ZZ Top Live @ Montreux Is One Of 2014′s Top New Live Recordings

Courtesy:  Eagle Rock Entertainment/Eagle Vision

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment/Eagle Vision

Eagle Rock Entertainment has, over the years, earned the title from this critic of being the “Leader in Live Recordings.” Eagle Rock has long been the gold standard for live recordings with releases from the likes of Paul McCartney, The Raconteurs, Elton John, Stone Temple Pilots, Slipknot, and so many others across the board. Now yet again, Eagle Rock has proven yet again why it is that gold standard thanks to the brand new release of ZZ Top Live at Montreux 2013. This latest release in Eagle Rock’s ongoing partnership with Montreux Sounds is one more of this year’s top live recordings. It offers audiences a concert loaded with all of the Texas-based trio’s greatest hits and some lesser-known pieces, among which is a fitting tribute to the famed festival’s late founder Claude nobs. The concert’s combined audio and video mix make taking in each of those songs even more of a joy for audiences of all ages. And rounding out the whole thing is a pair of interviews that while relatively short, provide so much insight into the band’s respect for the Montreux festival, music in general and more. All three of these factors together show once again why Eagle Rock remains to this day, the “Leader in Live Recordings,” and why every classic rock and rock fan in general, will enjoy this concert.

The central point of enjoyment in ZZ Top Live at Montreux 2013 is the show’s set list, point blank. The veteran trio—Dusty Hill (bass), Billy Gibbons (guitar), and Frank Beard (drums)—churns out hit after hit throughout the course of the concert’s seventeen-song, eighty-minute show. Among those hits are the likes of ‘Sharp Dressed Man,’ ‘Gimme All your Lovin’,’ and ‘Tush’ just to name a few. As much as audiences will enjoy those favorites, they will also enjoy the band’s cover of Jimi Hendrix’s ‘Foxey Lady’ and the trio’s tribute to late Montreux Jazz Festival founder Claude Knobs in the bluesy/jazzy ‘Kiko.’ The band even brings in a pair of special guest musicians to join in on this number and one other song. The band’s live take of ‘I Gotsta Get Paid’ is another wonderful highlight from this concert. Throughout it all, the trio’s unassuming demeanor set against such solid, driving songs makes for such an interesting experience. It goes to show that a band doesn’t need pyro and loads of special effects and more to make a concert memorable. As long as the band can get the audience moving with its music, that’s the most important factor to the show. And that’s exactly what the members of ZZ Top do in this case. That factor alone makes this recording more than worth the watch.

The set list that makes up ZZ Top’s by itself more than makes this recording worth the watch. It makes it well worth buying for the band’s fans of all ages. Just as worth noting is the concert’s combined audio and video mix. The sound and video are both crystal clear throughout the show’s roughly eighty-minute run time. This is one of those standards that has for the longest time, made Eagle Rock the gold standard in live recordings. Those with home theater systems will especially appreciate the painstaking efforts that went in to bringing this concert to audiences. From the soaring shots above the crowd to the close ups of the band to those of the audience happily singing along, the camerawork in this concert is on par with every concert that Eagle Rock has released in recent years. And the audio mix is just as solid. Again, those with a home theater system will hear this for themselves. That expert audio and visual work together with the show’s set list pushes this recording even more to the top. Putting the recording at the top is the addition of a pair of interviews with Billy Gibbons and Dusty Hill in which the pair discuss what the Montreux Festival means to them, their thoughts on Claude Nobs and more.

The finishing touch to ZZ Top’s new live recording is the inclusion of a pair of backstage interviews with Billy Gibbons and Dusty Hill. The interviews are short. They run about three minutes or a little more each. But even within their short run times, the thoughts shared by the pair speak volumes. They discuss the festival itself and its history and how much it meant to have been invited to perform. They also discuss their relationship with the festival’s late founder Claude Nobs. They spoke very fondly of nobs and how those positive vibes led to the band’s musical tribute to the man. Just as eye and ear opening is the pair’s discussion on how the festival really brought together so many people of different musical backgrounds. It shows a love for music and respect for all different kinds of people. And that sentiment, as short as it may be, makes one look back through the concert once again, gaining a whole new appreciation not just for this recording, but for the members of ZZ Top as people. All things considered, this latest live recording from Eagle Rock Entertainment proves to be one more in this critic’s list of the year’s best new live recordings. It will be the favorite of any other music lover, too when they purchase the Blu-ray or DVD for themselves.

More information on this and other releases from Eagle Rock Entertainment is available online at http://www.facebook.com/EagleRockEnt and http://www.eagle-rock.com. And for the latest on ZZ Top’s updated tour schedule and more, fans can follow the band online at http://www.facebook.com/ZZTop and http://www.zztop.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 Entertainment Releases Details Of Upcoming ZZ Top Live Release

Courtesy:  Eagle Rock Entertainment/Montreux Sounds

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment/Montreux Sounds

The partnership between Eagle Rock Entertainment and Montreux Sounds has led to the release of a number of archived shows from the festival’s decades-long history in recent years. Performances from the likes of Phil Collins, Carlos Santana, Etta James, and so many others have been released thanks to the companies’ partnership. Now another of music’s major names will see one of its Montreux Festival performances released this summer thanks to that partnership. The name in question is none other than classic rock trio ZZ Top.

ZZ Top: Live at Montreux 2013 will be released July 22, 2014 on DVD, Blu-ray, and digital formats. The new archived concert will be released alongside the brand new CD release of ZZ Top: The Very Baddest Of. That new CD release is a two-disc set containing forty of the band’s biggest hits. It will be released via Rhino Records. ZZ Top: Live at Montreux 2013 will see the band performing many of those hits live at the famed festival. Among the songs audiences can expect to hear are: ‘La Grange,’ ‘Gimme All Your Lovin’,’ ‘Pincushion,’ ‘Sharp Dressed Man,’ ‘Waitin’ For The Bus,’ ‘Legs,’ ‘Tube Snake Boogie,’ and ‘Tush’ just to name a handful of songs. Audiences can also expect to see the band’s performance of ‘Tres Hombres,’ ‘Fandango,’ ‘Eliminator,’ and ‘La Futura.’ Needless to say that this new archived performance is a definite career-spanning set. There is even a jazz-blues tribute to the late Claude Nobs, who founded the Montreux Jazz Festival decades ago. The performance features appearances by Mike Flanigin on Hammond organ and Van Wilks on guitar.

The concert’s DVD presentation will retail for SRP of $14.98. The Blu-ray will retail for $19.98. More information on this and other releases from Eagle Rock Entertainment and Montreux Sounds is available online at http://www.facebook.com/EagleRockEnt and http://www.eagle-rock.com. More information on ZZ Top and all of its upcoming releases and tour news is available online at http://www.zztop.com and http://www.facebook.com/zztop. 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.

Jeff Beck, ZZ Top Announce First Ever Joint Tour

Courtesy:  Mad Ink PR/Merlis For Hire

Courtesy: Mad Ink PR/Merlis For Hire

Two of the country’s most iconic acts are hitting the road together this Summer.

ZZ Top and Jeff Beck have announced that they will tour together beginning Friday, August 8th in Missoula, Montana. The tour will run for five weeks and will include performances in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Denver, Detroit, Boston , and New York City. The acts’ current tour schedule runs through September12th. More dates are expected to be announced.

This will not be the first time that Beck and ZZ Top have ever performed together. However, it will be the first time that the two acts have ever toured together. ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons joined Jeff Beck on stage at the 25th anniversary celebration of the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame in 2009 at New York’s famed Madison Square Garden. The pair performed Jimi Hendrix’s hit song ‘Foxey Lady’ and ZZ Top’s ‘Rough Boy’ at the event. Beck joined ZZ Top in Lucca, Italy in 2010 for an extended take of ZZ Top’s hit song ‘La Grange.’

Billy Gibbons spoke on behalf of his band mates in ZZ Top—Dusty Hill and Frank Beard—in an interview about the upcoming tour. He had nothing but positive things to say of Beck and his importance in the history of modern mainstream music. He said of Beck, “Ever since experiencing ‘Jeff’s Boogie,’ the prospect of performance with Jeff Beck on the deck brings us into focus with the curator of crunch.”

Beck shared similar sentiment about his friends in ZZ Top. “Ever since Eliminator I thought it would be great to play with ZZ Top,” he said. In discussing Billy Gibbons, Beck called Gibbons “The Professor of Grunge.

The most current schedule of tour dates for Jeff Beck and ZZ Top is listed below. More dates will be announced over time.

ZZ Top with Jeff Beck Tour Itinerary:

August 8         Ogren Park                                          Missoula, MT

August 9         Chateau Ste. Michelle                         Woodinville, WA

August 10       Cuthbert Amphitheatre                        Eugene, OR

August 12       The Mountain Winery                          Saratoga, CA

August 13       Greek Amphitheatre                            Los Angeles, CA

August 15       Ironstone Amphitheatre                       Murphys, CA

August 16       The Joint                                              Las Vegas, NV

August 20       Fiddlers Green Amphitheatre              Englewood, CO

August 22       Zoo Amphitheatre                                Oklahoma City, OK

August 23      Starlight Theater                                   Kansas City, MO

August 24       Verizon Wireless Amphitheater          Maryland Heights, MO

August 27       DTE Energy Music Theatre                 Clarkston, MI

August 28       Ravinia                                                Highland Park, IL

August 31       MGM Grand Theater @ Foxwoods     Mashantucket, CT

September 2    Blue Hills Bank Pavilion                        Boston, MA

September 3    Merriweather Post Pavilion                 Columbia, MD

September 4    Nikon @ Jones Beach Theater           Wantagh, NY

September 6    Verizon Wireless Amphitheater          Alpharetta, GA

September 7    St. Augustine Amphitheater                St. Augustine, FL

September 12  Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion         The Woodlands, TX

More dates TBA

The latest tour dates, news and more from ZZ Top and Jeff Beck are available online at http://www.facebook.com/jeffbeck, http://www.facebook.com/ZZTop, http://zztop.com, and http://www.jeffbeck.com. 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.

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

Courtesy:  Eagle Rock Entertainment/Eagle Vision

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment/Eagle Vision

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

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

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

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

Music Legends To be Inducted Into Memphis Music Hall Of Fame Thursday

Courtesy: Bob Merlis/M.H.F.

The Memphis Music Hall of Fame will become a reality this week.  After years of talks and work, the very first class of musicians will be inducted into the Hall this Thursday at the Canon Center for Performing Arts.  Among the artist included in the inaugural class of inductees are:  W.C. Handy, Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Al Green.  Also included in this year’s class are some lesser known but still respected musicians such as:  jazz saxophonist George Coleman, gospel songwriter Lucie Campbell, and W.T. McDaniel, Booker T. Washington High School bandmaster.

The Memphis Music Hall of Fame initiative is part of the Smithsonian-connected Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum.  Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum Executive Director John Doyle shared his thoughts on the importance of the Music Hall’s inaugural event.  “We wanted to keep the ticket prices low, in order for the public to be able to come out”, said Doyle.  General admission tickets for the event are available for as little as $30.  Doyle added noting, “A lot of what we want to do with the Hall of Fame is about education both through the website and the gallery, but a lot of it is about paying tribute and really giving tribute to the musicians who put Memphis on a global map.  And we want the public to share in that.”

The inaugural Memphis Music Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will take place this Thursday at 7pm at the Canon Center for Performing Arts at 225 N. Main in Memphis.  Tickets are available for $30, $50, and $100.  They can be purchased at any Ticketmaster location or online at http://www.ticketmaster.com.  They can also be purchased via phone at 1-800-745-3000.  More information on this Thursday’s even it available online at http://memphisrocknsoul.org

The inaugural class of inductees into the Memphis Music Hall of Fame is as follows:

Estelle Axton and Jim Stewart

Bobby “Blue” Bland

Booker T. and the M.G.’s

Lucie Campbell

George Coleman

Jim Dickinson

Al Green

W.C. Handy

Isaac Hayes

Howlin’ Wolf

B.B. King

Jerry Lee Lewis

Jimmie Lunceford

Professor W.T. McDaniel

Memphis Minnie

Willie Mitchell

Dewey Phillips

Sam Phillips

Elvis Presley

Otis Redding

The Staple Singers

Rufus Thomas

Three 6 Mafia

Nat D. Williams

ZZ Top

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