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.

Saga’s Latest Live Recording A Welcome Return For Fans

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

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

Veteran Canadian prog-rock band Saga has been making music for over thirty-five years.  The band has had its share of ups and downs through those three decades plus. From lineup changes to flying just under the mainstream radar, the band’s members have managed to stick it out the entire time and make album after album that fans have largely applauded.  Unlike its fellow and far more popular counterparts in Rush, Saga never found the success of Geddy Lee, Neil Peart, and Alex Lifeson.  The band did however find success in its home country and across Europe.  Now nearly four decades since the band originally formed and released its self-titled debut record, Saga is back once again with its latest live release, Spin It Again!: Live in Munich.  Most of Saga’s fan base will welcome this new live release first and foremost because it has been made available separately on Blu-ray and double-disc CD.  This separation gives fans the option to add the performance in either format or both.  Also worthy of note in this new release is its set list.  It would be impossible for the band to cover its entire catalogue of songs in just one performance.  But the songs included in this performance cover a healthy portion of the band’s material.  One more aspect of the release to take into consideration is that by and large, Saga has very rarely played any American dates.  So having both the double-disc CD and Blu-ray portion of the concert available for the band’s U.S. fans is the proverbial icing on the cake for this release.  It makes the whole presentation whole, and that much more worth adding to any fan’s collection.

Saga’s new live release, Spin It Again!: Live in Munich was recorded five years after the band’s last breakup.  Considering that so much time passed between that breakup and eventual reunion and concert, the band collectively sounds like it hadn’t missed a beat.  And thanks to Eagle Rock Entertainment, the band’s fans have been given the choice of enjoying this performance either on Blu-ray or double-disc CD.  This is pretty much standard for every live recording released through Eagle Rock Entertainment.  There will always be those critics that would like to discredit such packaging methods.  They do so because of the costs to the consumer versus bundling.  That will always be an issue.  However, by splitting the recording into two separate formats, Eagle Rock is giving audiences options.  The most obvious hypothetical situation to consider is that perhaps one format is not available but the other is.  It’s better for fans to have something than nothing, right?  Right.  To that extent, Eagle Rock is worthy of applause once again for separating Saga’s reunion show rather than bundling it.  This is just one reason that fans of Saga will appreciate this new recording.

The availability of Spin It Again!: Live in Munich is just one reason that Saga’s more seasoned fans will appreciate this latest live recording.  The show’s set list is another reason for fans to applaud this new release.  The recording presents a respectable amount of material from the band’s expansive catalogue of material.  Fans of Dream Theater’s older material circa 1992 will appreciate the set list.  That’s because some of the material presented by Saga here will instantly conjure thoughts of Dream Theater’s breakout 1992 album Images and Words.  That’s especially the case with ‘The Perfectionist’and the concert’s opening number, ‘Anywhere You Wanna Go.’  The remainder of the band’s performance runs the gamut.  Fans will hear plenty of music that is more in line with material from the band’s American hair metal counterparts that rose to fame in the 1980s and early 1990s.

The songs chosen for Saga’s performance in Munich are just as important to the recording’s overall presentation as the fact that the show is presented in two separate formats.  Having the presentation in two separate formats is important in its own right.  On a deeper level, the very fact that Eagle Rock Entertainment has made this concert available for fans outside of Canada is highly important.  It is important because otherwise, fans of a band such as Saga would be severely limited in their options concerning experiencing the band’s live show.  That Eagle Rock Entertainment has made the show available not on one but two formats gives fans outside of the band’s more often toured regions the chance to experience the band live, too.  The resulting effect of this is that it could even help spread the word of Saga to other audiences that perhaps had never heard of the band themselves.  Yet again, Eagle Rock is more than deserving of any and all praise that it receives for taking the time to release this concert to the masses.  It is available now on Blu-ray and double-disc Blu-ray.  More information on this release and more on Saga is available online at http://www.eaglerockent.com, http://www.facebook.com/EagleRockEnt, http://www.ear-music.net, and http://www.sagaontour.ca.  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.

Sweet Summer Sun Is A Sweet Treat For Any Rolling Stones Fan

Courtesy:  Eagle Rock Entertainment/Eagle Vision

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment/Eagle Vision

Eagle Rock Entertainment has done it yet again.  Somehow some way, Eagle Rock Entertainment has raised the bar yet again for live recordings.  Eagle Rock has raised the bar yet again with its new live Rolling Stones recording, Sweet Summer Sun: Hyde Park Live.  This concert recording is one for the ages.  And it’s one for viewers of all ages.  As viewers will see, the audience in attendance numbered more than one hundred thousand, according to the notes in the recording’s bonus booklet.  That hundred thousand plus number was comprised of fans from every background and every age.  This is a big statement, and it’s just one part of what makes this recording an absolute must have for any Rolling Stones fan.  The show’s cinematography has been a point of contention among viewers.  The reality of the cinematography is that there is nothing wrong with this aspect at all.  As a matter of fact, it is another part of the whole that makes this presentation such a joy to watch.  The bonus booklet included with the recording is the final touch to the package.  It is an excellent companion to the video presentation, as audiences will see in watching what is a concert film in every sense.  It provides an in-depth backstory on the band’s history at Hyde Park, as well as highlights of the show contained in the current recording.  Together with the cinematography and the concert itself, it makes for one of the best live concert recordings overall in a very long time.

The Rolling Stones’ Hyde Park performance from its “50 and Counting” tour is one for the ages and one for all ages.  Viewers that purchase this recording will see that among the one hundred thousand plus in attendance were concert goers of all ages.  There were people in their forties, fifties, and potentially older.  There were people in their twenties and thirties, too.  At one point, viewers will even see a young man that could not have been more than perhaps thirteen years old.  How many bands today can command an audience of over one hundred thousand?  How many can say that they command an audiences of such size and of such a wide age range at the same time?  This speaks loudly to just how popular and respected Mick Jagger and company are, even half a century after they first broke through and hit it big.  The songs and the performance of the band only make this hit even harder.  The audience in attendance was treated to rather wide array of songs from throughout the band’s career, starting fittingly with “Start Me Up.”  “Honky Tonk Women”, “Midnight Rambler”, and “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” are all there too along with plenty more songs to which even home audiences will find themselves ancing and singing.  The ironic thing of this show is that the band closes out the main concert feature with a performance of “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.”  It’s pretty obvious that the band got plenty of satisfaction, as did the audience in attendance.  The same can be said of those that watch the concert both on DVD and Blu-ray.

The band’s performance and the vast size and age range of the audience at the Stones’ Hyde Park concert is in itself a big statement.  Making that statement even bolder is the concert’s cinematography.  There are those that have criticized this recording for its cinematography.  The biggest complaints are that the shots are too quick and that there aren’t enough close up shots of the band.  But those that complain obviously haven’t taken the full extent of the cinematography into account.  It’s that same cinematography that captures the full immensity of the audience in attendance.  The aerial angles used throughout the concert show the contrast of that massive crowd against the band on stage.  Those shots taken from behind the band are just as powerful.  They drive home the sheer size of the audience.  It makes even more incredible the fact that the band could command such an immense audience.  And then there are the “crowd shots.”  These shots are taken more from the angle of the crowd.  The shots taken from higher up show the massive size of the stage setup.  The wider the angle of those shots, the more it hits home to viewers just how large the stage set really was.

The cinematography and the overall immensity of the show truly make Sweet Summer Sun: Hyde Park Live a once in a lifetime concert in every sense of the term.  There’s still something else to consider that puts this latest live recording over the top.  That last aspect is the recording’s bonus booklet.  The booklet that comes with the recording gives viewers an in-depth look at the band’s history at Hyde Park.  It includes a full rundown of the concert contained on the new presentation’s disc.  That introduction helps to set up the recording in question.  There is also a handful of pictures peppered throughout the booklet that were taken during the newer of the band’s Hyde Park performances.  The history and the pictures make the booklet an invaluable addition to the overall presentation of this new release.  It is one more part of the whole that makes this release an absolute must have for any Rolling Stones fan.  The DVD, Blu-ray, and CD presentation of Sweet Summer Sun: Hyde Park Live are all 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.

Green’s New Live BD Shows He Still Has His Own “Voice”

Courtesy:  Eagle Rock Entertainment/Eagle Vision

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment/Eagle Vision

CeeLo Green has become one of the most famous figures in the entertainment industry ever since joining the judges’ panel on NBC’s hit singing competition show, The Voice. As entertaining as he is on that show, many might not know or recall that before joining the ranks of The Voice, Green was a music star first. Now thanks to Eagle Rock Entertainment, audiences that might have forgotten this will be reminded of his own singing talent and stage presence with the new live Blu-ray, Loberace: Live in Vegas. Green is a vocal powerhouse throughout the hour-plus performance. It’s just one aspect of the show that audiences will appreciate in taking the time to watch the whole thing. There are also some surprises throughout the show including Green’s own attempts at comedy and even a surprise guest appearance or two. Audiences also get a bonus with this new recording in a first person “interview” with Green.

CeeLo Green spends most of his time these days mentoring young hopeful singers how to better themselves in hopes of earning a lucrative record deal.  But as he shows in his new live recording, he has his own talent and stage presence.  Whether he’s belting out ‘Crazy’ or ‘Fool For You’, or getting the crowd worked up with his take on ‘Don’t Cha’ Green shows the extent of his talents relatively well throughout the show.  Green covers songs from across his career throughout the performance, even going all the way back to his days with Goodie Mob.  He shows in going so far back that he isn’t the least bit rusty.  He owns the stage when he breaks into his medley of Goodie Mob hits and even more recent songs.  At one point, he even rises above the stage on a hydraulic platform made up to look like a pulpit, lightning flashing on the big screen behind him as he sings.  Despite his stature, this one moment alone makes him appear larger than life.  It’s one of the show’s most memorable moments.  His performance alone is quite the eye opener.  But it’s not all that will keep audiences engaged throughout the show.  CeeLo brought along some special guests for his show that will have some audiences cheering.

Green’s own performance recorded in this presentation is of course the main point of interest for viewers.  But his isn’t the only performance of which audiences will take note.  Also included in the performance are surprise appearances by Boy George and some other rather familiar faces, too.  ON a side note, Green jokes in the recording’s bonus “interview” segment that he believes it was George and not an imitator on stage.  He’s obviously joking around here, knowing full well that it was in fact the real Boy George.  But this light hearted moment is one of plenty more that audiences will find make the bonus “interview” a nice bonus to the overall presentation.  Getting back on topic,   George makes his appearance early in the concert to perform a handful of his hits, including: ‘Do You Really Want To Hurt Me’, ‘It’s a Miracle’, and ‘Karma Chameleon.’  Many of CeeLo’s fans might be just as surprised to discover that Green openly praises George, stating that George was a big influence on him as a musician.  Later in the show, Green is joined by a rather well known artist for a performance of ‘Le Freak (Freak Out).  The surprise guest appearance here and in the Goodie Mob Medley will have any viewer on their feet and dancing.

The surprise guest appearances and Green’s own performance together make Green’s Vegas show quite the interesting experience to say the least.  It should be noted here that the performance overall is not appropriate for younger viewers.  So parents of younger children would do well to not have it on around them.  Getting back on track, there’s one last aspect of the overall presentation to examine here.  That aspect is the bonus “interview” segment.  Green shares his thoughts on the show, and having Boy George and others do special guest appearances among other topics.  He goes into a little bit of depth about how he came to decide on the setup for his show.  He notes how his decision on the set was the result of this generation being the ADD generation, and how he had to find a way to keep audiences’ attention.  He definitely does just that.  He shares his thoughts on much more.  But audiences will have to find out for themselves what he covers in his “interview” when they pick up this new Blu-ray recording for themselves.  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.

Stan Getz Live Is A Tribute To The Legacies Of Both Getz And Nobs

Courtesy:  Eagle Rock Entertainment/Montreux Sounds

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment/Montreux Sounds

Claude Nobs started what is today one of the most respected festivals in the music world over forty five years ago when he founded the Montreux Jazz Festival.  Little did he know at the time that it would grow to be what it has become today.  It has grown from hosting the world’s best jazz artists and groups to being the venue that every band and artist across the spectrum dreams of playing.  It has indeed hosted some of the best of the best and some of the best to be, as is evidenced through the deal made between Montreux Sounds and Eagle Rock Entertainment.  The deal between the two companies has garnered some of the best live recordings to date.  It has also helped Eagle Rock maintain its place at the front of the class in terms of live recordings.  And it has continued to do so with the release of a recording that is a classic Montreux performance in every form of the word.  The recording in question is of the late great sax player Stan Getz.  The recording in question is taken from Getz’s very first ever performance at Montreux in 1972.  He is joined by two other very highly respected jazz artists in keyboardists Chick Corea and drummer Tony Williams.  Along with bassist Stanley Clarke, the quartet’s performance stands as a true tribute the legacy of not only the Montreux Jazz Festival, but to its now dearly departed founder, Claude Nobs.  Mr. Nobs would have been proud to see this recording finally see the light of day.  And so will true jazz lovers, too.

True lovers of jazz will appreciate this recording for a variety of reasons.  One of those reasons is the backstory provided by Corea himself in the DVD’s bonus booklet.  Corea states in the bonus liner notes that the quartet seen in this recording was also the group that ended up going out on tour with Getz prior to the show in 1971.  According to Corea, Getz was planning to go out on the road in ’71, but had no band with which to tour.  After making some contacts, the group presented here is the group that toured together.  It’s obvious that during that tour, a bond had formed between the band members.  Getz pulls back time and again throughout the roughly hour long set, allowing his band mates to get their time in the spotlight and then some.  It was his quiet way of telling the audiences that the show wasn’t about him.  It was about everyone on stage.  Again, this is echoed through the sentiments shared in the DVDs bonus booklet.  Corea shares so much insight on how he came to be friends with Getz and on how the group grew as friends and individuals.  So few people take the time to read liner notes, etc. on DVDs, Blu-rays, and CDs.  But this is one of those examples of why those booklets and liner notes aren’t always just wasted ink.  It helps to make this show more than just a recording.  Because of those liner notes, it becomes a fully immersive musical experience and equally important historical document of sorts.

The bonus booklet included with Stan Getz: Live at Montreux 1972 is but one part of what makes this live recording so enjoyable is the performance of the band.  As Corea noted in the bonus booklet, the band seen in this recording is the same band that toured with Getz the previous year.  What’s so amazing about the performance is that while the band had already played a handful of shows through 1971, just watching the band’s members perform together here one would think that they were playing together for the first time.  There was so much energy among the entire group in every song.  Williams’ drumming was completely off the charts.  It goes without saying that his playing is something to which EVERY drummer today should aspire.  The precision yet seeming controlled chaos of what he did is awe inspiring, even today.  And Getz’s own performance on the likes of ‘La Fiesta’ is just as incredible.  He proved that he was just as talented playing rather up-tempo pieces as he was playing slower pieces, like ‘Lush Life’ and the show’s opener, ‘Captain Marvel.’  The way that his fingers moved on ‘La Fiesta’, one would expect them to get tangled among themselves.  And his breath control, handling such long strains is incredible.  That set against his chops on the set’s slower songs proves why he is still so revered among jazz artists and musicians overall even today.  Corea exhibits his own talent throughout the show.  Again, it is something audiences must see for themselves to fully appreciate.  And appreciate it they will when they pick up this performance both on DVD and CD.  That’s right.  It’s available not only on DVD, but CD, too.  This is another positive to the recording’s overall presentation.

Stan Getz: Live at Montreux 1972 is a stunning tribute both to the legacy of Stan Getz and his band mates, and to the festival’s late founder, Claude Nobs.  The DVD presentation alone is outstanding for a variety of reasons.  Two of those reasons are already listed off here.  It is put over the top thanks to the inclusion of a solely CD recording as well.  This is hardly the first time that Eagle Rock has included a CD recording as an option for its live recordings.  As a matter of fact, Eagle Rock has done so with pretty much every live recording that it has released to date.  So why is this performance so important on both DVD and CD?  It is important because it completes the documentation of this classic performance and solidifies even more both the talents of the musicians presented here and the legacy of the Montreux Jazz Festival.  The performance is available now on both DVD and CD.  More information on this and other Montreux Jazz Festival recordings 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.

Lady A’s “Live On This Winter’s Night” Is Enjoyable For Any Winter’s Night

Courtesy:  Eagle Rock Entertainment/Eagle Vision

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment/Eagle Vision

Christmas is just around the corner once again.  And that means that the annual crop of holiday CDs, DVDs and Blu-rays will start appearing on store shelves everywhere very soon if they haven’t started doing so already.  It means that there will be lots of choices for those looking to get into the holiday spirit.  Decisions, decisions.  Those that are perhaps scratching their heads about what music to pick up to bring the holiday spirit into their homes might consider Lady Antebellum’s new holiday Blu-ray, This Winter’s Night.  The new blu-ray is the companion piece to the band’s new holiday CD by the same name.  And it is certain to warm any listener’s home and heart this holiday season when they watch it whether by themselves or with those they love.  The trio’s performance was recorded at Nashville, Tennessee’s Schermerhorn Symphony Center.  The venue itself was stunning.  And set against the band’s more quaint stage setup, it made for quite the overall effect on the overall presentation.  Speaking of the overall presentation, the trio’s chosen set list is also an important part of the show’s overall presentation.  And it most certainly impresses for those looking for the season’s more familiar sounds.  Add in the bonus music video and acoustic performances, and audiences get in This Winter’s Night, a full holiday performance that will be a favorite this and every holiday season.

Those charged with developing the setting for This Winter’s Night did quite the job with their responsibilities.  Those individuals made the stage setup at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center look just as cozy as that of NBC’s annual holiday show at Rockefeller Center.  The difference is that because it was indoors, it was only done on a smaller scale.  Ironically, it was that smaller scale presentation that made the show feel so much more intimate even for home audiences.  The use of the faux trees, the lighting, and the mid-size string ensemble together established the intended intimate feeling.  This is made even more impressive as it is set against the Schermerhorn’s openness.  And the set list chosen by Lady Antebellum for the show only served to heighten that feeling even more.

The set list chosen for This Winter’s Night is comprised largely of standards that any listener will recognize and enjoy.  There are also a couple of original songs written by the trio in the form of ‘This Christmas’ and the performance’s title song.  Audiences will enjoy these two songs just as much as the standards included in the performance.  Among the performances highlights are the trio’s performances of ‘Silent Night’, A Holly Jolly Christmas’, and the updated take on Elvis’ ‘Blue Christmas.’  ‘A Holly Jolly Christmas’ opens the concert, which comes in at just under an hour.  It’s a fun mid-tempo take on the original that’s certain to get any viewer dancing along at home.  The same can be said of the updated take on ‘Blue Christmas.’  This is a key moment in the performance because instead of going with the much more melancholy vibe established by the original song, the group went with a more upbeat almost swing style feeling for their take on it.  This gives the song a whole new meaning.  And the group’s take on ‘Silent Night’ to close the concert is certain to leave not a single dry eye among viewers.  This is one of the most beautiful and powerful songs among the canon of holiday songs.  The band does it full justice with its take on the song.  And having the audience in attendance singing at the song’s end without the string ensemble or the band makes it all the more impactful.  These are just a few examples of what this recording has to offer.  There are plenty of others to which audiences will lean.  But audiences will have to find out for themselves which songs they like most when they pick up this new release on DVD and Blu-ray, as well as CD.

The set list and the overall setup of the show on This Winter’s Night work in tandem to make it a memorable show for audiences.  This is regardless of whether one is a hardcore fan of Lady Antebellum or is just a fan of the holiday standards.  They play the primary role in this recording’s overall success.  There is still one piece of the overall presentation that must be examined, however.  That final piece is the presentation’s bonus features.  Audiences that watch through the main concert will notice short vignettes between songs.  Some of those vignettes introduce the song to be performed next.  Audiences get the full songs in question as part of the bonus features.  They are full acoustic, almost music video style performances of said songs.  The bonus acoustic performances included are: ‘Blue Christmas’, ‘The First Noel’, ‘Silent Night (Lord of my life)’, ‘Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas’, and ‘A Holly Jolly Christmas.’  The last of t hose songs in question also has its own whimsical music video included as a bonus feature, too.  Audiences will love seeing the young boy in the vide trying to get a kiss from Lady Antebellum’s own Hillary Scott.  The end result will have anyone laughing.  As even more bonus, audiences are also treated to a behind-the-scenes and “Making of” featurette on the music video.  These additions are the finishing touch to what is a holiday presentation sure to warm any home and heart this holiday season.  It is available now on DVD and Blu-ray 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.

Lady Antebellum is currently touring in support of both its new holiday release and its most recent full length studio release, Golden.  The band will perform at the Landers Center in Southaven, MS this Friday, November 8th.  The band will also make a stop at the PNC Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina next January.  The band is scheduled to perform at the PNC Arena on Friday, January 10th at 7pm.  It also has a performance scheduled for Saturday, April 26th at Charlotte, NC’s Time Warner Cable Arena. Audiences and fans can get the most current list of the band’s tour dates, news, and more online at http://www.facebook.com/ladyantebellum and http://www.ladyantebellum.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 Phi’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Hugh Laurie Live One Of The Year’s Most Surprising Live Recordings

Courtesy:  Eagle Rock Entertainment

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

Actor Hugh Laurie is best known for his role as the title character on Fox’s former hit medical drama, House.  The show ran a total of eight seasons over the course of almost eight years.  With the show’s end in May of 2012, many were left wondering what was next for Laurie.  The answer:  Music.  Of course.  For whatever reason, television stars have a desire to be music stars and vice versa.  Sadly, so many of said celebrities fail in their endeavors.  Laurie, interestingly enough, is not among those numbers.  He now has two full length albums out and has just recently released a new live Blu-ray and DVD through Eagle Rock Entertainment.  The performance was recorded on March 26th, 2012 for broadcast on PBS.  This is revealed in the recording’s bonus interview.  This is just the beginning of what makes this performance so worth watching.  Audiences will also note Laurie’s humility throughout the performance.  It’s something that is echoed in his post show interview, too.  That humility makes him stand out among the sea of TV stars that think themselves music stars, too.  The set list chosen for the show seals the deal on this recording.  It includes a solid mix of blues classics from some of Laurie’s favorite blues musicians.  It all comes together to make Hugh Laurie: Live on the Queen Mary a surprisingly impressive release and one that any of Laurie’s fans will want to see.

Hugh Laurie’s new live Blu-ray and DVD, Hugh Laurie: Live on the Queen Mary is one of the most surprising live recordings of 2013.  One of the more interesting facts about this recording is that it was originally recorded for broadcast on PBS.  This is noteworthy because PBS typically releases its programming on its own.  It doesn’t normally use outside resources for distribution of its DVDs and Blu-rays.  So it would definitely be interesting to find out how Eagle Rock Entertainment worked out a distribution deal with PBS for this concert.    Given, it’s a minor detail.  But it’s still something that will catch the ear of any viewer and lead to discussions, whether one watches much of PBS’ programming or not.  One should also note that being that this performance was originally recorded for broadcast on PBS, it also serves as one more example of what makes PBS such a valuable asset for audiences, especially in today’s television market.

That this concert was originally recorded for PBS and distributed via Eagle Rock Entertainment makes for quite the starting point in any discussion and viewing of the concert.  That’s because PBS is known for quality programming.  Just as interesting is the performance put on by Laurie and his band mates in the Copper Bottom Band.  Anyone that had not heard either of Laurie’s new albums would never have suspected the level of talent or the humility presented by the former House star.  It would have been so easy for Laurie to let his ego get the better of himself and take center stage throughout the roughly ninety-minute set.  But he didn’t do that.  He did the exact opposite, letting the band members shine throughout each song instead.  When he did take the stage, his dry wit and musical talent made for plenty of enjoyable and funny moments.  His vocals were just as noteworthy as his wit.  That’s because the best way to describe his vocals would be as a hybrid of Randy Newman and Dr. John.  It’s something that has to be heard to be believed, especially for those that have not yet experienced Laurie’s talents.

The humility presented by Laurie in this concert is very real as audiences will see in the recording’s bonus post-show interview also recorded for PBS.  He openly touts the talents of the Copper Bottom Band members and how honored he was to be playing with them.  He even jokes about how excited he was to be playing with them despite his stereotypical British demeanor.  He goes on to discuss among other topics, how he grew up with a deep love and respect for classic blues and how that led to the current pair of albums that he has recorded.  That discussion yields even more laughs.  Yet again, it’s more display of his humility and respect for his craft.  It’s something that is rarely seen among celebrities that come to the music industry from other areas.  That rare display will echo with audiences and make them appreciate Laurie that much more as a true artist regardless of whether or not he should return to acting at a later point in his career.  And it will make audiences appreciate this new live recording that much more, too.  It is available now in stores and online.  More information on this release and other live recordings from Eagle Rock Entertainment is available online at http://www.eaglerockent.com and http://www.facebook.com/EagleRockEnt.  More information on Laurie’s new album, live recording and upcoming live events is available online at http://www.facebook.com/HughLaurie.  Laurie is currently touring in support of his new album, Didn’t It Rain.  He will be performing at the Carolina Theatre in Durham, NC this Friday, November 1st at 8pm.  Tickets can be purchased for the show online at http://www.ticketmaster.com/event/0E004AF8A8DDDD19?brand=carolinathtr&camefrom=CFC_CTD_WEB.

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.

Caro Emerald In Concert Could Break Singer Out In America

Courtesy:  Eagle Rock Entertainment/Eagle Vision/BBC/Grand mono

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment/Eagle Vision/BBC/Grand mono

The name Caro Emerald is one that is not largely familiar in the mainstream music world right now.  This is the case despite the Dutch singer having already released two full length studio albums since 2010.  But with the release of her new live DVD and Blu-ray, Caro Emerald in Concert, the young singer’s name may start to spread like wildfire.  That’s because the new live release from Eagle Rock Entertainment presents the best of those two albums in one complete concert.  It’s an excellent introduction to the talents of the young artist and her band mates.  The very first thing that audiences will notice in listening to the band music crafted by Emerald and her band mates is the band’s “jazz-hop” style.  For those that might be scratching their heads, it’s a mix of old school swing jazz mixed with the occasional modern hip-hop vibe.  Still confused?  Imagine mixing Adele, Amy Winehouse, Nelly Furtado, and the Squirrel Nut Zippers.  That is the interesting hybrid sound crafted by Emerald and her band mates.   Ironically enough, Emerald notes in the concert’s bonus interview that Amy Winehouse was indeed one of her influences.  That is something that will be discussed later.  Getting back to the music in this concert,  there is not one bad moment in the entire performance.  Every song in this concert has its own flare that is sure to have anyone dancing along in their own living rooms and bedrooms.  From the up-tempo opener, ‘Just One Dance’ to ‘Paris’ to the show’s closer, ‘Stuck’, Ms. Emerald and company prove over and over again why it won’t be long before they break out in the United States.

The songs included in the band’s new live recording show just why American audiences should expect to hear more from the unit provided program directors give the band the support that it deserves.  On a deeper level, the songs become even more interesting after listening to Caro discuss her musical upbringing in the recording’s bonus interview.  She explains in the interview that it was classical music, not pop music, on which she was raised as a child.  She laughs as she admits that she was hardly a fan of classical music.  This is interesting to note because of her vocal range.  She has such control over her voice from one song to another.  Whether in the performance’s softer moments or those that are more upbeat, she does such a wonderful job accenting the song’s energy level with her vocal control.  And as noted already, she adds during her interview that the late Amy Winehouse was one of her influences.  That is also evident in her singing.  There is a certain almost cabaret style vibe about some of her songs.  While not as gritty as Winehouse’s vocals, she still has such power in said songs.  It’s something that audiences can only appreciate when they check out this recording for themselves.

The set list and the performance presented in Caro Emerald in Concert both play important roles in the enjoyment of this recording’s overall presentation.  No examination of a live concert would be complete though, without an examination of the recording’s audio and video.  And this critic is pleased to say that those charged with managing the show’s audio and video mix did an excellent job.  Director Helen Scott got the best out of her camera crew, catching some amazing shots.  Those with HDTVs will love the wide shots of the BBC Radio Theatre.  They show just how “intimate” the setting was for the recording as was noted on the back of the disc’s case.  Just as interesting were the close-up shots captured by the videographer manning the stage.  Emerald comes right up to him more than once and looks right into the camera as she sings.  Again, having an HDTV, the quality of the footage is crystal clear.  Viewers can see every single detail of her face as she sings into the camera.  The audio mix is just as impressive.  Every part of the recording is balanced all the way down.  None of the performers overpower the other at any one point throughout the show.  Together with the expertly shot and edited video, the performance of the band and the show’s set list, it all combines to make Caro Emerald in Concert one more reason that Eagle Rock Entertainment continues to be a leader if not the leader in live recordings.  It is available now in stores and online.  More information on this and other live releases from Eagle Rock Entertainment is available online at http://www.facebook.com/EagleRockEnt and http://www.eaglerockent.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 Holds The Bar Again With Mike And The Mechanics Live

Courtesy:  Eagle Rock Entertainment/Eagle Vision

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment/Eagle Vision

2013 is almost over.  But that doesn’t mean that the good people over at Eagle Rock Entertainment are done given audiences more live releases.  Eagle Rock has proven once again why it continues to be the leader in live recordings in the release of Mike and the Mechanics & Paul Carrack Live at Shepherd’s Bush London.  This new live recording from the band best known for its work during the 80s gives audiences plenty of reason to be happy.  Eagle Rock has proven why live recordings can be just as good as being there if not better with this latest live recording.  That is because not only do audiences get the main concert, but they get some interesting bonuses that those in attendance at the show didn’t get.  Along with the primary show, audiences get in this recording a healthy compliment of the band’s original music videos from its heyday and an extensive interview.  These bonuses alongside the main concert feature make this recording a special experience for any fan of Mike and the Mechanics.

The main concert feature contained on this new live recording will impress any fan of Mike and the Mechanics.  As with so many other live recordings already released via Eagle Rock, the video and audio were expertly mixed.  The concert looks and sounds just as impressive whether one has just an HDTV or a full surround sound home theater system.  The band’s overall performance is just as impressive.  Considering that nearly three decades have passed since the band released its very first full length record, it’s impressive that the band still presents such a powerful on-stage presence.  Audiences at home will see that just as much as those that were in attendance at the show’s taping.  Even more worthy of note is the band’s set list.  The positive energy and lyrics of songs such as ‘Get Up’ and ‘Whenever I Stop’ are sure to have viewers at home singing and dancing along happily in their own living rooms and bedrooms.  Just as impressive is the energy shared between the audience and the band during the band’s performance of ‘The Living Years.’  Even in such a small venue, it has so much impact.  One can only imagine what that scene would look like on an arena level.  It’s just one more shining moment that audiences will want to watch again and again in this recording.  And it’s just one more part of what makes the recording as a whole another impressive release from Eagle Rock Entertainment.

The set list and overall performance of the band in the main concert feature are impressive to say the very least.  But they’re just the beginning of what makes this recording another impressive release from Eagle Rock Entertainment.  Audiences will appreciate just as much as the performance and set list, the music videos included as bonus content.  The performance of ‘The Living Years’ was powerful.  That goes without saying.  So suffice it to say that it was just as necessary to include the original music video for the song, too.  It’s accompanied by the original music videos for: ‘Silent Running’, ‘Word of Mouth’, ‘One Left Standing’ and a handful of others.  One might wonder why this is important to the overall presentation.  It is something important in that the only place to see music videos on television today is on VH1 every weekend on the network’s Top 20 Countdown.  Other than that, the only venue for music videos today is via YouTube.  So including them on this Blu-ray makes them true bonus content.  Rather than having to hunt around online for them, fans can just pop this disc into their DVD or Blu-ray player and watch them any time they want.  For that, those behind this recording are to be commended once more.

The bonus music videos are a nice addition to the overall presentation of the new live recording from Mike and the Mechanics.  The commendations don’t stop with the music videos, though.  The final touch to the overall presentation of this recording is the inclusion of a bonus interview with the band members.  Whether one is new to the band or a more seasoned fan, audiences will appreciate the bonus interview.  The history of the band is discussed at some length through the interview.  Also discussed is how the band came to decide on making this recording come to life among other topics.  It’s another nice touch and an equally nice final touch to an already enjoyable presentation for anyone that is a fan of Mike and the Mechanics.  The DVD and Blu-ray are 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.

New Live BD Completes Sedaka’s U.K. Concert Experience

Courtesy:  Eagle Rock Entertainment/Eagle Vision

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment/Eagle Vision

The newly released Blu-ray release of Neil Sedaka’s The Song Goes On: Live at the Royal Albert Hall is an excellent companion piece to its CD companion released in 2012.  The Blu-ray completes the concert experience started with the double-disc CD release in question.  It does so by giving audiences the visual recording that they otherwise had not had until now.  And Sedaka’s fans will most definitely appreciate getting to not just hear but see him perform so many of his hits.  The experience is completed not just through the main performance, but also through the bonus interview included with the new Blu-ray release of this concert.  The interview sees Sedaka sitting down one-on-one with fellow songwriter Paul Gambaccini.  The pair discusses Sedaka’s music, his career, and his influence in their in-depth interview.  It’s both insightful and entertaining as the men make their way through many of the songs featured in the main performance.  The main performance and the bonus interview do so much to make this new release a completion for fans of Neil Sedaka that had been hoping for a video companion to the already released CD recording of his performance from the U.K.  One can’t look at this new release (or any live release) without examining said performance’s audio and video mix.  Those charged with manning the boards both for the concert and for the final product put the finishing touch here on what is one more expert live recording from Eagle Rock Entertainment and Eagle Vision.

The Blu-ray companion to the audio release of Sedaka’s live performance from the Royal Albert Hall completes the concert experience started last year.  That’s because it is a video recording, and not just an audio recording.  Instead of just hearing the performance, audiences get the full effect of the concert with this presentation.  It allows viewers that were not there to make a full emotional connection both with Sedaka and with those that were in attendance for the taping.  One prime example of that ability to connect lies in Sedaka’s performance of ‘I Go Ape.’  The excitement and energy on Sedaka’s face as he channels Jerry Lee Lewis can be felt even just watching at home.  By direct contrast, the emotional depth of ‘The Hungry Years’ is sure to move even the strongest person to tears.  That’s thanks again to being able to not just hear the motion in Sedaka’s voice, but also to see it in his face.  One can tell that he really felt the music and the lyrics as he sang.  These are just a pair of examples of how the show’s recording makes this concert experience complete.  There are plenty more songs from which fans will be able to choose.  They’ll be able to do so when they pick up this new Blu-ray themselves.

The main performance included in Neil Sedaka’s new live Blu-ray is the main component of what makes the entire concert experience complete.  There is more to consider in what makes it complete, though.  Audiences will also appreciate the bonus interview between Sedaka and his songwriter friend Paul Gambaccini.  The in-depth interview sees the pair discussing Sedaka’s own career, his music, and his influence on today’s pop music culture.  Through the course of the interview, the pair shares some laughs when they bring up Sedaka’s history with Carol King.  There’s also a humorous moment shared in the discussion over the song, ‘Stairway to Heaven.’  Sedaka laughs as Gambaccini asks him wouldn’t he love to have Led Zeppelin’s royalty checks for the song, even though they are two entirely different songs.  That in itself raises another interesting discussion topic in the inability of songwriters to copyright song titles.  Apparently, songs themselves can have a copyright, but not a song title.  There is also a discussion on whether Neil would have the hungry years or the successful years.  This is one of the more insightful moments shared by Sedaka in his interview, and will definitely have audiences thinking.  Again, these moments and the interview as a whole collectively make the interview between the old friends make for one more way this Blu-ray makes Sedaka’s live performance from the Royal Albert Hall complete.

Sedaka’s live performance at the U.K.’s Royal Albert Hall is a complete experience now thanks to the main performance and the bonus interview between Sedaka and friend Paul Gambaccini.  There is still one more factor that fans and audiences should consider in the concert experience presented here.  That factor is the show’s audio and video mix.  Those charged with balancing both the audio and video are to be commended for the job that they did with the recording.  This applies both to the original live recording and the final post-produced product.  The audio and video presented here are just as impressive as any recording released by Eagle Rock Entertainment and Eagle Vision.  Those with a surround sound home theater system will appreciate the mix just as much as those without one.  From the high notes to the low notes and everything in between, every song is crystal clear both in terms of its video and audio.  Along with the main performance and the bonus interview it brings everything full circle and makes this one more top notch live recording from Eagle Rock Entertainment and Eagle Vision.  It is available now in stores and online.  More information on this and other releases from Eagle Rock and Eagle Vision 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.