Elton John’s Latest Live Release Is One In A “Million”

Courtesy:  Eagle Rock Entertainment

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

Next Tuesday, July 1st, Eagle Rock Entertainment will release Elton John’s latest live recording, The Million Dollar Piano.  Eagle Rock Entertainment has long been the standard of success in live recordings from a variety of bands and artists.  And with this latest live recording, it remains once more the very standard by which other companies should base their live releases.  There is so much to appreciate in The Million Dollar Piano.  For starters, there is the show’s set list.  The show’s set list totals eighteen songs and nearly two hours in length.  Throughout the course of the performance, Elton John’s very performance makes the experience even more of a joy.  And making the performance whole is the concert’s combined audio and video mix.  All of these factors taken into consideration, Elton John: The Million Dollar Piano proves to be one more example of why Eagle Rock Entertainment is the leader in live recordings, and why Elton John remains one of the top entertainers in the music industry today.

Elton John: The Million Dollar Piano is such a joy of a concert first and foremost for the same reason that any other concert is enjoyable for audiences.  That reason is the near two-hour concert and its set list. Throughout the concert, John and his fellow musicians present to audiences eighteen fan favorite songs.   Among those fan favorites are the likes of: ‘Crocodile Rock,’ ‘Bennie and the Jets,’ ‘Rocket Man,’ ‘The Bitch Is Back,’ ‘Saturday Night’s Alright (For Fighting) and even some perhaps lesser-known pieces, too.   If the songs included in the main concert’s set list aren’t enough for audiences, then the bonus live performance from Kiev is certain to make audiences happy.  That grouping of songs includes another take of ‘Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me’ as well as performances of ‘Sacrifice,’ ‘Sad Songs (Say So Much,’ and the stirring tribute to the late Princess Diana, ‘Candle in The Wind.’  This bonus mini-concert of sorts puts the recording’s concert run time well over two hours.  And it is two-plus hours of pure enjoyment for audiences of all ages, too.

The set list compiled both for this recording’s primary concert and its bonus “mini-concert” recorded in Kiev together make Elton John: The Million Dollar Piano more than worth the money, whether one purchases it on DVD or Blu-ray.  However, the set list would be nothing without a solid performance from John and his fellow musicians and performers.  Thankfully a strong performance is exactly what audiences get.  He and his fellow band members deliver a solid performance from start to finish. Whether it be in the more upbeat songs or even the deeper, more emotional moments, John and company carry the concert with ease.  The performance is made even more enjoyable as John shares little tidbits and jokes with the audiences between songs.  He tells the audience in attendance about how his pianos are named and points out how the piano he is using in the show actually visually tells the audience what song he is playing as he plays.  His story about how his pianos are named will have audiences watching at home laughing just as much as those that were in attendance as he pokes fun at fellow pop star Madonna.  He also shares some more thought provoking moments as he explains how different songs such as ‘Blue Eyes,’ ‘Indian Summer,’ ‘Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters’ came to life.  That willingness to joke with the audience and even share more personal stories builds a strong connection to audiences.  In turn, it makes his performance (and that of his band mates) even more enjoyable.  The on-stage presence of John and his band mates alongside the show’s set list together make this recording one that any fan of Elton John will definitely want to add to their personal library.  It still isn’t all that audiences will appreciate from this recording.  There is one more factor to examine from this concert that makes it a joy.  That factor is the concert’s collective audio and video mix.

The set list and overall performance by Elton John and his band mates more than make Elton John: The Million Dollar Piano a joy for audiences of all ages.  Even together, they would be nothing without the expert work of those behind the concert’s cameras and audio boards. The Colosseum at Caesar’s Palace is an immense structure inside. Audiences will get to see its sheer size in watching this concert recording. And in doing so, will agree that it is anything but small. Taking that into account, those responsible for getting the best shots and keeping the audio levels evened out more than did their jobs. One of the best camera angles used throughout the concert is one that captures John right from keyboard level. Either there was a camera mounted on the piano or a videographer sitting just close enough to get that close up shot. Regardless of which is the case, the slightly angled shot mixed with a specific frame rate makes for a great shot. This is especially the case in some of the concert’s slower numbers. The wide shots are just as powerful in songs such as ‘Rocket Man,’ and ‘Don’t Let The Sun Go Down on Me.’ That’s thanks in part to the video wall used behind the band. The combination of the two together makes such moments so powerful, emotionally speaking. Bigger, more bombastic numbers such as ‘Crocodile Rock’ and ‘The Bitch Is Back’ are equally complimented by the camera work in those numbers, too. The camera work on those numbers heightens their energy and in turn, makes them as enjoyable as any other moment throughout the concert.

The videography concert is a hugely important part of the extrinsic value to this concert recording. Much to the same level, the audio work is just as worthy of applause. Considering the sheer immensity of the Colosseum, it goes without saying that balancing the acoustics both for those in attendance and for those that will purchase this recording was extremely important. It looks to be almost the same size as England’s Albert Hall, if not perhaps slightly bigger. Those managing the concert’s audio levels both during and post-show are to be applauded just as much as those responsible for capturing the concert on video for their part in the final product. At no point in the concert does one performer overpower the other. It shows the expertise of those handling the concert’s audio duties. And thanks to such expert work, audiences can catch every single nuance of every song. Those with home theater systems will especially appreciate those painstaking efforts on the part of those at the audio boards. Such efforts, along with those of the camera crew and the performers, to entertain audiences have far more than paid off here. All things considered, Elton John: The Million Dollar Piano shows once more why Eagle Rock Entertainment remains the leader in live recordings and why Elton John remains to this day one of the top entertainers in the music industry.

Elton John: The Million Dollar Piano will be available next Tuesday, July 1st. It will be available both on DVD and Blu-ray. More information on the concert and Elton John’s current tour schedule is available now online at http://www.facebook.com/EltonJohn and http://www.eltonjohn.com. Audiences can also order the concert via John’s official website. More information on this and other releases from Eagle Rock Entertainment is available online at http://www.facebook.com/EagleRockEnt and http://www.ealge-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.

Have A Very Twisted Christmas With New Twisted Sister Live DVD, CD

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment/Eagle Vision

Thanksgiving has come and gone once again.  And the annual shopping frenzy that is Black Friday is once again upon us.  That means stores have stocked their shelves with the annual load of holiday CD’s from around the world of popular music.  The problem with all those holiday albums is that so many of them sound the same.  However, there are the few diamonds in the rough that will make people stop and take notice.  One of those diamonds in the rough comes from one of the biggest bands of the 80’s hair metal scene.  That band is Twisted Sister. 

In 2006, Twisted Sister started a now long-running tradition of holding a live Christmas show in Las Vegas.  The band’s 2006 performance is available on CD right now.  And now, the band has also released both the CD and DVD portion of the band’s 2009 performance. Both the CD and DVD half of this show are excellent companion pieces to one another right from the show’s opening.  Those audiences who originally only had the audio recording of the band’s ’06 show were left to wonder exactly what was going on as the show kicked off, considering the music.  Now, those same audiences get to see “Santa Snider’s” elves getting everything set up and introducing the band members one at a time.  It all leads up to Snider himself being brought in on a sleigh pulled by a bevy of young women.  As soon as Snider gets out of the sleigh and it’s pulled off stage, he and his band mates immediately launch into ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.’  Anyone who has heard Snider’s album, Dee Does Broadway have something of an idea of what to expect in this collection of re-imagined holiday standards.

The band’s take on ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’, ‘Deck The Halls’, and ‘I’ll Be Home For Christmas’ are unlike anything that most audiences have ever heard in terms of holiday tunes.  To say that the band has amped them up wouldn’t properly do justice to the band’s performance.  It’s something that has to be seen and heard to be believed.  The band’s renditions of the classic carols aren’t all that the band tackles in this archived show.  It also handles a handful of its classic tunes, including ‘Shoot ‘Em Down’, ‘I Wanna Rock’ and the song that made the band famous, ‘We’re Not Gonna Take It.’  Snider notes as the show closes what Twisted Sister show would be complete without the song that brought this band to fame.

The show’s fan favorite closer isn’t the only high point of this live performance.  Fans will find the overall clam and camp of the entire show entertaining.  And the skit with “Satan Claus” is a laugh riot.  Along with poking fun at the band, there are little jabs at The Rolling Stones’ guitarist Keith Richards and the “Prince of Darkness” himself, Ozzy Osbourne.  They were of course just part of what made this skit funny.       This jolly man in red had a lot more than toys in his big bag.  Imagine Billy Bob Thornton from Bad Santa, only far cruder.  There you go.  Whether for that skit or the performance or the music itself, this CD and DVD set will leave any Twisted Sister fan to have a very Twisted Christmas.  Both the CD and DVD are available now in stores and online.  They can be ordered online direct via Eagle Rock Entertainment’s website at http://www.eagle-rock.com.

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it or its companion page, http://www.facebook.com/pages/Ree-Reviews/381028148587141.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Otherwise Releases New Lyric Video, Announces New Tour Info

Century Media band Otherwise has released the lyric video for its new song, ‘I Don’t Apologize (1000 Pictures).’  The video for the band’s new single sees the song’s lyrics set against a backdrop of old photo negatives burning with a sepia tone effect as front man Adrian Patrick sings, “No I don’t apologize/For taking back the life/That I deserve/It’s like we took a thousand pictures/Just to watch them burn.”  Thus audiences get the effect of negatives burning.  It’s quite the interesting video to watch from a band whose album is one of the year’s top general rock records.  Fans can check out the video online now at http://youtu.be/WuJxY94ali8.

Courtesy: Century Media Records

Along with its new video, the band has also announced that it will be touring in support of its album alongside Daughtry and 3 Doors Down.  The tour will kick off late next month.  Fans can check out the full tour lineup online at http://www.weareotherwise.com, http://www.facebook.com/otherwiseofficial, http://twitter.com/weareotherwise, and on the Century Media Records website, http://www.centurymedia.com

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it or its companion page, http://www.facebook.com/pages/Reel-Reviews/381028148587141.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.