Rainbow’s New Live Recording Is A “Shining” New Offering From Eagle Rock

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

Veteran rock outfit Rainbow is set to shine again early next month when it releases its latest live recording Live in Birmingham 2016.  Set for release Friday, June 9, the recording is the final piece in a collection of performances from the band held last year during the band’s European tour.  Two of the performances from that brief tour were initially released on DVD.  This recording, while only available on 2CD set and digital platforms – the set’s only negative – rounds out that short stint of live dates.  Even being available only on audio-specific platforms, it still boasts its share of positives, beginning with its set list.  This will be discussed shortly.  The band’s performance of the featured songs is just as important to note as the songs themselves.  It will be discussed later.  The concert’s sound quality rounds out its most important elements.  Each noted element is important in its own right as will be shown. All things considered, they make Live in Birmingham 2016 one more of this year’s top new live CDs.

Eagle Rock Entertainment’s new live Rainbow recording Live in Birmingham 2016 is one of this year’s top new live CDs.  An accompaniment to the label’s previously released live Rainbow recordings from the band’s 2016 European tour, this recording boasts plenty of positives beginning with its extensive 15-song (technically 16-song) set list.  The set list, which is spread across two discs, features an extensive collection of Rainbow’s hits along with a number of Deep Purple’s biggest hits, too.  On the outermost layer of the set list, audiences will appreciate that the set list balances the Deep Purple songs and Rainbow songs quite expertly.  Both bands are represented with eight songs.  Two of the songs, ‘Black Night’ and ‘Woman From Tokyo’ are joined in a mini-medley.  Even with that in mind, they are still two songs, bringing the set list’s total count to 16 songs.  Again, this makes the bands’ song count eight each.

The expertly balanced representation of Deep Purple and Rainbow within the set list is just one part of what makes the set list stand out.  The range of albums from which the songs are pulled adds even more to the importance of the set list.  In regards to the Rainbow portion of the set list, which is interspersed with the Deep Purple portion, audiences will be pleased to see that only two of Rainbow’s records – Bent Out Of Shape (1983) and Stranger In Us All (1995) – are not represented in this concert.  The band’s debut 1975 album Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow is represented twice in the form of ‘Catch The Rainbow’ and ‘Man on the Silver Mountain’ while Difficult To Cure (1981) also gets a pair of songs in the form of its title track and ‘Spotlight Kid.’  Rising, Down To Earth, Long Live Rock ‘N Roll and Straight Between The Eyes each get a nod, too.

The set list’s Deep Purple nods obviously don’t pull from every one of that band’s albums.  However, It does do a respectable job of representing the band’s early days, reaching all the way back to its seminal 1972 album Machine Head and even to 1995 with the 25th anniversary re-issue of Deep Purple in Rock.  That re-issue is represented through the song ‘Black Night,’ which was originally recorded as a B-Side that never made it onto the original album.  Stormbringer (1974) is also represented here as are the band’s self-titled 1973 album, Burn (1974) and Perfect Strangers (1984).  The latter of the albums, Perfect Strangers marked Blackmore’s return to the band from Rainbow, making it an important record to represent in Blackmore’s return to the stage in this concert.  Keeping in mind the Deep Purple and Rainbow records represented here and their equally balanced representation, it becomes clear why the concert’s set list is so important to its overall presentation.  The whole of the set list paints a rich, vivid picture of Blackmore’s career while also offering plenty of entertaining compositions.  The set list is only one of the elements to be considered in examining the recording’s whole.  The band’s performance of the set list is just as important to discuss in examining the concert’s overall presentation.

The set list featured in this recording is a key piece of the recording’s whole.  That is proven through its balance of Deep Purple and Rainbow songs as well as the representation of each band’s body of work within the recording.  It is not the recording’s only important element.  The band’s performance of that extensive, yet well-balanced, set list is just as important to examine as the set list itself.  Front man Ronnie Romero keeps audiences completely enthralled with his vocals in every song whether powering through ‘Long Live Rock ‘N’ Roll’ and ‘Highway Star,’ soaring through ‘Stargazer’ or driving the band through ‘Burn.’  Blackmore’s work on the guitar is just as powerful in each performance while David Keith (drums) and Bob Nouveau (bass) partner to drive the band’s rhythm section solidly.  The band’s collective fire burns bright through each performance, making the concert engaging from start to finish.  Even in the occasional interludes, Romero keeps listeners engaged showing his prowess as a front man as he interacts with the audience.  The fact that the band doesn’t spend an overt amount of time between songs makes this even more interesting to note.  Simply put, the band makes the most of every moment, whether performing or taking time to talk to the audience.  The whole of that presentation makes this recording even more enjoyable, even though it can only be enjoyed in an audio-only platform.  Despite that, the band’s performance both in-song and between proves to be just as important to this recording as the set list itself.  It is not the last of the recording’s most important elements, either.  Its sound quality rounds out its most important elements.

The set list that makes up the body of Live in Birmingham 2016 and the band’s performance thereof are both key pieces of the recording’s whole.  That has already been pointed out and proven.  While both elements are clearly important pieces of the record’s whole, they are not its only important elements.  The recording’s sound quality (I.E. its sound engineering/mixing) is also important to note.  The concert’s sound starts off a little bit muddled, with Romero’s vocals being somewhat overpowered by the rest of the band’s instrumentation.  By the time the band works its way into ‘Mistreated,’ that issue disappears, making the concert an enjoyable listen right to the end.  Whether the initial audio issue rose at the concert or in post-production is anyone’s guess.  That aside, it thankfully doesn’t last too long before it is finally eliminated.  The end result is a recording that balances relatively well each musician’s part with those of his counterparts, making for a concert that expertly highlights each musician and in turn entertains and engages audiences from start to finish.  When this is considered along with the equally important set list and band’s performance thereof, the whole of those elements reveals the recording to be an experience that audiences, whether fans of Blackmore, Deep Purple, Rainbow or all three, will appreciate.  That is the case even despite the fact that the recording is available only on audio-specific platforms.  They reveal the recording to be one of this year’s top new live CDS.

Rainbow: Live in Birmingham 2016 is one of this year’s top new live CDs.  That is due in part to a set list that lifts equally from Blackmore’s time with Rainbow and Deep Purple.  The band’s performance of the expertly balanced set list adds to the recording’s presentation.  The recording’s sound quality rounds out its most important elements.  Each element is, as already noted, important in its own right to the recording’s whole.  All things considered, they make Live in Birmingham 2016 a presentation that, despite being available exclusively on audio platforms, an enjoyable recording and one that proves to be one of the year’s top new live CDs.  It will be available in stores and online Friday, June 9.  More information on this and other titles from Eagle Rock Entertainment is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.eagle-rock.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/EagleRockEnt

Twitter: http://twitter.com/EagleRockNews

 

 

 

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Eagle Rock To Release Blackmore’s Birmingham 2016 Concert This Summer

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

Last fall, Eagle Rock Entertainment presented a pair of performances from Richie Blackmore’s Rainbow from his 2016 European tour in the concert film Memories in Rock.  The concerts were part of a trio of shows performed by the veteran guitarist following his return to the stage last summer.  This summer, Eagle Rock Entertainment will release the third of those shows when it releases Live in Birmingham 2016.

Live in Birmingham 2016 will be released on Friday, June 9 in stores and online.  It will be released exclusively on a 2CD platform for MSRP of $19.98 and via digital platforms.  The recording’s 14-song set includes songs from Blackmore’s days with Deep Purple and Rainbow including ‘Catch The Rainbow,’ ‘Mistreated,’ ‘Since You Been Gone,’ ‘Long Live Rock ‘N Roll,’ ‘Black Night,’ ‘Spotlight Kid,’ ‘Smoke on the Water,’ ‘Stargazer,’ ‘Perfect Strangers,’ and others.  The recording’s full track listing is noted below.

TRACK LISTING

Disc One:

1) Over The Rainbow / Highway Star

2) Spotlight Kid

3) Mistreated

4) Since You Been Gone

5) Man On The Silver Mountain

6) Soldier Of Fortune

7) Medley: Difficult To Cure (Beethoven’s Ninth) / Drum Solo / Bass Solo / Band Jam / Keyboard Solo (inc Toccata & Fugue in Dm) / Difficult To Cure (Beethoven’s Ninth

8) Catch The Rainbow

Disc Two:

1) Perfect Strangers

2) Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll

3) Child In Time

4) Stargazer

5) Medley: Black Night / Woman From Tokyo / Black Night

6) Burn

7) Smoke On The Water

The lineup for the concert features Blackmore on guitar, Ronnie Romero on vocals, David Keith on drums, Bob Nouveau on bass, Jens Johannsen on keyboards, and Candice Night and Lady Lynn on backing vocals.

More information on this and other titles from Eagle Rock Entertainment is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.eagle-rock.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/EagleRockEnt

Twitter: http://twitter.com/EagleRockNews

 

 

 

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Santana Shines Again In Phil’s Picks’ 2016 Top 10 New Live DVDs/BDs List

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

The weather outside is definitely looking frightful this time of year.  That means rather than going outside to get out and about, people are going to be looking more for ways to have fun while they stay indoors and stay warm.  That is just one of so many reasons that record labels churn out so many live recordings each year.  The problem with all of those recordings is that while some are truly standout offerings, others are otherwise forgettable space fillers used to fulfill contractual obligations for the given acts.  Presented today are some of the best of this year’s new live recordings.

Whereas Phil’s Picks already presented the year’s top new live CD recordings, this time Phil’s Picks is presenting the year’s top new live DVDs and Blu-rays.  A lot of thought and consideration went into this list.  The concerts’ set lists, the bands’ performances, the cinematography and audio mix all went into consideration for this list as did the recordings’ companion booklets or lack thereof.  So it goes without saying that it wasn’t an easy list to assemble.  But this critic tried.
As always, the list presented here includes not just this critic’s list of the year’s top new live DVDs and BDs but five honorable mention titles for a total of 15 recordings.  Without any further ado, here for you, is Phil’s Picks 2016 Top 10 New Live DVDs/BDs.
PHIL’S PICKS 2016 TOP 10 NEW LIVE DVDs/BDs
 
1. SantanaSantana IV Live at the House of Blues Las Vegas
2. KISSKISS Rocks Vegas
 
3. Joe BonamassaLive at the Greek Theatre
4. Judas PriestBattle Cry
5. Motley CrueThe End Live in Los Angeles
6. The Rolling StonesHavana Moon
7. Deep PurpleLive at the NEC
8. Melody GardotLive in Paris
9. Gregory PorterLive in Berlin
10. ScorpionsLive in Munich
11. Alan JacksonLive at Red Rocks
12. Michael Schenker’s Temple of RockRock on a MissionLive in Madrid
13. SaxonFeel Your Power
14. Imagine DragonsSmoke + Mirrors Live
15. Fall Out BoyThe Boys of Zummer TourLive in Chicago
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Every Deep Purple Fan Will Welcome ‘Live At The NEC’

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

This coming Friday, August 26th, Deep Purple will release its latest live recording Live at the NEC.  Originally recorded September 14th, 2002 at The NEC in Birmingham, England, the DVD recording comes about a year after the release of the band’s 2015 dual live recordings From The Setting Sunin Wacken and To The Rising Sunin Tokyo. Being that so little time has passed between those records and this recording’s upcoming release one might wonder what makes it stand out from its predecessors.  The first element that makes it stand out is its set list.  This will be discussed shortly.  The band’s stage presence over the course of the show’s nearly two-hour run time is just as important to note as the set list. The bonus interviews that are included with the recording round out the recording’s most important elements.  Each element is important in making this live recording stand out from Deep Purple’s previous live recordings. All things considered they make this latest offering another welcome addition to any Deep Purple fan’s music library.

Deep Purple’s new live recording Live at the NEC is another welcome offering in any Deep Purple fan’s music library.  This is the case even with the recording coming only a little more than a year after the release of the band’s most recent dual live recording set—From The Setting Sun…in Wacken and To The Rising Sun…in Tokyo.  That is due in part to the recording’s set list.  The sixteen (technically fourteen not counting the show’s keyboard solo from then new keyboardist Don Airey and guitarist Steve Morse) song set pulls largely from the band’s early years. It even goes all the way back to the band’s 1968 debut album Shades of Deep Purple with the inclusion of its cover of ‘Hush’ and all the way to 1996’s Perpendicular with the inclusion of ‘Vavoom: Ted The Mechanic’ in the show’s set list.  The band even went so far as to include some slightly lesser-known pieces in the recording in the form of ‘When A Blind Man Cries’ and ‘Black Night.’  The prior was the b-side to the song ‘Never Before,’ which was itself originally included in 1984’s Perfect Strangers.  The latter was included as a b-side for ‘Speed King, from the band’s 1970 album Deep Purple in Rock.  Those songs couple with the band’s much bigger hits—‘Highway Star,’ ‘Space Truckin’,’ ‘Smoke on the Water,’ ‘Woman From Tokyo’—and the rest of the set’s featured songs to make the set in whole one that will keep audiences engaged and entertained throughout the course of the concert’s near two-hour run time.

The set list that is featured in this recording is undeniably important to the recording’s presentation. That is because while it does feature some of the band’s biggest hits, it also features some lesser known songs.  It comes across as a very focused set list.  Even with the show being the last at the time for founding member and keyboardist Jon Lord, Lord did not play a creative role in every one of the featured songs.  This leads to plenty of discussion on the reasoning behind the set list.  Even with that in mind the show’s set list is just one part of what makes the recording in whole welcome in any Deep Purple fan’s music library.  The band’s stage presence throughout the course of the concert is just as important to note as the songs that the band performs.  The songs that make up the concert’s set are largely upbeat.  They have plenty of energy.  Of course there are some slower, more reserved moments.  Through it all the band’s members keep the audience completely entertained.  The band shows that an act doesn’t necessarily have to rely on pyrotechnics and other gimmicks in order to entertain audiences.  Rather, the band shows in whole that sometimes all a band needs to keep audiences entertained in a live setting is that presence.  And presence is exactly what the band has here.  Front man Ian Gillan commands the stage with ease as guitarist Steve Morse and drummer Ian Paice drive each song.  Speaking of Morse, his interaction with his band mates during his extended guitar solo shows the chemistry between the musicians.  Keyboardists Don Airey and Jon Lord are just as entertaining to watch as they perform both solo and in tandem.  Airey shows his vast musical background with some playful pieces and even some equally impressive classical snippets in his keyboard solo.  Lord is just as entertaining to watch as he works his way through the second half of the set list.  All things considered each man does his own part to entertain audiences throughout the concert.  Home viewers will agree with this when they see the concert for themselves.  Their presence, when considered together, makes the concert’s overall experience just as enjoyable to watch as the show’s set list.  When both element are set against one another, they come together to show even more clearly why this concert is another welcome addition to any Deep Purple fan’s music library.  They are not the only elements to consider in the concert’s new home release.  The bonus interviews that are included in the concert are just as important to note here as the show’s set list and the band’s performance of said set list.

The set list that is featured in Live at the NEC and the band’s performance of said set list are both key elements in the recording’s overall presentation.  As important as they prove to be to the recording’s presentation, they are hardly its only positives.  The interviews that are included in the recording are just as important to its presentation as the set list and the band’s performance thereof.  One of the interviews—with Gillan and Glover—is included as bonus companion material that stands separate from the concert.  It is an extensive interview that touches on a number of topics including the story behind ‘Smoke on the Water.’ Roger Glover’s thoughts on rock versus metal, his thoughts on rock versus pop, and how famed veteran guitarist Joe Satriani came to work with Deep Purple for a period of time among much more.  The main concert feature includes a post concert interview with Jon Lord in which Lord talks about his feelings of performing for the last time.  Audiences will be moved both to smiles and tears as Lord talks about discovering after the show that he had broken down crying after leaving the stage and hadn’t even realized it at first.  His ruminations will keep audiences just as engaged as his performance on stage.  When it’s all said and done, audiences will agree that the two interview segments prove to be just as invaluable to this recording as the recording’s main feature and the band’s performance of the set list.  All things considered there is a lot to say to the positive for Live at the NEC; so much so that the recording proves with full clarity why it is another welcome addition to any Deep Purple fan’s music library.

Live at the NEC is hardly Deep Purple’s first live recording.  It is though, a completely welcome new live recording to any Deep Purple fan’s music library.  That is proven through the show’s focused, sixteen-song set list.  The set list, which comes in at just under two hours features a collection of songs that come largely from the band’s early days.  The band’s performance of that set is just as important to the recording’s presentation as the set list itself.  The band keeps audiences completely engaged and entertained just with its own performance.  It shows through its performance that a band doesn’t always need big showy elements and other gimmicks in order to entertain audiences.  It just needs good music and good stage presence.  The interviews that are included in the recording play just as much of a part in its presentation as the band’s performance and the concert’s set list.  That is because of the insight and entertainment that they offer in their own right.  As if all of this isn’t enough, one can’t (and shouldn’t) ignore the recording’s packaging.  Audiences will notice that the recording is packaged in what is essentially a Blu-ray box.  It is not the first time that Eagle Rock has packaged its live DVDs in such packaging.  It is good to see this packaging used yet again, too.  It shows that DVD packaging can be the exact same size as Blu-ray packaging, thus saving even more space on audiences’ DVD racks.  It is an approach that sets Eagle Rock Entertainment ahead of every other home entertainment company, and in turn shows once more why Eagle Rock Entertainment remains to this day the lading name in live recordings.  With any luck the rest of the home entertainment realm will use this packaging as a model and eventually catch up to Eagle Rock Entertainment in this avenue.  Regardless of whether or not that ever happens, this element couples with all of the previously noted elements to, again, show why Live at the NEC is another welcome addition to any Deep Purple fan’s music library and why Eagle Rock Entertainment remains today the leading name in live recordings.

Live at the NEC will be available this Friday, August 26th.  More information on Live at the NEC is available online now along with all of Deep Purple’s latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.deeppurple-nowwhat.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/officialdeeppurple

Twitter: http://twitter.com/_DeepPurple

 

 

 

More information on Live at the NEC and other title from Eagle Rock Entertainment is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.eagle-rock.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/EagleRockEnt

Twitter: http://twitter.com/EagleRockNews

 

 

 

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 https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Eagle Rock Entertainment Announces New Deep Purple Live Recording

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

Eagle Rock Entertainment is releasing yet another new live Deep Purple recording this summer.

Deep Purple: Live at the NEC will be released Friday, August 26th.  It will be available on DVD ($14.99) and digital formats.  Originally recorded on September 14th, 2002 the hour and forty-nine minute concert was meant to pay tribute to founding member and keyboardist Jon Lord.  That is because earlier the same year, Lord had announced his retirement from the band.  After his announcement the band enlisted the help of Don Airey, who also joined the band at the concert along with Lord.  Airey served as principal keyboardist throughout the course of the concert.  Though, Lord made a very special appearance on ‘Perfect Strangers.’  The concert featured the lineup of Ian Gillan, Roger Glover, Steve Morse, Ian Paice, Jon Lord, and Don Airey.  The set list features a number of the band’s biggest hits including: ‘Highway Star,’ ‘Smoke on the Water,’ ‘Woman From Tokyo,’ ‘Space Truckin’,’ ‘Speed King,’ ‘Lazy,’ ‘Hush,’ and many others.  The concert’s full set list is noted below.  Along with its main feature, the DVD also features interviews with Ian Gillan and Roger Glover as bonus material.

 

TRACK LISTING

1) Fireball

2) Woman From Tokyo

3) Mary Long

4) Ted The Mechanic

5) Lazy

6) The Well Dressed Guitar

7) When A Blind Man Cries

8) Space Truckin’

9) Keyboard Solo

10) Perfect Strangers

11) Speed King

12) Guitar Solo

13) Smoke On The Water

14) Hush

15) Black Night

16) Highway Star

 

Along with the release of Live at the NEC, Eagle Rock Entertainment will release two other Deep Purple concerts—Total Abandon and Bombay Calling—exclusively in digital platforms the same day.  More information on Live at the NEC is available online now along with all of Deep Purple’s latest news and more at:

 

 

Website: http://www.deeppurple-nowwhat.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/officialdeeppurple

Twitter: http://twitter.com/_DeepPurple

 

More information on this and other titles from Eagle Rock Entertainment is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.eagle-rock.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/EagleRockEnt

Twitter: http://twitter.com/EagleRockNews

 

 

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 https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

 

Live In Hyde Park Is A Must Have For Every ELO Fan

Courtesy:  Eagle Rock Entertainment/Universal Music Group

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment/Universal Music Group

Next month, ELO, now known as Jeff Lyne’s ELO will release its fourteenth full-length studio recording. The album, Alone in the Universe, will be released on Friday, November 13th via Columbia Records. That is just under a month away at the time of this review’s posting. The announcement of the album’s impending release was made just last month, a day before the release of the group’s new live recording Live in Hyde Park. Released on September 11th, Live in Hyde Park is a good addition to any ELO fan’s personal music library. The main reason that it proves to be such a worthwhile addition to fans’ collections is its set list. It should be noted right up front that the recording’s U.S. presentation allegedly is lacking the group’s performance of ‘Roll Over Beethoven,’ which was the band’s cover of Chuck Berry’s classic hit. Even if it is indeed lacking that one encore performance, the lack of that performance, at least in this critic’s own view, does not take away anything from the positive impact of the show’s overall set list. That will be discussed shortly. Another positive to the recording is of course Lynne’s stage presence and that of his fellow musicians. That presence makes for just as much enjoyment as the show’s set list and gives fans even more reason to add this recording to their personal ELO collections and music libraries in whole. Last but hardly least worth noting of the recording is its bonus material. The bonus interview with Lynne is quite insightful in its own right while the “bio” “Mr. Blue Sky: The Story Of Jeff Lynne and ELO adds even more insight into the importance of this legendary act. The two bonuses come together to round out the recording’s overall viewing experience and show once and for all why fans will both enjoy and appreciate once they add it to their own personal ELO collections and music libraries in whole.

Live at Hyde Park, the new live recording from Jeff Lynne’s ELO is a good addition to any ELO fan’s personal music library and ELO collection. It proves first and foremost through its set list. While not a completely career-spanning performance for Lynne and company, the sixteen song set list touches on a rather healthy sampling of the band’s body of work even going all the way back to the band’s 1971 debut record The Electric Light Orchestra. Its 1977 album Out Of The Blue appears to be the most well-represented of the albums represented in this concert. Of the album’s sixteen songs, no fewer than three are taken from that album while The Electric Light Orchestra, On The Third Day, Eldorado, and Face The Music are each represented by one song. A New World Record is represented twice over, while Discovery, the Xanadu soundtrack, and Secret Messages each boast a single track. That still leaves four songs that audiences both familiar with ELO’s body of work and those not so familiar work to find for themselves. In finding themselves, audiences will agree that once again, while the sentiment that the set list featured in this concert recording, while not necessarily career-spanning, is still a solid representation of ELO’s body of work. On another note, there are those that have complained about the U.S. presentation of Live at Hyde Park not including the encore performance of ‘Roll Over Beethoven’ at he very end of the recording. Given, that track is not there. There is no denying this. But considering that it is just one song, it still takes away very little if anything from the overall viewing experience of this recording. To that extent, the set list presented in Live in Hyde Park proves in the end to still be just as important to the recording’s viewing experience as any of the recording’s key talking points.

The set list featured in this recording is within itself plenty of reason for ELO fans to add it to their personal collections and music libraries in whole. That is even with the alleged omission of one song in the recording’s U.S. release. Lynne’s stage presence and that of his fellow musicians is just as important as the songs themselves. It goes without saying that the group’s stage presence makes for its own share of enjoyment. Lynne exudes a certain confidence for lack of better wording as he makes his way from one song to the next in the show’s set. It proves that a performer doesn’t necessarily have to run around stage and do all kinds of antics in order to be entertaining. All a performer needs is that confidence and the love of being on stage, entertaining the masses in order to be entertaining. That is what makes his stage presence so solid throughout the show. He commands the stage just by being there and doing so little other than deliver the songs. Lynne’s fellow musicians–many of whom are members of the BBC Orchestra, as Lynne directly notes–show just as much confidence throughout the concert. They also show just how much they enjoy performing with Lynne and his band. It shows through the energy and concentration put into each song’s performance and through their facial gestures. Audiences can see smiles on the faces of the BBC Orchestra members’ faces throughout, showing just how much they enjoyed being a part of the show. The enjoyment leads back to the energy put into each performance from start to finish. In turn it makes the overall stage presence of the group in whole–including Lynne and his band–that much more powerful and important to the whole of Live in Hyde Park. Together with the show’s set list and its sequencing, both elements together go a long way toward making this recording such an enjoyable experience for any long-time ELO fan. For all of their importance to the recording’s overall viewing experience they are not all that make the recording so enjoyable. The bonus interview with Jeff Lynne and the “bio” Mr. Blue Sky: The Story of Jeff Lynne and ELO round out the recording. The two bonuses together not only paint a rich picture of Jeff Lynne and his importance to the music industry, but on the legacy that he has created throughout his professional career.

The performance that lies at the center of Live in Hyde Park is in itself the most important element of the recording. It is after all the central focus point of the recording. However, the bonus material that is included with the recording proves just as important to the whole of the recording as the concert. That is because the bonus material paints such a rich, vivid picture of who Jeff Lynne is and why he is today one of the most important figures in the music industry. The one-on-one interview with Lynne paints its own picture, showing perhaps why Lynne is such a stickler for detail in terms of composing songs. He notes in his interview that despite being essentially a manual laborer, his father had a deep love and respect for classical music. And classical music requires a deep love for and attention to the music. Any lover of classical music will agree with that. Perhaps growing up in a household filled with such beautiful music led to his own attention to detail in composing his songs. He perhaps gained the same love for his music and attention to detail in composing his songs through his musical upbringing, in other words. Lynne also shares a funny anecdote about ELO opening for Deep Purple in the band’s first major tour and his surprise at how well it went down considering the stark contrast of sounds between the two acts. That anecdote will have viewers laughing just as Lynne himself. It’s just another example of what makes his interview so enjoyable for audiences, regardless of audiences’ familiarity with Lynne’s body of work and his contributions to the music industry. Speaking of those contributions to the music world, the bonus “bio/documentary” Mr. Blue Sky: The Story of Jeff Lynne and ELO offers even more insight into the importance of his contributions to the music industry.

Mr. Blue Sky: The Story of Jeff Lynne and ELO takes the foundation established in Lynne’s bonus one-on-one interview and builds even more on it. It does so by going into even more depth about his own achievements and contributions over the course of his professional career. It isn’t just some short, ten-minute presentation unlike so many other career retrospectives out there that call themselves bonuses on other acts’ recordings. Rather, it is a deep, extensive presentation that will keep viewers just as engaged as the presentation’s central concert recording. Viewers will learn that Lynne started his professional musical career early on in life and that his mom couldn’t even believe that he was making money as a musician. It’s another great light-hearted moment for audiences and fans alike. He also echoes his father’s love of classical music as an influence behind his love of music and his own method in composing his music. There are insights from the likes of Tom Petty, Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney, and even the widows of George Harrison and Roy Orbison that paint such a deeply vivid picture of a musical genius. Even the most well-versed ELO fan might be surprised to learn through this documentary that Lynne was actually at least partially responsible for Tom Petty’s hit song ‘Free Falling,’ some of George Harrison’s most beloved compositions, and even one of The Beatles’ records post John Lennon’s passing. There is also an in-depth history presented by Petty, Lynne, and both Roy Orbison and George Harrison’s widows about The Traveling Wilburys included as part of the documentary. For those that might not know, Lynne was a member of The Traveling Wilburys alongside Orbison, Petty, Harrison, and Bob Dylan. It was a supergroup before supergroups became a thing. That part of Lynne’s story alone makes the “bio” well worth the watch. And it is hardly all that makes the documentary such an important presentation. There is so much more that long-time fans and audiences in general will appreciate throughout the program. Together with Lynne’s sit-down interview, Live in Hyde Park’s main feature concert, and Lynne’s performance alongside his fellow musician throughout the show, Live at Hyde Park in whole proves to be a recording that every ELO fan should have in their own home DVD library. Period.

Live In Hyde Park is a recording that every ELO fan should have in his or her own home DVD library. Whether for its set list, the performance of Lynne and his fellow musicians throughout the concert, or for the recording’s bonus material, there is so much to enjoy about this recording. It presents a band and a performer that remain today among the most influential and important names in the music industry. Each noted element is important to the whole of the presentation in its own right. Collectively, they make Live in Hyde Park a must have for any ELO fan and potentially one more of this year’s best new live DVDs and Blu-rays. It is available now on DVD and Blu-ray in stores and online. More information on this and other titles from Eagle Rock Entertainment is available online now at:

Website: http://www.eagle-rock.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/EagleRockEnt

Twitter: http://twitter.com/EagleRockNews

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 https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Rubikon’s Third Album Was Well Worth The Rather Long Wait

Courtesy:  Round Hill Records

Courtesy: Round Hill Records

Roughly eleven years have passed since the up-and-coming blues/rock band Rubikon released its debut album The Hollow Men. Being that so much time has passed since that album was released fans couldn’t help but figure that the band would just be another that tried its hand only to fold soon after. However recently announced that it has in fact not gone away. As a matter of fact, it will release its third full-length studio recording Delta next month. The album, which will be released via independent record label Round Hill Records, boasts nine tracks of blues-based rock that will impress fans of Clutch, Deep Purple, COC, and even Zodiac to a slightly lesser degree. While the album boasts only nine tracks and comes in at a grand total of thirty-seven minutes, that does not take away anything from the whole of the record. Speaking of the whole of the record, the record is anchored by the full-on blues rock opus ‘Sermon.’ The song starts out slowly in its first few bars before really launching full force into a rather heavy piece that fans of both Clutch and COC will enjoy. The album’s opener ‘Live That Lie’ is another solid addition to this record. As is noted of the song, it is a work that is centered on the personal journey of the band’s members. Its heavy, blues-infused musical backing adds even more enjoyment to the song in whole. For all of the heaviness displayed throughout this record it isn’t without its softer side as is evident in the more reserved sound of ‘Wasting Time.’ This song starts off softly enough. But it doesn’t take long for the song to pick up even if only slightly in comparison to the album’s other songs. It’s just one more example of how worth the wait Delta proves itself to be . That is not to ignore the album’s other tracks. All nine of the tracks that make up Delta’s body each show in their own respective way what made the wait for this record worth it. All things considered Delta proves in the end to be a piece that any blues/rock aficionado will appreciate regardless of their familiarity with the band’s body of work.

Rubikon’s upcoming album Delta is only the third full-length recording that the band has crafted since forming in its nearly fourteen years together. Roughly eleven years have passed since the band released its debut album The Hollow Men. This new record proves quite well over the course of its nine tracks and thirty-seven total minutes that the decade-plus wait for this album was well worth it. That is most clearly evident in the album’s anchor ‘Sermon.’ The song’s bluesy/southern sludge rock sound instantly grabs listeners by the ear and refuses to let go. That is especially thanks to the transition of its slow, bluesy opening bars to the much harder, heavier riffs that make up the body of the song. The overall content presented in the body of this song in itself makes for plenty of enjoyment. The lyrical content incorporated into the song gives it even more enjoyment. Drummer/vocalist Diggs sings in this song, “I’m already dead/So long gone away/Lay my body down/Old-fashioned way/Old heart won’t last a day/Tryin’ to get back home/Sit here in them clouds/Watch over me.” Listening to this single opening verse, listeners would swear that they were hearing Clutch front man Neil Fallon singing instead of Rubikon’s drummer/vocalist Diggs. The similarity in the pair’s vocal delivery styles is striking. The similarity is just as striking as the song progresses through its near six-minute run time. That powerhouse delivery coupled with the song’s outstanding guitar work makes this song a solid anchor on which Delta can rest and a work that every listener will enjoy.

‘Sermon’ is a solid anchor for Rubikon’s new album. Drummer/vocalist Diggs’ delivery style partnered with the song’s musical content makes it a song that rivals anything ever crafted by the likes of Clutch or COC. It is just one example of what has made the decade-plus wait for Delta worth it. The album’s lead track ‘Live That Lie’ is just as solid an example of what makes the record so impressive. This mid-tempo rocker wastes no time grabbing listeners by the ear and holding tight. According to the band, the song is meant to be a commentary on the personal journey of the band’s members from who they were before to who they have become now. The song’s musical makeup does an impressive job of expressing that message. The contrast of the fiery energy exuded through most of the song to the more reserved sound of the song’s bridge, which comes nearly three minutes in, exemplifies that. That is of course not to ignore the song’s lyrical content. Diggs sings, “Well I’ve been knocked down in chains and lied to/That’s what you get when you don’t play the game/When I step out of line/You’ll follow.” These few lines in themselves paint a clear picture in regards to the comments of the song’s basis. The same can be said of the rest of the song’s lyrical content. What is present here is just a glimpse into the lyrical content’s ability to translate the song’s message. That content set alongside the song’s musical content makes this song an even more solid addition to this record and even more proof of why Delta was worth the wait both for the band’s long-time fans and for those that are less familiar with Rubikon’s body of work.

‘Sermon’ and ‘Live That Lie’ are both clear examples in their own right of why Delta was well worth the wait regardless of listeners’ familiarity with Rubikon’s body of work. While both songs exhibit in their own right plenty of enjoyment, they are hardly the only examples of what makes it so enjoyable. The band shows that for all of the heaviness and power exhibited, it also has a softer side of sorts, too. That is exhibited in the form of the slightly more reserved ‘Wasting Time.’ The song starts off as a fully acoustic piece that is just as certain to hold listeners’ ears as the album’s heavier material. Even at its highest points it still doesn’t get anywhere near as heavy as any of the record’s other songs. That is only one part of what makes this song so enjoyable, too. The manner in which the song’s lyrical content was handled adds even more enjoyment to the song. Because the vocal delivery style here is just as reserved as the music itself, it requires just as close of a listen. What can be deciphered from such an examination is that there is a lot of introspection here. The delivery style is a perfect match for that introspection, too just as with the song’s musical content. All three of the song’s elements connected, they show clearly why this song is just as key to Delta’s enjoyment as ‘Sermon,’ ‘Live That Lie’ and the rest of the album’s songs. All things considered Delta proves that while it was more than ten years in the works, it is an album that was well worth the wait whether or not fans are familiar with the band’s body of work.

Rubikon’s third full-length LP has been more than ten years in the making. Considering how long the wait has been for this record, it has proven with its nine tracks and thirty-seven minutes that the wait was well worth it. Whether for ‘Sermon,’ ‘Live That Lie,’ ‘Wasting Time,’ or any of the remaining half-dozen tracks that make up the body of the album, every element–both musical and lyrical–of this record proves itself important to the whole of the album. All things considered, Delta proves in the end to be an album that is a potential candidate for this year’s list of the best new independent recordings and best new rock records. It will be available Friday, August 21st via Round Hill Records. More information on Delta is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Website: http://www.rubikonmusic.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/RubikonUSA

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 https://philspicks.wordpress.com.