Eagle Rock’s New Archived Live Dio Recording Gets Four Horns High

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment/Niji Entertainment

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment/Niji Entertainment

Eagle Rock Entertainment may as well be its own radio station. That’s because it just keeps pumping out hit after hit, essentially putting on an ongoing clinic as to how to put out proper live recordings. And yes that bad pun was fully intended. Next week, Eagle Rock will put out yet another of its hugely impressive live recordings in the form of Dio: Live in London—Hammersmith Apollo 1993. This latest live Dio recording follows up Eagle Rock’s 2013 release of Dio: Finding The Sacred Heart—Live in Philly 1986. Being that this is not the first live Dio recording from Eagle Rock, it would be easy to compare the two shows. But that would be quite unfair as some seven years passed between the pair. Keeping that in mind, Dio: Live in London—Hammersmith Apollo 1993 is an impressive recording all its own. It is one more that any classic rock buff and any true hardcore Dio fan will appreciate. The first and most obvious reason for this is the show’s set list. This show, the last from the band’s 1993 “Strange Highways Tour,” boasts songs not just from Strange Highways but also from Dio’s time with Black Sabbath, Rainbow, and from his own solo career. The second reason that audiences will appreciate this recording is the band’s overall minimalist approach in its performance. And last but not least, audiences will appreciate the recording’s audio and video mix. All three factors come together to make this latest live recording from Eagle Rock just one more in a very long line of certified hits and another candidate to be one of the year’s best new live recordings.

The set list chosen by RJD and his band mates for this recording is key to the recording’s success. The set list chosen for this last show of the band’s 1993 European “Strange Highways Tour” balances songs from Strange Highways with numbers from Dio’s days in Black Sabbath, Rainbow and even his own solo career. Some of the best of the best from the concert include hits such as : ‘Stand Up and Shout”, “Holy Diver” and one of RJD’s biggest hits, “The Mob Rules” among so many others. Making the show even better, RJD and company—Vinny Appice (drums), Jeff Pilson (bass), Tracy G. (guitar), and Scott Warren (keyboards)—give the audience in attendance not one, not two, but three full encores—“Rainbow in the Dark”, “We Rock” and the fittingly titled final closer “Here’s to You.” Between the encores, the show’s primary fifteen song set and the bonus “Hangin’ WithThe Band” featurette, audiences of all ages get a show that is complete in every sense of the word in this recording. Not only is it complete, but it is a recording that any hard rock buff, classic rock buff and hardcore Dio fan will enjoy no less with every watch.

The set list and bonus companion featurette included in Dio: Live in London—Hammersmith Apollo 1993 more than show why any Dio loyalist and rocker in general will appreciate and enjoy this recording. Just as important to consider in this recording is the band’s minimalist approach. There was no pyro, no big gimmicks or anything else. Given, being an indoor concert, pyro was probably not permitted at the venue. But RJD and company showed throughout the show that it is possible to put on an amazing show without any of that regardless of whether the show is indoors or out. From the first note of “Stand Up and Shout” to the final strains of “Here’s To You,” the band’s music and its very on-stage presence far more than made up for any gimmicks that other lesser bands might have needed to entertain audiences. All these musicians needed was their music, the audience, and a wall of amps. Tracy G.’s searing guitar work, Jeff Pilson’s heavy bass lines and Vinny Appice’s solid timekeeping and chops together created so much energy among one another and the crowd. Add in RJD’s larger than life personality, and audiences will see for themselves just why these men are still so revered to this day and emulated by so many of today’s top rock acts. It’s yet one more reason that this concert has earned the titled of one of the best new live recordings of 2014. But wait! There’s more! Yes, that terrible pun was intended, too.

The set list and overall stage show put on by RJD and his band mates are two very important reasons that audiences will enjoy this latest live recording from Eagle Rock Entertainment. Last but not least to note of this recording is its collective audio and video mix. Audiences should note that while Dio: Live in London—Hammersmith Apollo 1993 has been presented on Blu-ray, it is in SD-Blu-ray format. That simply means that the show was obviously recorded originally in standard definition instead of high definition. Of course high definition wasn’t available in the early 1990s. Audiences will be able to clearly see the difference the quality of standard definition from high definition. At the same time, it goes to show just how far recording technology has come over the course of twenty-one years. Even more important to consider is that since this show was originally recorded on magnetic tape, it’s nice to see that the footage has held up and been transferred to DVD and Blu-ray so well.

The show’s final audio mix is just as impressive as the video mix. When one takes into consideration the size of the Hammersmith Apollo and its acoustics, one develops much more respect for those that manned the boards in the initial concert and those charged with making sure that the audio transferred over just as solidly as the video. Far too often, audiences take for granted that the video and audio mix of life recordings will be equal. But there are some cases in which that doesn’t happen. Luckily, that isn’t the case with this recording. It maintains the high standard established so many years ago by Eagle Rock Entertainment. That high quality audio and video alongside the band’s performance and set list complete this recording. They all come together to make Dio: Live in London—Hammersmith Apollo 1993 a definite candidate for a spot on this year’s list of the best new live recordings. It will be available next week and can be pre-ordered now via Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Live-London-Hammersmith-Apollo-Blu-ray/dp/B00J0LGZYU/ref=sr_1_1?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1399495060&sr=1-1&keywords=Dio.

More information on Dio: Live in London—Hammersmith Apollo 1993 and other releases from Eagle Rock Entertainment is available online now at http://www.eagle-rock.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 https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Hackett Announces New Live Box Set, Tour Details

Courtesy:  InsideOut Music

Courtesy: InsideOut Music

Veteran musician Steve Hackett will release a new live box set this Fall.  The new live set, Genesis Revisited: Live at Hammersmith will be released on Monday, October 21st worldwide, and Tuesday, October 29th in the United States via InsideOut Music.  It will be comprised of three compact discs and two DVDs.  The full set was recorded at London’s Hammersmith Apollo on May 10th, 2013.  The recording of the sold out performance features guest performances from Nik Kershaw, John Wetton, Jakko Jakszyk, and Steve Rothery.  It is being released in connection with the return of Hackett’s Genesis Revisited Tour to Europe and the UK for a second run.  The second run is thanks to critical acclaim from critics and audiences alike.

Hackett shared his thoughts on the upcoming live box set in an interview about the release.  He talked about the 5.1 surround sound audio mix on the performance’s DVD portion and the equally impressive audio mix on the companion CD’s in his interview.  “The 5.1 DVD with stereo CD out on 21st October including the whole show from Hammersmith Apollo is a feast for all the senses,” he said.  I was blown away by the fantastic response to those May UK gigs. The autumn Genesis Revisited shows will include different Genesis material to before as well as all the big faves that bring the house down…See you all soon!”

The full track listing for Genesis Revisited: Live at Hammersmith is available below.

CD1
1. Watcher of the Skies
2. The Chamber of 32 Doors
3. Dancing with the Moonlit Knight
4. Fly on a Windshield
5. Broadway Melody of 1974
6. The Lamia
7. The Musical Box
8. Shadow of the Hierophant
9. Blood on the Rooftops

CD2
1. Unquiet Slumbers for the Sleepers
2. In That Quiet Earth
3. Afterglow
4. I Know What I Like
5. Dance on a Volcano
6. Entangled
7. Eleventh Earl of Mar
8. Supper’s Ready

CD3
1. Firth of Fifth
2. Los Endos

DVD1 
Full live show

DVD2 
Behind the scenes featurette

A full listing of Hackett’s most current tour dates is available online at his official Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Steve-Hackett/123101228589 and at his official website at http://www.hackettsongs.com.  Fans can also stay up to date with all of the latest Steve Hackett news via Twitter at http://twitter.com/HackettOfficial.

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.

Priest’s New Live Release One Of 2013’s Top Live Recordings

Courtesy: Sony Legacy/Legacy Recordings

Courtesy: Sony Legacy/Legacy Recordings

Judas Priest’s latest live release is a must have for any true hardcore fan of this legendary metal act.  The closing show of what is said to be the band’s last live tour spans the band’s forty year career together.  The good news is that while this show marked the end of the band’s last tour, fans still allegedly have another new album for which they will be waiting after the release of this recording.  So much could be said of this latest live recording that fans will appreciate.  Right off the bat, fans with surround sound home theater systems will appreciate it more than anyone else.  And then of course, there is also the quality of the footage.  Home viewers will especially enjoy the overhead shots of drummer Scott Travis and the multiple angle shots of the band’s multi-guitar attack from Richie Faulkner, Glenn Tipton and bassist Ian Hill.   The talent of this group of old dogs is just as worthy of discussion as the audio and video quality of the recording.  So is the set list for the band’s career defining show.  When the trio come together for its classic multi-guitar stage stance, it will take fans of old school metal shows back even more, adding that much more to what is an incredible live show all the way around.

The very first thing that audiences catch from Epitaph is the audio quality of this recording.  Those with surround sound home theater systems will love the full-on live concert effect that they will experience.  Even those without home theater systems will still get quite the experience when they go into their television’s settings and set the audio to match the recording.  Those with digital televisions should easily be able to simply hit a button on their remote to adjust the sound accordingly.  Once the sound is set, one need only sit back and enjoy the show, or even get up and move with the performance whose footage was caught just as expertly as its audio.

The footage recorded for this performance was maintained just as expertly as its audio.  Whether on DVD or Blu-ray, the footage is crystal clear.  Even those watching it on DVD on a Blu-ray player and HDTV can still see just how clear the picture is.  Combined with the audio quality, audiences get a recording that is easily one of the best live recordings of 2013 for these reasons alone.  Staying on the footage though, audiences get more than just a crystal clear recording.  They get a show whose cinematography makes seeing this iconic show at home just as enjoyable as seeing it live, if not more so.  Sometimes the cameras get some rather impressive wide angle shots.  At other times, the cameras are right up there with Faulkner, Tipton and Hill.  In some songs, the camera angles switch back and forth with a ferocity that equals that of the music, fully highlighting the intensity of said songs.  If that doesn’t impress audiences, it’s anyone’s guess what will. 

The intensity of the songs culled for this set is something else that should definitely be noted that makes it so impressive.  While the collective age of the band’s members is pretty high, these old dogs have shown that they have plenty of tricks up their sleeves.  From front man Rob Halford’s still solid, soaring pipes to the musicianship of his band mates, the band proves here that a band doesn’t need to have lots of special effects and other goodies to make a show memorable.  Though, there were laser lights and pyro peppered throughout the course of the show.  That aside, the band’s members showed collectively with their musicianship why Judas Priest is still one of the most revered and respected bands in hard rock.  Whether for guitarist Richie Faulkner’s solos, Halford’s incredible vocal talent and or drummer Scott Travis’ timekeeping, every member of this group of veteran rock band brought something to the table that ultimately make this show one of the best in the band’s catalogue of live releases.  On a side note, audiences will especially appreciate how Halford commands the stage in a fashion similar to that of equally revered front man Freddie Mercury when he has the audience sing back to him.  This brief moment is a direct mirror of Mercury.  That is meant in the most complimentary fashion, too.  It goes to show the command that Halford has over the audience and why he remains one of the greatest front men in not just hard rock but in the rock community as a whole.  It is just one more aspect of so many that could be discussed that makes Epitaph one of the year’s best live recordings.

The quality of the footage from this recording and the talent of the band’s members do so much to make Epitaph a great show for any hardcore Priest fan.  It’s just as impressive for anyone wanting an overview of the band’s music.  That is thanks to the career-spanning set list.  The band’s performance spans nearly two and a half hours and twenty three songs.  Among some of the favorites included that fans will enjoy are: ‘Metal Gods’, ‘Judas Rising’, ‘Turbo Lover’, ‘The Sentinel’, and of course, ‘Breaking The Law.’  This is just part of what fans can expect out of this recording.  Fans will all have their own favorite.  And considering that there are eighteen other songs included here, fans have more than their share from which to choose a favorite or favorites.  That extensive set list set alongside the show’s equally impressive recording quality and the band’s energy makes Epitaph a show that will prove to be one of the year’s best live releases.  It’s one of those releases that will be just as enjoyable the first time around and the fiftieth.  It will be available May 28th on Blu-ray and DVD.

While Priest fans wait to pick up their copy of this must have live release, they can keep up with the latest from the band online at http://www.facebook.com/OfficialJudasPriest and the band’s official website, http://www.JudasPriest.com. Fans can even check out a trailer for the upcoming release on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u7W6NJs_HRw.  Fans can also check out more material from the band on its own YouTube page at http://www.youtube.com/JudasPriest

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.