Little Ones Will Love eOne’s Latest Wheels On The Bus DVD

Courtesy:  Entertainment One

Courtesy: Entertainment One

The latest collection of episodes from eOne’s series The Wheels on the Bus is another fun time for children, parents, and teachers. It’s a good fit for toddlers and pre-school age children. That’s thanks to the mix of music and lessons shared throughout the three episodes contained on the disc. That’s just part of what makes the DVD another piece worth watching. The total run time of the DVD is roughly thirty-six minutes. That makes the run time of each of the episodes about twelve minutes total. That’s just about right for the attention span of the program’s intended viewers. That aspect along with the combination of songs and lessons in each episode makes this DVD all the more fun for young viewers and their families.

The main factor that makes The Wheels on the Bus: A Day at the Farm another fun DVD from eOne and One Happy Child is the combination of more musical numbers and lessons spread across the DVD’s three episodes. The songs included in each episode include even more new verses to the beloved children’s song. The new verses written for each episode don’t necessarily apply directly to the episodes themselves. That doesn’t take away anything from the verses. They’ll actually have younger viewers singing and dancing along just as much as the song’s original verses. And the songs written specifically for each episode’s given story will have younger viewers singing and dancing along just as much. This applies even in the end credits sequence for each episode. Each episode has its own outtakes during its end credits. And along with the outtakes is another original song that makes the viewing experience even more enjoyable.

The musical numbers included within the context of each episode are just part of what makes the DVD in whole enjoyable for younger viewers. The lessons shared throughout the episodes add to each episode’s enjoyment. There is a lesson about the importance of healthy eating in one episode. Another teaches about service dogs. It teaches how they are trained from their puppy years up through their adult years. The DVD’s opening episode teaches a lesson about the different animals on the farm. This short lesson is a good starting point for both parents and teachers in discussing the different kinds of animals that live on a farm. It could potentially lead to a field trip of sorts to a farm. The lesson about healthy eating is a great starting point in a discussion for teachers and parents alike to discuss healthy eating habits. This is especially the case considering the epidemic of childhood obesity in America. It’s one more positive to the DVD’s overall viewing experience.

The lessons and the music contained in the episodes on The Wheels on the Bus: A Day at the Farm make up a big part of what makes the DVD in whole enjoyable for children and adults. There is still one more factor to consider in the overall enjoyment of this DVD. That factor is the total run time of the three episodes together. The total run time of this DVD is roughly thirty-six minutes. That puts the total run time of each of the DVD’s three episodes at around twelve minutes tops. Considering that the target audience age of the series is kids ages 1 – 5, a twelve minute run time is just right. Given, the attention span of most viewers in that age range is not that long. But the use of the catchy tunes and lessons taught at the level of said viewers will keep the attention of those viewers just long enough. Keeping this in mind, the DVD in whole becomes all the more enjoyable whether used in the classroom or the living room. It becomes a piece that parents, teachers, and students should give at least one watch.

The Wheels on the Bus: A Day at the Farm is available now on DVD in stores and online. It was released this past Tuesday, June 3rd. It can be ordered online from Amazon.com at http://www.amazon.com/Wheels-Bus-Day-at-Farm/dp/B00J5BCV5M/ref=sr_1_8?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1402243779&sr=1-8&keywords=The+Wheels+on+the+Bus. More information on this and other releases from Entertainment One is available online at http://entertainmentone.com/home. 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.

Sound Of Contact Announces New Tour Dates

Courtesy:  InsideOut Music

Courtesy: InsideOut Music

Sound of Contact is coming to the United States this Spring and Summer.

The band has confirmed that it will take part in the Moody Blues Cruise and the Cruise to the Edge this Spring before embarking on a handful of dates late next month.  The Moody Blues Cruise sets sail Wednesday, April 8th from Miami, Florida.  It will take guests through the Bahamas and to Grand Turk Island, Turks & Caicos before returning to Miami on Monday, April 7th.  Sound of Contact will join The Moody Blues, Starship, Little River Band, and special guest Roger Daltry of The Who among a number of other artists and bands.  More information on the Moody Blues Cruise is available online at http://moodiescruise.com and http://www.facebook.com/moodiescruise.

Band founder Simon Collins and his band mates will have a quick turnaround once they return to port from the Moody Blues Cruise.  That is because they head right back out to sea Wednesday, April 8th for the Cruise to the Edge.  That cruise will take guests Cozumel by way of Miami and Honduras.  It will leave port Wednesday, April 8th and return to Miami Saturday, April 12th.  Sound of Contact will join YES, Marillion, Queensryche, Scale the Summit, and a number of other acts that are scheduled to perform during the cruise.  More information on the Cruise to the Edge is available online at http://cruisetotheedge.com, http://www.facebook.com/cruisetotheedge, and http://twitter.com/cruisetotheedge.

Once Sound of Contact returns from its marathon cruise run, the band will take some much needed down time before kicking off its North American tour April 26th.  The band will kick off its North American tour at SIR Studios in Los Angeles, California.  The band’s complete cruise and tour schedule is listed below.

Wednesday – April 2, 2014 Moody Blues Cruise
Thursday – April 3, 2014 Moody Blues Cruise
Friday – April 4, 2014 Moody Blues Cruise
Saturday April 5, 2014 Moody Blues Cruise
Sunday – April 6, 2014 Moody Blues Cruise
Monday – April 7, 2014 Moody Blues Cruise / Cruise To The Edge
Tuesday – April 8, 2014 Cruise To The Edge
Wednesday – April 9, 2014 Cruise To The Edge
Thursday – April 10, 2014 Cruise To The Edge
Friday – April 11, 2014 Cruise To The Edge
Saturday – April 12, 2014 Cruise To The Edge

Saturday – April 26, 2014 Los Angeles, CA, America – SIR Studios
Wednesday – April 30, 2014 Quebec City, QC, Canada – Le Cabaret du Capitole
Thursday – May 1, 2014 Toronto, ON, Canada – Rock Pile East
Friday – May 2, 2014 Chicago, IL, America – Reggies Rock Club
Saturday – May 3, 2014 Gettysburg, PA, America – RoSFest

Ticket information for the band’s upcoming performances will be announced soon.  More information on tickets and Sound of Contact is available online at http://www.facebook.com/soundofcontact.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews 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.

The Who Return To America For First Time In Four Years

Legendary rockers, The Who are returning to America for the first time in four years this Fall.  the band will embark on a tour consisting of nearly forty dates beginning November 1st.  The tour will end February 26th, 2013.  The tour includes a stop in Greensboro, North Carolina on November 9th at the Greensboro Coliseum.

The band will perform its landmark album, “Quadrophenia” in its entirety, along with many more of its classic hits.  Roger Daltry and Pete Townshend will be joined by Zak Starkey on drums, Pino Palldino on bass and Simon Townshend on guitar and backing vocals.  Chris Stainton, Loren Gold, and Frank Simes will also join the band for the tour, playing keyboards.  Gold and Simes will also serve as backing vocalists, while Simes will also serve as musical director for the tour.

Members of the band’s official fanclub will have priority access to tickets for the upcoming tour beginning tomorrow, July 20th at 10am.  The offer expires Sunday, July 22nd at 10pm.  Membership in the band’s fanclub is available online at http://fanclub.TheWho.com.  Special VIP packages will also be available that include anything from special seating to access to the band’s soundcheck to special signed memorabilia, VIP parking and lots more.

In celebration of the upcoming tour, a special one-night-only screening of “The Who: Quadrophenia–Can You see The Real Me?” The Story Behind The Album.    The screening is sponsored by NCM Fathom Events, AEG Live, and UMe.  The screening is slated to run next Tuesday, July 24th at 8pm.  In Canada, the screening will take place Wednesday, August 1st at 7:30pm.  Anyone wanting to see the film can get more information on it online at http://www.FathomEvents.com in the U.S. and http://www.cineplex.com/events in Canada.

The Who guitarist Pete Townshend recently sat down for an interview, and discussed “Quadrophenia” and the upcoming tour.  The following is taken from that interview.

Why do you think the music, the themes of “Quadrophenia”–both the album and film adaptation–resonate so strongly today?
In 1972 I was twenty-eight, writing about London and Brighton in 1963 and 1964 when the band was just starting. I was still young enough to remember how it felt to be sixteen or seventeen, and at war with my parents, bosses and authority. I could still remember that feeling of struggling to fit in, something that happened to me when I was even younger, around fourteen, and everyone around me seemed to have got their lives on track. This is such a universal experience for young people that it has echoed. 

(It also seems that many of the first fans of the album don’t want to let it go; it connects them now, just as it did the band, with the important emotions and frustrations of growing up, the poignancy of it all. The film took the musical journey into the real world, and gave it flesh. That could have been a problem, but the Mod look is subtle, and cool, and so it doesn’t suffer the way some other youth films have. I’ve come to appreciate that the film has become almost more important than the album in some ways, especially in the visual age we live in.)

–In this singles-driven digital age, there are artists now singing the praises of the album as an art-form and playing their own albums from front-to-back onstage.  Since ‘Quadrophenia’ represents the album aesthetic in its highest form, what are your thoughts about the importance of albums these days for artists and audiences?
Mod was over in the South of England by the spring of 1965, and in a sense the band had changed too. We were less pure, less an R&B band and becoming more of a singles-oriented pop band. So there is an irony in the fact that when I decided we needed to reconnect with that vitally important and colourful period of our career, and our lives as young men trying to pursue a dream of becoming famous and respected, I realised I would need a double album. I’m pleased to hear about artists who uphold the album as an art-form. 

Album. Art. The questioner’s words here, but I have often been ridiculed for using them about  pop music in the past. The digital medium is only just starting to lend itself to long form work. So I expect to see more of it. It was once thought new music fans had a low attention span; but what they reveal is immense commitment to researching what touches them most deeply, and as the internet gets faster they can find what they seek more quickly. Once a connection is made, it can be extremely deep and long-lasting. This is really just another echo: this is how it was back in the ’60s. Singles first, then albums. Maybe the preponderance of singles on the internet has made the album feel special again? Maybe the old way of listening to music – in longer sittings – is finding its way back into vogue? A journey, for example, is an opportunity to listen to something longer, and easy to carry mobile music has made that possible.

–Which are your favorite songs from “Quadrophenia” to perform live and why?
I really love playing all of it. It’s a unique piece for me in that. Some Who music is nightmarish to perform live. Roger has some very tough songs to sing, and he must have preferences. But for me on guitar everything falls under the fingers. It flows naturally, and I always feel proud of my achievement as the writer, that I put it all together and gave the band a third wind. The real high point for me is always the final song ‘Love Reign O’er Me.’ Roger and I now stand almost alone together, representing not only the original band, but also its Mod audience, and of course all our other early fans. We are connected by it, in what is the most clear cut prayer for redemption, and it feels like an acknowledgment that rock music has managed to deal with the highest emotional challenge: spiritual desperation.

–What else can fans expect to hear on the upcoming tour?
We plan to close the show with a few of the really well-known anthems, and maybe some last minute surprises. These will be as much a surprise to me as to our audience because this is an area I tend to leave to Roger; he’s very good at it.

To get a full schedule of tour dates and more from The Who, go online to http://www.thewho.com.

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go 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 reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.