finger on just how this is possible, but each song feels like it has so much substance about it.  It is the finishing touch on this presentation and puts the whole thing over the top.  Fans can experience it all for themselves when they pick up the DVD or Blu-ray for themselves. It is available now in stores and online.  More information on this and other releases from Eagle Rock Information is available online at http://www.eagle-rock.com and http://www.facebook.com/EagleRockEnt.  More information on Morrisey is available online at http://www.facebook.com/Morrisey.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Armoury Records Gives Sherinian’s Latest Solo Effort A Proper Re-Issue

Courtesy:  Armoury Records/Eagle Rock Entertainment

Courtesy: Armoury Records/Eagle Rock Entertainment

Every year, consumers see any number of albums re-issued from a variety of artists, groups, and bands. The reasons for those re-issues are as varied as the re-issues themselves. It goes without saying that among that annual mass of music, some of it is worth the purchase, while some of it is not as worthwhile. Keyboardist Derek Sherinian saw all of his solo releases re-issued this week. Those albums are among the re-issues that are worth purchasing. This is especially the case for those that are long-time fans of his music. Sherinian proved throughout each of his solo releases that he was just as good on his own as he was with any of the bands and artists with whom he had already worked over the course of his career. One of the best examples of that talent is his 2009 release, Molecular Heinosity.

Molecular Heinosityis the fifth and most recent of Sherinian’s solo releases. As with his previous four solo releases, this record is largely an instrumental release. The sole song on this album that includes any lyrics is one of two pieces he recorded with long-time friend and Black Label Society front man Zakk Wylde. The song in question is ‘So Far Gone.’ Audiences will also be interested to note that Brian Tichy joins Sherinian on this track. Tichy has also played drums for the likes of Ozzy Osbourne, Billy Idol, and Zakk WYlde on Wylde’s 199 release Pride& Glory. Most recently, Tichy played with the hard rock supergroup Something Unto Nothing. So it goes without saying that there is a certain level of familiarity between the trio. And it shows in this song, too. The trio–along with fellow musicians Tina Guo (cello) and Tony Franklin (fretless bass)–come together to make this one of the album’s best pieces. Wylde proves once again on this song why he is one of the most revered guitarists in the music business. And Tichy’s timekeeping is rock solid despite the various time signature changes throughout the song. Sherinian’s work on the keys is not to be ignored, either. Whether by himself, partnered with Tina Guo’s performance on cello or even the semi-call and response with Wylde in the song’s bridge, Sherinian shows time and again in this song why he is such a sought after musician even after so many decades in the business. This isn’t the only point at which he exhibits such talent on this record. Another of the album’s high points comes in the album’s second track, titled ‘Ascension.’

‘Ascension’ is one of this album’s high points especially in that it boasts something of a similarity to the music he wrote with his former band mates in Dream Theater. To be even more precise, it sounds stylistically like the music that he wrote with his now ex-band mates for the band’s 1997 album Falling Into Infinity.  What is most interesting of all in this song is just how much is going on within the context of the song’s near three-minute run time.  That’s right.  This song comes in at less than three minutes in length.  To be more exact, it clocks in at two minutes and fifteen seconds.  That’s pretty short.  Yet, the way that it gradually builds, from start to finish makes it so interesting.  Making it even more interesting is what would appear to be Sherinian mimicking a guitar part with his keyboard in this song.  If that is indeed the case, he is to be even more highly commended.  That’s because that part could easily pass as a guitar.  And it shows even more his understanding of and appreciation for his instrument.  The song’s musical effect overall shows his knowledge of music and his talent just as much.  All of that together makes this song all the more enjoyable.

The songs that comprise Molecular Heinosity each have their own musical identity.  Collectively, they make the entire album one that any fan of Sherinian will enjoy.  Now that it has been re-issued courtesy of Armoury Records, the music is just part of the album’s success.  Just as important to this re-issue is the new companion booklet.  Most people don’t pay too much attention to the liner notes that come with albums in their physical form.  But as audiences will see in the album’s new liner notes, there’s plenty to take in.  This album for instance gives listeners a bio of sorts on Sherinian and his career.  It goes all the way back to his days playing with Alice Cooper and Billy Idol as well as a little surprise background on his departure from Dream Theater.  This critic was surprised to learn that he didn’t leave Dream Theater, but was in fact let go from the band.    Along with the semi-career bio, Armoury Records also included background notes from Sherinian on a handful of songs.  That background info gives extra insight into said songs.  It’s too bad that more bands, artists, and musicians don’t do this.  It’s one more reason that the physical object will never be fully replaced by the digital.  Little things like background notes on songs as art of the liner notes serve to enhance one’s listening experience.  And this album is no exception to that rule.  The bonus liner notes and bio included in this new re-issue are wonderful compliments to the album’s music.  Together, they make the whole product again, one that any fan of Derek Sherinian will want to add to their library especially if they do not already own this record.  It is available now in stores and online and can be ordered direct from Derek Sherinian’s official website at http://www.dereksherinian.com/merchandise.htm.  More information on this and other releases from Derek Sherinian is available online at http://www.dereksherinian.com.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Eagle Rock’s New Doors Documentary A Whole New Look At A Legendary Band

Courtesy:  Eagle Rock Entertainment

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

Eagle Rock Entertainment has released a number of pieces centered on The Doors in recent year.  Between the likes of Mr. Mojo Risin’ to Live at The Hollywood Bowl to this most recent release, Eagle Rock has painted a fully vivid picture of just what continues to make this band beloved by fans of all ages decades after the band’s final performance. R-Evolution is another special addition to Eagle Rock’s growing catalogue of recordings and documentaries from The Doors for a number of reasons.  The primary reason for its success is that it examines the band from an angle which it has never done so before.  That angle is how the band evolved over time in the public spotlight of television. Audiences get to see the band performing its hits on the likes of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, The Jonathan Winters Show, and so many others.  These performances offer a whole new glimpse into the band.  Making this latest release even more enjoyable is its compliment of bonus features.  Included with both the DVD and Blu-ray presentation of R-Evolution are: an extra near hour-long documentary as well as a bonus live performance of ‘Break On Through (To The Other Side).  That’s not all that fans get, either from the included bonus.  The real highlight of the bonus features will be discussed at more length later.  The last aspect of Eagle Rock’s latest in its ongoing tribute to The Doors that makes it so worthwhile for fans of this groundbreaking band is that it will be available in both a standard and deluxe edition when it is released later this month.  It’s the last part of what makes this latest release a must have for any true fan of The Doors.

The first aspect of R-Evolution that audiences will appreciate is the fact that it presents the band in a fashion like never before.  Eagle Rock has shown the band from a personal level in Mr. Mojo Risin’.  It has shown the band in its natural live setting in Live at the Hollywood Bowl.  Now, fans of this groundbreaking band see the band grow through the use of television in this release.  Knowing the band’s reputation—and especially that of its equally legendary front man Jim Morrison—it’s kind of odd to see Morrison and his band mates dressed so prim and proper early on in its performance on Shebang.  Here was a band that was the antithesis of bands like The Beatles dressed almost like John, Paul, George, and Ringo.  The change in the band is obvious as the years pass.  It’s especially interesting to see the remaining band members perform in the post-Morrison years.  It’s something that audiences can only appreciate by seeing for themselves.  It should be noted on the side that there is some brief nudity in the main presentation.  So viewers should use their discretion in viewing it.

The performances themselves that have been culled for this musical documentary are of course the foundation of its success.  They aren’t however the only part of its success.  Making this latest release even more of a joy for fans of The Doors is the extensive bonus features included as part of the whole.  Audiences are treated to a bonus live performance of ‘Break On Through (To The Other Side)’ as part of the collective bonuses.  Also included as a bonus is a near hour-long documentary on The Doors titled ‘Break Through The Lens.’  This documentary adds more depth to the songs and performances included in the main feature. It also serves to expand on the Doors documentaries already released by Eagle Rock Entertainment in recent years.  As nice as these additions are, the real gem of R-Evolution’s bonuses is the picture-in-picture commentary. The option of having PIP allows viewers to take in the main feature all while taking in the remaining Doors members’ thoughts on the recordings.  It knocks down two obstacles at one time.  For that addition, those behind R-Evolution are to be highly commended.

Those behind R-Evolution are to be commended for making available PIP commentary.  They are just as worthy of praise for the last factor in this presentation’s success.  That factor is the availability of R-Evolution in both standard edition and deluxe edition.  R-Evolution has been made available both in standard edition and expanded deluxe edition on both Blu-ray and DVD.  The deluxe edition comes complete with a bonus forty-page booklet loaded with trivia on the band, photos, lyrics and so much more.  This collection of extras is well worth the extra cost for any true blooded Doors fan.  Regardless of whether one picks up the standard or deluxe edition of R-Evolution, there is no denying that this upcoming musical documentary is quite the way for Eagle Rock Entertainment to kick off 2014.  More information on this and other releases from Eagle Rock Entertainment is available online at http://www.eaglerockent.com and http://www.facebook.com/EagleRockEnt.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Eagle Rock’s Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert Re-Issue An Amazing Way To Finish Off The Year

Courtesy:  Eagle Rock Entertainment

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

Freddie Mercury, the late front man of the legendary rock band Queen, was in his time one of the single most charismatic vocalists in the music industry.  Many vocalists have tried to emulate the legendary singer’s energy and style.  Few if any have succeeded.  Sadly, Freddy Mercury was taken from the world in 1991, one of so many victims of the then emerging AIDS epidemic.  The music world paid tribute to his legacy and memory in 1992 with a special live tribute concert.  The concert, held at London’s Wembley Stadium has become one of the biggest and most  powerful live concert events of the Twentieth Century, even after more than two decades since it was originally held.  The only concert event that could compare to this event is Woodstock ’94.  And now thanks to Eagle Rock Entertainment, the legacy of Freddie Mercury lives on once again thanks to the Blu-ray release of The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert.  While this SD Blu-ray release of The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert is not the first time that the concert has been released to the masses, this release is the concert’s best yet.    There is so much to be said of this latest re-issue.  The best place to start is the overall audio and video presentation.  Those charged with resurrecting the original footage are to be commended as the concert is presented here in its full original glory.  Audiences get to see the show as it looked in its original recording.  The audio sounds just as good.  This is especially the case for those with home theater systems.  The cinematography is incredible to say the least.  The crowd shots and shots of the crowd from the stage are collectively the epitome of the adage that a picture is worth a thousand words.  And of course, there is also the show’s set list and list of performers.  Both by themselves and collectively, they make a bold statement that puts the finishing touch on this incredible latest re-issue from Eagle Rock Entertainment.

The first and most obvious factor to investigate in Eagle Rock’s new re-issue of The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert is the audio and video mix.  This concert was recorded almost twenty-two years ago.  April 20th, 2014 will mark the twenty-second anniversary of this landmark concert.  Being that high definition recording was still years away when this concert was recorded, it’s obvious that the quality of the footage would not be crystal clear in this presentation.  But Eagle Rock openly noted on the recording’s case that this presentation is a Standard Definition Blu-ray.  That means that Eagle Rock openly notes that the presentation contained therein is a standard definition recording.  Those expecting pure 1080 quality video have only misled themselves.  Eagle Rock Entertainment is not to blame here.  That the footage still looks as good as it does over two decades later is a testament to those charged with maintaining and resurrecting it.  And having the option to set one’s TV to “Cinema” to gain the full concert video experience only serves to make it even better.

The quality of the concert’s video footage is impressive to say the very least.  It is presented in its original 4:3 aspect ratio.  Though, with the advent of high definition televisions, most viewers can set their monitors to present the concert in full “Cinema” mode.  That mode shows better than any how well the footage has stood the test of time.  The audio mix is just as impressive as the video in terms of its quality.  Every riff, every beat, and every chorus from the crowd of thousands is enhanced on this re-issue.  In comparison to the concert’s previous releases, the audio mix has never sounded better.  It has been enhanced so much that at times, the echoes of Brian May’s voice as he talked will make audiences think they are actually there in person.  It has been mixed that well.  That is quite the testament to those charged with restoring this concert to its former glory.  And along with the footage, it is one part of a very strong cornerstone of this recording.

The video and audio mixes serve collectively as a solid base for The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert.  The concert’s cinematography adds an extra element of enjoyment to the recording, too.  Much as was the case with Eagle Rock’s release of The Rolling Stones’ Hyde Park Live this Fall, the camera shots obtained over the course of this concert are extraordinary.  There is something to be said about an entire stadium full of people singing in unison, arms high in the air, clapping in time. The visual effect both from the stage and from high above the sea of bodies is something that cannot be put into words.  It is something that must be seen to be fully appreciated.  Even seeing the shots in question from one’s own sofa, bed, etc. is awe inspiring.  They collectively go to show the love that so many people had for Freddie Mercury and for Queen.  While the concert’s audio and video mixes are the foundation on which the concert rests, the shots obtained by the camera crews give the show its shape.  And what a shape those crews give the concert.

As one should be able to tell from everything noted already, there is much to like about Eagle Rock Entertainment’s new re-issue of The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert on SD Blu-ray.  Much has already been examined with this latest release from the leader in live recordings.  But it would not be complete without making mention of the concert’s set list and its equally diverse lineup of performers.  The show itself is set up into two separate segments.  The first of those segments is the “Opening Acts” segment.  This segment allows some of the acts tapped to perform at the concert to perform their own music and warm up the crowd at the same time.  This segment runs the gamut to say the very least.  It opens with a trio of songs from Metallica and follows that up with a medley of Queen hits courtesy of Extreme.  Guns N’ Roses (the original Guns N’ Roses) closes out the opening acts segments.  Def Leppard is also one of the opening acts.  Their front man, Joe Elliot, joins Elton John, George Michael, David Bowie, Annie Lennox, and so many other acts from across the music industry for the “Main Show” segment of the recording.  Having such a wide array of artists covering the music of one band is a bold statement.  It shows the impact that Queen had on them as bands and artists.  It also goes to show the respect that those bands and artists had for Freddie Mercury.  It goes to show the kind of person he was and how important he was to so many around him.  Keeping that in mind while watching the incredible shots, and hearing the equally incredible song selections is sure to bring a smile and maybe even a tear to some viewers’ faces.  If it does one, the other, or both, then it has most certainly done its job.  It means that Eagle Rock is that much more justified in once again unearthing this important piece of music history.  It is available now in stores and online.  More information on this and other live recordings from Eagle Rock Entertainment is available online at http://www.eaglerockent.com and http://www.facebook.com/EagleRockEnt.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Thorogood & Company Put On A Real Rock Party In Their First Ever Montreux Show

Courtesy:  Eagle Rock Entertainment/Eagle Vision

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment/Eagle Vision

Eagle Rock Entertainment and Montreux Sounds formed a new landmark business partnership a year or so ago.  The partnership in question allowed Eagle Rock distribution rights for a number of new and archived shows that were recorded at what is one of music’s most revered festivals.  And the recordings in question have been nothing short of impressive.  From the likes of Miles Davis, Stan Getz, and Etta James to newer acts such as The Raconteurs, the Montreux Jazz Festival has seen some of the industry’s top names take its storied stages.  Now, one more piece of the legendary festival’s history has been released to the masses in the form of George Thorogood & The Destroyers Live at Montreux 2013.  The concert, which was recorded this past July, marked the first time that Thorogood and his band mates—Jeff Simon (drums), Bill Blough (bass), Jim Suhler (guitar/vocals), and Buddy Leach (saxophone)–had ever performed at the venue.  And Thorogood himself makes note of his excitement at getting to finally perform at Montreux after more than two decades.  That excitement pored over throughout the band’s entire performance, too.  It’s one of the key factors of this recording that makes it so fun to take in.  The band’s set list is another reason that fans will enjoy this recording.  Thorogood and his band mates hit on every one of their major hit songs.  There is even a tribute to Johnny Cash thrown in for good measure.  If that isn’t enough for fans, the combination of the recording’s bonus interview and companion booklet will push the recording over the top.  They, along with the set list and the band’s performance, make this recording one more huge success from Eagle Rock Entertainment and Montreux Sounds.

George Thorogood has been making music and performing for over four decades.  So it comes as quite the surprise that 2013 marked the first time that he and his band mates played the famed Montreux Jazz Festival.  The festival, which started out mainly as a venue for the top names in jazz and blues, has grown each year to incorporate bands and artists from across the musical spectrum.  Thorogood and his band mates obviously held no ill will toward festival organizers when they took the stage at the festival.  Thorogood makes no bones concerning his excitement at finally being invited to perform at Montreux.  His positive energy isn’t confined to just that one moment, either.  From the high energy opener that is ‘Rock Party’ to hits like ‘I Drink Alone’, ‘Bad to the Bone’, and ‘Madison Blues’, the band exudes so much energy and excitement.  The audience in attendance feeds off of every bit of that excitement, too.  The mutual sharing of excitement and energy can be felt even by viewers watching this recording from the comfort of their own living rooms or bedrooms.  Home viewers may even find themselves feeding off of that excitement, dancing around and playing air guitar, etc.  That shows just how much fun Thorogood and company make their performance for all of their audiences.  Home viewers will discover this for themselves when they order or purchase the recording for themselves on DVD and Blu-ray.

The positive energy and excitement exuded by Thorogood and company is key to the overall enjoyment of this recording.  Whether one is seeing the concert for the first time or reliving the concert again, everybody can agree that the band’s stage performance alone is enough reason to take in this concert.  Just as important to the overall enjoyment of this concert recording is the set list chosen for the performance.  Fans won’t be disappointed at the set list chosen for the concert.  The veteran rockers included all of their fan favorites over the course of the near ninety-minute set.  From the likes of ‘I Drink Alone’ to the band’s now famous cover of John Lee Hooker’s ‘One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer’ to the Johnny Cash tribute in ‘Cocaine Blues’, the band leaves little if anything on the table.  Audiences will especially appreciate that in the tribute to the late country singer, Thorogood actually seems to channel him.  He actually sounds like Cash, vocally speaking, at points in the song.  The same can be said of his guitar work, too.  It is just one of so many high points offered throughout the course of the concert.  And it’s just one more part of what makes the recording as a whole so enjoyable for audiences of all ages.  It’s not the last, either.  The bonus interview and companion booklet included in with the DVD and Blu-ray put the finishing touch on this recording.

The songs chosen for this concert and the band’s performance collectively make up the most important and impressive part of this latest recording from Eagle Rock Entertainment and Montreux Sounds.  There is still one part of the overall presentation of this recording that puts it over the top.  That last part ifs the collective bonus interview and companion booklet.  The show’s bonus sit-down with Thorogood shows that the persona presented on stage was as real as it comes.  Audiences get even more insight into his excitement over playing Montreux at long last.  And through the show’s companion booklet, audiences get a brief history of Thorogood’s career leading up to his performance at Montreux.  Audiences will be interested to learn that along with George Thorogood and The Destroyers, ZZ Top was at Montreux this year, as were Prince, Sting, Ben Harper, Deep Purple, Leonard Cohen, and so many others.  It’s just a tiny piece of the whole history that audiences will enjoy learning in reading through the included literature.  And together with everything already mentioned, that history and the bonus interview make this presentation complete.  It all collectively makes this latest release one more huge success from Eagle Rock Entertainment and Montreux Sounds.  It is available now in stores and online and can be ordered direct from Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Live-At-Montreux-2013-Blu-ray/dp/B00FFLBXJQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1387537259&sr=1-1&keywords=george+thorogood+%26+the+destroyers+live+at+montreux+2013.  More information on this and other concerts in Eagle Rock’s ongoing Montreux series of concerts is available online at http://www.eaglerockent.com and http://www.facebook.com/EagleRockEnt.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

“Concerto” Documentary A Fitting Tribute To Lord’s Memory

Courtesy:   Eagle  Rock Entertainment/Thompson Music/E.A.R. Music

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment/Thompson Music/E.A.R. Music

When Metallica recorded its now fan favorite live album S&M with the San Francisco Symphony, that recording was lauded by fans and critics alike. The praise showered on the band was fully justified. It was considered by some to be a groundbreaking performance because it was the coming together of two entirely separate musical worlds. What many people might not know is that S&M was not in fact the first time that the two worlds have come together. Former Deep Purple member Jon Lord crafted and performed his now famous Concerto for Group and Orchestra almost forty-five years ago in 1969. That performance was truly groundbreaking. Sadly, cancer claimed Lord in July of 2012. Thanks to Eagle Rock Entertainment though, Lord’s opus finally saw the light of day that same year. And now again thanks to Eagle Rock, audiences are taken even deeper into Lord’s majestic and magical composition thanks to a new documentary on that record. There is a lot to like about this recently released documentary. The documentary’s behind-the-scenes main feature is the main portion of what audiences will appreciate in this release.  Audiences are provided a history of Lord’s original performance of his opus in order to set up the more recent recording session.  As part of the recording process, viewers will also get to hear from some big names that helped bring the recording to life. Audiences will also appreciate that not only are they taken behind the scenes of the recording’s birth, but they are also provided with two opportunities to hear the recording in the new Blu-ray presentation.  It is included both as a bonus feature on the Blu-ray itself, and as its own separate CD as even more of a bonus.  All of this taken into consideration makes the documentary on Jon Lord’s Concert for Group & Orchestra quite the interesting work.

Far too many record labels in today’s music industry add “making of documentaries” to their new albums and try to pawn them off on fans as something special.  The problem is that so few of those “documentaries” in question are really worth the extra money shelled out by hard working audiences.  Jon Lord: Concerto for Group& is not one of those releases.  This documentary gives audiences a full history of the former Deep Purple member’s iconic song, from its very first ever performance in 1969 at the famed Royal Albert Hall to its first non-live recording in 2012.  Audiences see just how much work went into putting his composition to record.  It’s a fitting tribute to the musician, who sadly lost his battle with cancer just last year.  From the initial setup to the recording of each part and everything in-between, viewers will see that this isn’t just another one of those albums where each part was recorded separately in different studios.  This understanding will generate a whole new appreciation for the song and everything that went into actually doing a “studio” recording of it.  This applies to listeners that are both more familiar with Lord’s work and those that might be less so.

Along the course of the documentary, viewers get to hear from some of the biggest names in the rock world that took part in the recording process.  Those names include greats such as Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden and blues/rock guitar great Joe Bonamassa among so many others.  The respect shared between them and Lord is obvious through their shared commentary and by the seriousness with which they approached their respective roles in the overall composition.

The overall presentation of the documentary here is exceptional to say the least.  From the composition’s history to its first official studio recording, so much information is shared on its importance.  As impressive as the main feature is, Eagle Rock didn’t stop there.  Eagle Rock has included as a bonus for fans, the complete Concerto for Group & Orchestra both on its own CD and as a bonus feature on the primary Blu-ray disc.  And it’s not all that is included as a bonus, either.  Eagle Rock has exceeded expectations once again with this documentary’s bonus material.  Also included as bonus material is are interviews with Paul Mann and Marco de Groeji.  Mann conducted the orchestra assembled for the new recording of Concerto for Group & Orchestra.  The insight that he shares is something special.  That’s because of his understanding of and appreciation for the worlds of both rock and classical, as well as for Lord himself.  His interview and that with others involved with the record’s production more than live up to the title of bonus features. Together with the documentary’s main feature, they collectively make this release one that transcends genres.  It’s one that fans of both classical and rock will enjoy. It is available now in stores and online.   More information on this and other releases from Eagle Rock Entertainment is available online at http://www.eaglerockent.com and http://www.facebook.com/EagleRockEnt.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

New Tribute Concert Shows Garcia’s Lasting Legacy

Courtesy:  Eagle Rock Entertainment

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

2013 has been another banner year for Eagle Rock Entertainment.  The leader in Love Recordings has run the gamut once more this year, releasing live recordings after live recording that audiences of every age will appreciate.  Among some of the year’s best from Eagle Rock are: The Rolling Stones’ Sweet Summer Sun: Hyde Park Live, Caro Emerald: In Concert, and Miles Davis’ Live 1991 Montreux set just to name a few.  Now as the days become shorter and the year winds down, Eagle Rock has shown that it still has no plans of slowing down with its release of Move Me Brightly.  This live recording is truly a concert film in every sense.  It’s one that any and every classic rock fan will appreciate.  Classic rock fans will appreciate this recording first and foremost because it is a celebration of Jerry Garcia and his music.  It is a visual and musical tribute to a music legend.  The thing is that it isn’t Garcia.  Rather it is a collection of his fellow musicians paying homage to him and his music.  The lineup of artists included in this recording is one more reason for music lovers to check it out.  And unlike so many of the recordings released by Eagle Rock this year, it isn’t a massive arena show.  It is a much more intimate performance.  Along with the performance are short vignettes from Garcia’s fellow musicians expressing in their own words what Jerry Garcia and his music means to them personally.  Their thoughts are enlightening and moving.  The thoughts of said musicians works in conjunction with the performance itself and the list of performers to make Move Me Brightly yet another impressive live recording from Eagle Rock.  It collectively makes this a recording that any classic rock fan will want to watch at least once.

Former Grateful Dead front man and music legend Jerry Garcia would have been seventy-one years young this past August if he were still with us.  Sadly, almost two decades have passed since he left us.  Thanks to Eagle Rock Entertainment, Garcia’s legions around the world can still celebrate his memory and music thanks to the new live recording, Move Me Brightly.  This isn’t like so many of the live recordings released by Eagle Rock so far this year.  It is a much more intimate performance recorded at Bob Weir’s TRI Studio.  That intimacy of the venue sets the tone for the concert contained on the show’s Blu-ray and DVD presentation.  The recording’s run time totals just over three hours counting the bonus performances.  Over the course of that time, fans are presented with a total of sixteen songs.  It all opens with a performance of ‘Cumberland Blues’ and proceeds into so many other greats including: ‘Shakedown Street’, ‘Days Between’, ‘U.S. Blues’ and quite a few more fan favorites.  ‘Days Between’ is one of the most moving of the recording’s moments.  That is because it comes after a recollection of the day that Jerry Garcia died.  The song’s somber, subdued sounds take on a whole new meaning, having taken in the moving story shared by just one of Garcia’s fellow musicians.  The gentle strains of a piano set against Bob Weir’s strained singing will bring a tear to any pure blooded Garcia fan’s eye.  It is but one of so many incredible moments shared in this recording.  Of course fans and audiences will find their own favorite moment(s) when they purchase or order this new live recording for themselves.

The primary concert feature included in Move Me Brightly is the most important part of the overall recording contained on this new DVD and Blu-ray.  Adding to the overall enjoyment factor is the concert’s lineup of performers.  As already noted, this isn’t just another Jerry Garcia recording or even Grateful Dead recording.  It is a tribute concert that pays respect to the memory and music of a great man.  Bob Weir is there, obviously.  Phish’s own Phil Lesh is, too along with Donna Jean Godchaux among so many others.  There are so many names from music’s past and present (and even from different rock subgenres) that it would be impossible to name them all.  But that so many different artists of so many ages and background came together in one intimate setting just goes to show the impact that Garcia and his music had and continues to have to this day.  That is a bold and wholly justified statement.  And it’s just one more reason for Dead Heads the world over to check out this recording.

Jerry Garcia’s music has had a lasting influence on the music world as a whole to this very day.  That is crystal clear by the collection of artists joined together in this recording to pay respect to his life and work.  If the amalgam of artists joined together for this concert isn’t enough for fans, then maybe the bonus interview segments will help fans make their decision on this recording.  Perry Farrell (Jane’s Addiction), John Doe (X), and Carlos Santana are all interviewed and asked to share their thoughts on what Jerry Garcia and his music means to them today.  They may not be performing on stage.  But their thoughts are heartfelt, thoughtful and loving.  His own former manager from the Jerry Garcia Band days even jokes warmly about keeping one of Jerry’s picks with him to this day.  He joke that he keeps it because when he finally meets Jerry again, he knows that’ll be the very first thing that Jerry asks for.  It could almost be argued to be a playful eulogistic sort of statement.  And it’s just one of so many great thoughts and memories shared by his friends and family in those vignettes.  Together with the set list, the venue, and the performers tapped to perform his songs, Move Me Brightly easily becomes a recording that every Dead Head and classic rock fan will want to see at least once.  It is available now in stores and online.  More information on this and other live recordings from Eagle Rock is available online at http://www.eaglerockent.com and http://www.facebook.comEagleRockEnt.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.