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.

Eagle Rock Releases Details Of New Elton John Live Recording

Courtesy:  Eagle Rock Entertainment

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

Officials with Eagle Rock Entertainment announced Wednesday that the company will release a new live recording from Elton John this summer.

Eagle Rock Entertainment will release The Million Dollar Piano on Tuesday, July 1st. The concert will be released to Blu-ray and DVD. It was originally recorded over multiple nights in 2013 during Elton John’s residency at The Colosseum at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas. The famed pianist’s show has been running since September 2011. The latest leg of stint spanned sixteen shows from March 29th to April 26th, 2014. The concerts are a key collective point in John’s decades-long business relationship with Yamaha pianos.

The primary song list on both the DVD and Blu-ray presentation includes nineteen of John’s greatest hits. Among those songs are the likes of: ‘Crocodile Rock’, ‘Rocket Man’, ‘I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues’, ‘Goodbye Yellow Brick Road’, ‘Circle of Life’, ‘Blue Eyes’, ‘Bennie and the Jets’, ‘Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me’, ‘Philadelphia Freedom’, ‘I’m Still Standing’ and a number of others. Also included in the overall presentation are four songs that were recorded during a 2012 performance in Kiev. Those songs are: ‘Candle in the Wind’, ‘Sacrifice’, ‘Sad Songs (Say So Much)’, and ‘Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me.’ There is also a bonus documentary featurette included on both the DVD and Blu-ray titled “The Making of the Million Dollar Piano.”

The Million Dollar Piano won’t cost fans a million dollars. The Blu-ray will retail for SRP of $19.98. The DVD will retail for SRP of $14.98. More information on this and other releases from Eagle Rock Entertainment is available online at http://www.eagle-rock.com, http://www.facebook.com/EagleRockEnt, and http://twitter.com/EagleRockNews. Fans can keep up with all the latest news from Elton John online at http://www.eltonjohn.com, http://www.facebook.com/EltonJohn and http://twitter.com/eltonjohndotcom. 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.

From Dust To Dreams A Concert Dream Come True

Courtesy:  PBS

Courtesy: PBS

Las Vegas is typically known by its nickname, “Sin City.”  The other “city that never sleeps” is dominated by gambling, girls, and much more.  Because of that reputation, few people would ever associate the famed city with a center for the performing arts.  But there is in fact a center for the performing and cultural arts in Las Vegas now in the Smith Center for the Performing Arts.  Thanks to PBS, audiences that weren’t able to be in attendance at the celebration of the center’s opening can now re-live the concert event any time that they want.

from Dust to Dreams: Opening Night at the Smith Center for the Performing Arts chronicles the celebration held in honor of the center’s opening.  What can be said of this performance but it was an impressive show from a who’s who of the music and entertainment community.  Performers the likes of Jennifer Hudson, Mavis Staples, John Fogerty, Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, and more than can be named here took part in the two-hour long celebration of the arts coming to Las Vegas at long last.  Host of the Tonys and star of CBS’ How I Met Your Mother served as emcee of this presentation.  What’s interesting to note about his presence in this performance is how much different it was in comparison to what audiences have become accustomed to from the actor.  This isn’t a bad thing, either.  If anything, it only serves to heighten the enjoyment of the overall presentation.  Add in expertly mixed audio and video, and audiences get what is in retrospect one of the best live recordings of 2012.

The very first thing that can be noted of from Dust to Dreams is that it opens and closes in fine fashion.  The opening number performed by trumpet player Arturo Sandoval.  Sandoval’s performance was an outstanding opener for the two-hour event.  His control over his instrument shows the result of his years of training.  This is especially the case when he hits the final high note of his opening number.  Far too often, some overzealous performers hit high notes in songs, thinking they sound good.  But in reality the performers in question are blasting out the notes, resulting in a very harsh sound.  That wasn’t the case with Sandoval’s performance.  His performance got the energy flowing and set the bar for what was to come through the rest of the show’s performances.

The performances that follow that of Sandoval hold the bar quite well.  Whether the medley of songs from Man of La Mancha and West Side Story, the classic country of veteran artist Willie Nelson, or even the more rocking sounds of John Fogerty, this show spans the musical spectrum and will entertain audiences of all ages and musical tastes.  Adding to the enjoyment of the concert is the presence of emcee Neil Patrick Harris.  Yes, Harris was more subdued in his hosting duties here than as host of the Tonys.  But this was an entirely different event.  Even the performers had their time on stage limited as there were so many performers.  What’s more, Harris did offer his share of pretty funny jokes when he was on stage.  Audiences need to keep this in mind in considering his performance as emcee of this event.  In doing so, those same individuals will enjoy the laughs that Harris shares when he is on stage.

The performance of host Neil Patrick Harris and that of the show’s performers make from Dust to Dreams quite the enjoyable live recording.  One would be remiss though, to ignore the importance of the show’s audio and video mix.  Going back to the show’s opening number by Arturo Sandoval straight through to the show’s closing number, the audio and video have been expertly mixed.  There are some songs that absolutely soar throughout the course of this program.  And then there are other, more subtle pieces that were captured so well.  Whether one has a home surround sound theater or not, one can still experience so much.  Those that do have home theater systems will appreciate the performances even more.  That’s because the picture will look crystal clear on an HDTV and the sound will sound just as clear.  This is especially true for those with surround sound.  It is these aspects that make the overall presentation on this DVD so enjoyable.  In retrospect, it makes this collection of performances one of the best live recordings of 2012.  From Dust to Dreams is available now.  It can be ordered online direct from the PBS online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=13233132&cp=&sr=1&kw=from+dust+to+dreams&origkw=from+Dust+to+Dreams&parentPage=search&searchId=1374600.

Fans of PBS and its programming can keep up with all of the latest news, releases and more from the network online at http://ww.facebook.com/pbs and at http://www.pbs.org.

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.

Sin City Set To Rock This September

Sin City is set to tock this September.  The famed city will play host to this year’s Rock Vegas festival.  The two day festival will be held Friday, September 28th and Saturday, September 29th.  It will feature the likes of:  Rob zombie, Marilyn Manson, Shinedown, and Godsmack.  Also joining them for the festival are:  Staind, Stone Sour, Papa Roach, Buckcherry, Adelita’s Way, All That Remains, P.O.D., Art of Dying, Redlight King, and New Medicine.

Tickets and VIP packages will go on sale this Saturday, July 28th at 1pm EST/10am PST.  All tickets and VIP packages can be purchased at the Rock Vegas website, http://www.RockVegasFest.com.  Attendees can also get discounted hotel rates for the Luxor, Mandalay Bay, and Excalibur at the festival website.  Ticket prices start at $39 plus fees.  Anyone interested in attending the Rock Vegas Fest can get all the latest on the festival online at http://www.RockVegasFest.comhttp://www.facebook.com/RockVegasFest, http://www.youtube.com/RockVegasFest, and http://twitter.com/RockVegasFest.

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