‘Sobering Times’ Succeeds Through Its Musical Diversity, Lyrical Duality

Courtesy: Kayos Records

Veteran singer-songwriter Ricky Byrd has made quite the name for himself throughout his professional life.  He has worked with some of the most well-known and respected artists and acts in the music industry, not the least of which being Joan Jett and the Blackhearts.  He also has worked with Bruce Springsteen, Mavis Staples, Ian Hunter (Deep Purple), Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Elvis Costello, and so many other well-respected figures in the music industry.  During his extensive stint as a member of The Blackhearts, Byrd battled drug and alcohol addiction, eventually leading to him getting clean in sober in 1987.  That battle and recovery led him to take on the topic in 2017 in his third album Clean Getaway.  Now more than three years after its release, Byrd is addressing the issue again in his latest album Sobering Times.  Scheduled for release Friday, the 12-song record is a strong companion piece and follow-up to Sobering Times.  That is due to its musical and lyrical content, which clearly build on the foundation formed in Clean Getaway.  ‘I Come Back Stronger,’ which comes just ahead of the album’s midpoint, is one way in which the album shows how that musical and lyrical content makes this record such a strong presentation.  It will be discussed shortly.  ‘Ain’t Gonna Live Like That’ is another way in which the album’s combined musical and lyrical content come together to engage and entertain audiences.  It will be discussed a little later.  ‘Together’ is one more way in which the album’s overall content shines.  When it is considered along with the other songs noted here and the rest of this record, the album in whole becomes one of those rare records that is worth hearing start to end without stopping.

Ricky Byrd’s fourth full-length studio recording Sobering Times is a positive new offering from the veteran singer-songwriter-guitarist.  That is proven through the record’s musical and lyrical content.  ‘I Come Back Stronger’ is one of the songs that serves to support the noted statements.  That is proven in part through the song’s musical arrangement.  The arrangement is a gentle, acoustic work that lends itself partially to thoughts of works from Bruce Springsteen.  At the same time, there is also a touch of country music incorporated into the song.  The way that the song slowly builds from its early bars through the first half to its climax and progresses to its confident second half serves well to translate the message and emotion in the song’s lyrical content.  Speaking of that lyrical content, it is engaging in its own right.

As noted, the songs featured in Byrd’s new album focus on the topic of addition, just as with the album’s predecessor.  While the song’s lyrical theme centers on the matter of overcoming addiction, it is also about taking on the issues that come with overcoming addiction.  Interestingly enough in this case, this song’s lyrical content could just as easily be about facing life’s difficulties, not just because of the battle to overcome addiction.  To that end, the song’s lyrical content adds to its impact.  The manner in which Byrd delivers his message here also adds to the impact.  Byrd sings in the song’s lead verse, “Life is a lesson we all live and learn/All the ups and the downs/And the roadblocks that get in the way/Trying to find myself/I got bruised and hurt/But I survived it all/And it made me the person I am today/Every time I fall/I come back stronger/I was broken once/But not any longer.”  The energy in the arrangement as the song reaches that climax in the chorus and the intensity with which Byrd states, “I come back stronger” is a defining moment for the song.  The impact in the message remains as strong as ever from there as Byrd enters the song’s second verse.  He sings in this verse, “When life hands you keys/That just won’t open up any doors/And you’re stuck in a rut/Feeling desperate/Down to the core/It’s the faith you find along the way/That always gets you through/I face my fears a thousand times/Every time I do/I come back stronger.”  Looking back at all of this, the message and story presented in this song is a powerful presentation of why the song is such an important addition to Byrd’s new album.  It is just one of the songs that shows what makes Byrd’s new album such a success.  ‘Ain’t’ Gonna Live Like That’ is another notable way in which the album shows its strength.

‘Ain’t Gonna Live Like That’ adds to the presentation of Sobering Times because its musical arrangement stands apart from those of the album’s other works.  This time Byrd offers audiences a powerful 12-bar blues work in the style of John Lee Hooker, B.B. King, and Stevie Ray Vaughan.  The addition of the gospel style choral accompaniment to the arrangement adds eve more to the song’s impact, as does the light, subtle addition of the piano line at points.  The whole is a presentation that any true music lover will appreciate and that shows in its own way, the diversity in the album’s musical presentation.  The song’s lyrical content, will appeal to blues fans just as much as the musical arrangement.  That is especially the case considering that much blues lyrical content in fact centers on the matter of dealing with a matter such as addiction and the negative influences in life, just like this song.

The lyrical content featured in this song comes from the vantage point of someone who has been down the troubled road and has learned from the experiences of that journey.  He sings in the song’s lead verse, “lady or the tiger/What’s behind the door/I know one just might kill me/But I just got to get some more/The Devil’s dealin’ aces/’Cause he knows just what you need/To keep you in the alley/Beggin’ bargains on your knees/But I ain’t gonna live that/No more, no more/Hell is living for the need and the score”  He continues in the song’s second verse, “Workin’ hard ain’t nothin’/Just fixin’ for a hit/Crawlin’ from the consequences/Swearin’ this is it/Lie beges a lie/And truth is layin’ low/My bull****’s thick with every trick/To get me where I got to go/But I ain’t gonna live like that/No more, no more/Hell is living for the need and the score/But I ain’t gonna live like that no more.”  He adds in the song’s third and final verse, “Comin’ to it’s 5 p.m./I woke up three times today…Cold, tired and need some strength to get me off the ground/I pray you help me turn this down/And turn ths life around/’Cause I ain’t gonna live like that/No more, no more/Hell is livin’ for the need and the score/And I ain’t gonna live like that/No more, no more.”  Again, the topic of fighting drug addiction is nothing new to the blues, so to have such a familiar topic coupled with an equally familiar musical style makes for even more enjoyment.  Taking that into consideration, the song becomes that much clearer an example of what makes Sobering Times an enjoyable record.  It is just one more of the songs that shows why this record deserves attention.  ‘Together’ does its own share to show the album’s appeal, too.

‘Together’ takes audiences back to the 1960s with its Beatles-esque arrangement, complete with scratchy vocals, steady floor tom beat and snare, and vocal melodies.  At the same time, the song features its own bluesy influence alongside that classic rock sound.  The whole is a unique musical presentation that once again, shows the diversity in this album’s musical content.  It is just one part of what makes the song stand out.  The song’s lyrical positive lyrical content adds even more interest to the song.

The lyrical theme featured in ‘Together’ is clear.  It delivers and promotes a message of unity for audiences. That is made clear right from the song’s outset as Byrd sings, “Have you ever found yourself  desperate for salvation/Prayin’ in the dark/For the light to guide you away/Searchin’ for answers/That just lead to more questions/You might need a little help…I used to keep my pain well-hidden/As far as you know/I’m fine as fine can be/I never let the world know/I was hurtin’/That kind of thinking was almost the death of me/We’re in this together/No need to go it alone/A helping hand when you can’t get there on your own/A body needs somebody/We can always use a friend/A little bit of loving/When the ice is getting’ thin.”  The message is made just as clear in the song’s second verse as Byrd sings, “You might think you’re the only one feeling what you’re feeling/There’s a whole lot of people out there hitting that same wall/Crawling from the wreckage/But going back for seconds/You run that…til you just can’t run anymore/I learned the hard way/ There’s strength in numbers/’Cause I tried to win a war all by myself/Side-by-sde and shoulder to shoulder/We’ll beat that devil right back to hell/We’re in this together/ No need to go it alone/A helping hand when you can’t get there on your own/A body needs somebody/We can always use a friend/A little bit of loving/When the ice is getting’ thin.”  This is a message that America and the world needs right now more than ever.  Sure it applies, again, with the matter of fighting addiction, but it also works in addressing the current state of the nation and world.  To that end, that duality in this message strengthens the song’s lyrical presentation even more.  When this is considered along with the strength created through the duality in the other songs noted here and the rest of the album’s songs, the whole of the album’s lyrical content proves that much more critical to its presentation.  When the lyrical content is considered with the diverse musical content featured throughout the album, that whole makes completely clear why Sobering Times is a record that every music lover will appreciate.  In turn, it becomes one more of this year’s top new overall albums.

Ricky Byrd’s latest album Sobering Times is a powerful new presentation from the veteran singer-songwriter-musician.  That is proven in part through the record’s diverse musical content.  That content will appeal to fans of the blues, classic rock and rock in general.  The album’s lyrical themes present their own importance through their duality.  On one hand, they address battles with addiction and the recovered from said concern.  On the other hand, they can just as easily be related to life in general.  All of the songs addressed here serve to support the noted statements.  When they are considered along with all of the album’s other songs, the whole of that content unites to make the album in whole a strong new offering from Byrd that is also one more of this year’s top new albums overall and top new rock albums.  Sobering Times is scheduled for release Friday through Kayos Records.  More information on the album is available along with all of Byrd’s latest news at:

 

Websitehttp://www.RickyByrd.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/ricky.byrd1

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/Byrdman20

 

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‘Under Cover’ Will Appeal To Motorhead, Rock Fans Alike

Courtesy: Motorhead Music

Almost two years ago, the rock world lost one of its great icons when Motorhead front man Lemmy Kilmister died from cancer.  When he died, that effectively put an end to one of the musical universe’s greatest acts.  That meant no more new Motorhead music.  Earlier this month though, Motorhead Music–the band’s own label–released a new collection of covers from the band to satiate audiences in the form of Under Cover. The 11-song record presents a rarely heard side of Motorhead that itself is certain to entertain listeners.  This is just one of the compilation’s key elements and will be discussed later.  The acts whose songs are featured here are collectively just as important to discuss as the songs themselves and will be discussed later.  The album’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements.  Each element is important in its own right to this compilation’s overall presentation.  All things considered, Under Cover proves to be a record that is an entertaining new offering for Motorhead’s most devout fans.

Motorhead, with the passing of front man Lemmy Kilmister almost two years ago, may not be actively recording new music anymore.  With the release earlier this month of the band’s new covers compilation Under Cover, the band’s most devout fans were given an entertaining new release from Motorhead even if it is not a collection of new Motorhead music.  That statement is supported in part through the songs that make up the collection.  Considering that Motorhead, throughout the course of its life, was known for up-tempo blues-based rock that was tinged with some punk elements, the songs featured in this compilation show that the band was just as talented handling other styles of rock as its own brand.  That is proven clearly in the band’s cover of David Bowie’s hit song ‘Heroes,’ which comes early in the record’s run. Bowie’s original work bears more similarity to works from perhaps Paul McCartmey than Motorhead.  Yet, even in its slightly amped up take on the classic tune, Motorhead does Bowie’s classic justice while adding its own rock touch that is certain to get praise even from Bowie’s most devout fans.  The band’s take on The Rolling Stones’ ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash’ is yet another song featured in this record that shows the real reach of the band’s abilities.  Once again, the band largely stays true to its source material, while also adding its own respectable hard rock elements.  The expert balance of those two elements here will put a smile on any longtime Rolling Stones fan just as much as any Motorhead fan.  Much the same can also be said in examining the band’s take of another Rolling Stones standard, ‘Sympathy For The Devil.’  Those three songs alone show clearly the band’s reach.  Of course that is not to discount the band’s covers of Ted Nugent’s ‘Cat Scratch Fever,’ Rainbow’s ‘Starstruck,’ and The Ramones’ ‘Rockaway Beach’ as well as the album’s other songs.  Those covers show in their own way the band’s reach, though they are much closer to Motorhead’s style than the previously noted works.  Keeping this in mind, the bands whose works are featured here are just as important to note as the songs themselves.

Listeners will note that of the album’s 11 total songs, seven were crafted by British acts—Judas Priest, The Sex Pistols, The Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Rainbow and Ozzy Osbourne.  The other four songs come from American acts—Ted Nugent, Metallica, Twisted Sister and The Ramones.  That in itself is certain to create its own share of discussion.  Obviously Motorhead was itself a British outfit, but it could easily be argued that such an emphasis on its counterparts presents its own history lesson to listeners.  It shows the reach of the British hard rock scene between the 1960s and 1990s versus that of the American hard rock scene.  To that end, the acts featured here in themselves serve as a starting point on rock’s history on both sides of the Atlantic.  That might not have been the manifest intent with such a lineup, but it definitely will create those discussions.  On another level, it shows the band’s interest in so many different parts of the rock community at the time. Judas Priest was hard rock while the Sex Pistols were more punk (again, showing Motorhead’s roots). Rainbow was more of a progressive style hard rock while The Rolling Stones were that blues-based influence that Motorhead always added to its own music, too.  In the same breath, Metallica’s Whiplash shows where Motorhead perhaps got its harder almost thrash elements.  When this is all taken into account along with the influences from the other featured bands, Motorhead’s roots become even more evident.  In other words, the bands and songs featured in this compilation form a solid foundation for the record.  They collectively serve as a starting point for discussions about music history and about Motorhead’s history.  Both by themselves and together, they do plenty to make this record enjoyable and are not the record’s only key elements.  The album’s sequencing adds its own enjoyment to its presentation.

Under Cover’s sequencing is an important to note in examining this record because of its ability to maintain the album’s energy from beginning to end.  The album starts out full throttle with the band’s cover of Judas Priest’s ‘Breakin’ The Law’ and keeps the energy flowing just as highly as it launches into its cover of The Sex Pistols’ ‘God Save The Queen.’  Even as the album progresses into the band’s cover of ‘Heroes,’ the energy still maintains itself even here.  Given, it isn’t as high as in the album’s first two entries, but still keeps moving.  The energy picks right back up as the album takes listeners through the band’s covers of Rainbow’s Starstruck’ and Ted Nugent’s ‘Cat Scratch Fever’ before pulling back again with two straight Rolling Stones covers.  From there on out, the energy picks right back and stays stable right to the album’s end even with the change in the songs’ styles.  Keeping this in mind, it is clear that plenty of time and thought was put into the record’s sequencing.  That time and thought ensures listeners’ engagement from beginning to end here.  That is because the record’s energy never lets up too much at any one point or even gets too high.  When this is taken into account along with the collective value of the record’s songs and their associated bands, it adds that much more depth to the collection.  That being the case, the whole of those elements make Under Cover a collection that will appeal not only to Motorhead’s fans from start to finish but to rock fans in general.

Motrhead’s recently released compilation record Under Cover is a collection of songs that will appeal both to Motorhead’s fans and to rock fans in general.  This is the case even though being a compilation record, it does not necessarily break any new ground in the way of compilation records.  The songs and bands featured on this record serve collectively as a solid starting point for plenty of discussions both on Motorhead’s history and on rock history.  They also do plenty to ensure listeners’ maintained engagement and entertainment.  The record’s sequencing does much the same.  All things considered, these elements make Under Cover a collection that while not exactly new to the compilation realm, is still entertaining in its own right.  It is available now in stores and online.  More information on Under Cover is available online now along with all of the latest Motorhead news at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.motorhead.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/myMotorhead

 

 

 

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Eagle Rock Entertainment Off To A Solid Start In 2015 With Live At Knebworth

Courtesy:  Eagle Rock Entertainment

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

Woodstock. Live Aid. Farm Aid. The Concert For New York City. These concerts are just some of the biggest concert events of the 20th century. As memorable and important as they are to the music industry and the history of modern popular music, they are only a small handful of the most important concerts held throughout the 20th Century. Next Tuesday, Eagle Rock Entertainment will add another concert to that list when it releases Live at Knebworth. The concert was held June 30th, 1990. Tabbed as “The Best British Rock Concert Of All Time,” it was held to raise money for Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy and for The Brit School For Performing Arts. Even a quarter of a century after it was originally held, it proves to be just as enjoyable a concert experience as any that have been held since, including those previously noted. One of the reasons it proves so enjoyable twenty-five years after it was originally held is its lineup. The show’s lineup consists solely of British acts, many of whom had themselves received the coveted Nordoff-Robbins Silver Clef Award at one point or another. Along with the acts tapped to perform at the benefit, their choice of songs for the concert adds to the concert’s enjoyment. Having noted both the concert’s lineup and the performers’ chosen songs, they would be nothing without equally notable production values. Thankfully, the audio and video both prove to be quality even a quarter of a century after the concert was first held. The audio has even been tweaked, creating a sound that especially those with home theater systems will appreciate. The combination of all three elements in this one presentation makes the package in whole even a great start to 2015 for Eagle Rock Entertainment.

When it was originally held on June 30th, 1990, Live at Knebworth was tabbed as being “The Best British Rock Concert Of All Time.” When compared to other major concert events such as Woodstock, Live Aid, Farm Aid, and others that have been held since, it proves to be more than just “The Best British Rock Concert Of All Time.” It proves to be one of the best concerts of all time, too. One reason for the concert being bestowed both titles is its lineup of performers and acts. The concert’s lineup is composed of some of the greatest British acts of the 20th Century including but not limited to names that today are music royalty. The list includes the likes of: Eric Clapton, Pink Floyd, Elton John, Paul McCartney, Robert Plant, and Genesis. Audiences will be interested to find out that many of the acts tapped for the concert also were recipients of the Nordoff-Robbins Silver Clef Award. That aside, audiences will especially enjoy every act’s performance. From Clapton’s full on performance of ‘Tearin’ Us Apart’ to Paul McCartney’s emotional performance of ‘Hey Jude’ to Pink Floyd’s ethereal ‘Shine on You Crazy Diamond’ to its equally driving show closer ‘Run Like Hell,’ the acts chosen for this concert and their performances keep audiences fully engaged from start to finish, clearly showing the importance of their inclusion in the show.

Speaking of the songs , the songs chosen by the acts on the bill are just as important to the presentation in whole. That is because in large part, the songs chosen by each act are songs that were familiar to fans then and are just as familiar and popular with the current generation of fans. Dire Straits’ set included the hugely popular ‘Money For Nothin.’ Genesis included its beloved hit ‘Pinball Wizard’ in its set along with ‘Mama’ and ‘In The Midnight Hour’ among a number of other fan favorites. The Beatles’ ‘Can’t Buy Me Love’ and ‘Hey Jude’ are even older than this recording. But they are just as popular with Beatles fans of all ages today as they were when Paul McCartney was part of the then Fab Four. So having both of those songs included in his set will create a sense of both joy and nostalgia among fans of both McCartney and the Beatles regardless of age. The sight of McCartney’s late wife Linda singing along, handling keyboard duties serves to enhance those feelings even more, this showing even more the importance of the set lists chosen by each act. Robert Plant’s mix of solo material and Led Zeppelin classics generates just as much enjoyment for anyone that has any knowledge of Plant’s career both on his own and as part of what remains one of the greatest rock bands of all time. The songs noted here are songs that are still played on classic rock radio stations across America and even the U.K. to this day. The fact that they were just as insanely popular back then as they are even today speaks volumes. It’s just a microscopic view of the impact of the acts’ set list on the enjoyment of this recording. There are plenty of other songs that could make that argument just as easily. And audiences will agree with that sentiment, even finding their own songs to make that argument when they pick up this recording for themselves next week. It still isn’t all that makes the concert so enjoyable for audiences. The quality of the footage both in terms of its video and audio lies at the base of everything. If not for the quality of the footage in both avenues, neither the acts nor their set lists and performances overall would be worth the watch.

The acts chosen for Live at Knebworth, their performances and set lists are all equally important to the concert’s overall enjoyment. However as important as each element proves to be, not one of them would be of any importance without the hard work of those charged with restoring the footage for its presentation here. Of course, being a live recording from Eagle Rock Entertainment, only the best is expected. And the best is what audiences get here. The audio has been re-worked and presented in DTS-HD. This will make anyone with a home theater system very happy as it will re-create with ear precision the feeling of actually being there. Even those without such a system will appreciate the work in question as the concert sounds just as good on a standard HDTV; especially one that allows audiences to switch to a “music” setting with their remotes. And while the original concert footage was recorded in standard definition, it doesn’t show thanks to the work of those charged with restoring the footage. Unlike so many older recordings that have been up-converted, the picture is relatively clear instead of grainy. While there is at least a little bit of that grainy look, it is hardly enough to work against the footage. Rather, it actually enhances that feeling of nostalgia created by the acts’ set lists. So to that extent, the work of those charged with restoring the concert’s footage has paid off even more than they might have known. Coupled with the set lists, the performances, and the very list of performers, the restoration work done for this concert becomes part of a whole that any classic rock fan will wholly appreciate, and that proves once more why Eagle Rock Entertainment remains today the leader in live recordings.

Live at Knebworth will be available on SD-Blu-ray next Tuesday, March 17th. Proceeds from the sale of the concert will continue to raise funds for Nordoff-Robbins Therapy and the Brit School for Performing Arts. More information on this and other releases from Eagle Rock Entertainment is available online 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.

Shout! Factory Announces Archived McCartney Tribute Concert Coming This Spring

Shout! Factory will release a very special tribute to music legend Paul McCartney this spring.

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory

Courtesy: Shout! Factory

A MusiCares Tribute to Paul McCartney will be released on DVD and Blu-ray on Tuesday, March 24th.  The concert was originally recorded on February 10th, 2012.  It was part of a celebration honoring McCartney as the MusiCares® Person of the Year.  The concert featured a who’s who of the music industry including: Alicia Keys, Coldplay, Norah Jones, Neil Young with Crazy Horse, Alison Kraus & Union Station featuring Jerry Douglas, James Taylor, Diana Krall, Duane Eddy, Sergio Mendes, and the cast of the Broadway play “Love.”  McCartney himself even performed, pulling out hits such as ‘Magical Mystery Tour,’ ‘Junior’s Farm, ‘My Valentine,’ and a medley of tunes that included renditions of ‘Golden Slumbers,’ ‘Carry That Weight,’ and ‘The End.’  McCartney was joined by Foo Fighters front man Dave Grohl and Joe Walsh (The Eagles, Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band).  The concert’s set list totaled fifteen songs.

A MusiCares Tribute to Paul McCartney will retail for MSRP of $16.98 on DVD and $21.98 on Blu-ray.  It can be pre-ordered direct from Shout! Factory’s online store for reduced prices of $14.98 (DVD) and $17.98 (Blu-ray) respectively at https://www.shoutfactory.com/music/rock-pop/a-musicares-tribute-to-paul-mccartney.  Proceeds from sales of the recording will go towards providing essential support for MusiCares®, which helps those in need.

Paul McCartney is an 18-time Grammy® winner.  His career spans more than three decades and includes a multitude of songs recorded with The Beatles, Wings, and as a solo artist.  His most recent album was 2013’s New.  McCartney is a freeman of the City of Liverpool and Lead Patron of The Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts.  In 1995, McCartney was named Fellow of The Royal College of Music by the Prince of Wales.  And in 1996, he was knighted by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth for his services to music.  He is also committed to various charities including: PETA, LIPA, One Voice, The Vegetarian Society, Nordoff Robbins, and Adopt-A-Mine-Field.

More information on A MusiCares Tribute To Paul McCartney and other releases from Shout! Factory is available online at:

Website: http://www.shoutfactory.com

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

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 in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Eagle Rock Entertainment Releasing Classic All-Star Benefit Concert This Spring

Courtesy:  Eagle Rock Entertainment

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

Eagle Rock Entertainment will release what is one of its biggest recordings to date this spring when it releases on SD Blu-ray Live at Knebworth.

Billed as “The Best British Concert Of All Time,” Live at Knebworth will be released Tuesday, March 17th on SD Blu-ray. It is presented in upscaled standard definition with uncompressed stereo and DTS-HD Master Audio. The concert was originally recorded on June 30th, 1990. It was held as a benefit concert for Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy and The Brit School for Performing Arts. Its lineup included some of the most well-known and respected musicians and acts from the UK. Many if not all of the acts in question had each themselves received the Nordoff-Robbins Silver Clef Award. They included: Eric Clapton, Paul McCartney, Pink Floyd, Robert Plant, Elton John, Phil Collins, Genesis, Dire Straits, Tears for Fears, Cliff Richards and the Shadows, and Status Quo. Most incredible of all was that of these performers, each one performed free of charge to support the cause.

McCartney offered up renditions of ‘Hey Jude,’ ‘Birthday,’ and ‘Can’t Buy Me Love’ for his performance. When Clapton took to the stage, he gave audiences ‘Tearin’ Us Apart’ and ‘before You Accuse Me.’ Elton John moved audiences in his own way with performances of ‘Sad Songs (Say So Much’ and ‘Sacrifice.’ Genesis gave one of the most interesting performances of the concert with a medley of ‘Somebody to Love,’ ‘Pinball Wizard,’ and ‘Turn It On Again.’ Robert Plant was joined on-stage by his Led Zeppelin band mate Jimmy Page for performances of ‘Wearin’ and Tearin,’ and ‘Rock and Roll.’ Pink Floyd’s performances of ‘Shine On You Crazy Diamond’ and ‘Run Like Hell’ were some of the concert’s most memorable moments. And they were just some of the key moments that make up the concert’s thirty-two song concert. The concert’s complete track listing is noted below.

TRACK LISTING

Tears For Fears:

1) Change

2) Badman’s Song

3) Everybody Wants To Rule The World

Cliff Richard & The Shadows:

4) On The Beach

5) Good Golly Miss Molly

6) We Don’t Talk Anymore

Phil Collins & The Serious Band:

7) In The Air Tonight

8) Sussudio

Paul McCartney:

9) Coming Up

10) Birthday

11) Hey Jude

12) Can’t Buy Me Love

Status Quo:

13) Whatever You Want

14) Rockin’ All Over The World

15) Dirty Water

16) In The Army Now

Eric Clapton:

17) Before You Accuse Me

18) Tearin’ Us Apart

Dire Straits:

19) Solid Rock

20) Think I Love You Too Much

21) Money For Nothing

Elton John:

22) Sacrifice

23) Sad Songs (Say So Much)

Robert Plant:

24) Hurting Kind

25) Tall Cool One

26) Wearing And Tearing (with Jimmy Page)

27) Rock And Roll (with Jimmy Page)

Genesis:

28) Mama

29) Throwing It All Away

30) Turn It On Again Medley: Turn It On Again / Somebody To Love /  Reach Out, I’ll Be There / Pinball Wizard / In The Midnight Hour / Turn It On Again (reprise)

Pink Floyd:

31) Shine On You Crazy Diamond

32) Run Like Hell

 

Proceeds from the sale of Live at Knebworth will continue to raise funds for Nordoff-Robbins Therapy and the Brit School for Performing Arts. More information on this and other releases from Eagle Rock Entertainment is available online 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 Tokyo Presents A Master Musician At His Finest

Courtesy:  Eagle Rock Entertainment

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

The term master is a word that is generally used for someone who has spent many years honing one’s talents. And not only that, but someone whose time honing his or her talents have paid off in the most positive ways possible both for himself/herself and for others. There are masters in every profession. There are master carpenters. There are master chefs. There are even master electricians and martial artists. So what makes a musician a master at his or her own craft? The answer is much the same as those people who spend their own lives honing their crafts. It leads to yet another question: Who are the masters in the music industry today? Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, and Queen are just a few acts that come to mind. Another master that comes to mind is the hugely talented and so humble guitarist Jeff Beck. His latest live recording Live in Tokyo is proof positive of why Beck is deserving and has been deserving of the title of master for many years. That s evident throughout the hour and a half-long set. Beck shows so much talent and humility throughout the show, handling his own tunes and covering songs from other masters, too. Along the way, Beck lets his band mates keep the center stage while he does his own thing. Staying on that line of thought, Beck’s own on-stage presence in this concert shows even more why he is considered one of the masters. He shows that he doesn’t need big antics or even big riffs to make an impact on his audiences. And last but not least worth noting as proof of his position is the fact that Beck didn’t need to spend any time between songs killing time. He let his music (and that of his band mates) speaks so loudly in its beauty and impact that it speaks perfectly for itself. It left no need to waste any time between songs, thus making the performance presented here so enjoyable. And in the end, it leaves not even a shadow of a doubt as to why Jeff Beck is one of the true masters in his field.

Jeff Beck is a master of his field. He has far more than proven this throughout the course of his decades-long career. From his earliest days as a member of the famed Yardbirds up to his current solo career. His latest live recording Live in Tokyo shows without a shadow of a doubt why some five-plus decades since he first started making a name for himself he is considered one of the industry’s true masters. Beck proves why he is one of the industry’s masters on Live in Tokyo first and foremost through the concert’s set list. He breezes through his own compositions and those of other masters from across the music industry. Those masters include: Jimi Hendrix, Charles Mingus, The Mahavishnu Orchestra, and even John Lennon and Paul McCartney among others. The fact that Beck handles such variety of music with equal ease shows great talent. It also shows a great knowledge and respect for the history built by said masters as audiences will hear for themselves throughout the concert. He performs with such ease. Yet it’s obvious he never takes for granted his craft nor the talents of those to whom he pays tribute. Such great talent and respect for his fellow musicians in this form proves without a shadow of a doubt why Jeff Beck is considered a master. It’s definitely not the only way he proves it here (as if he really needed to do so). He also proves himself a master through his humility, which could be included in his on-stage presence.

While Jeff Beck’s name graces the cover of his new live recording, his on-stage presence proves to be a total counter to that billing. He shows so much humility throughout the course of the concert, letting his band mates–Jonathan Joseph (drums), Nicholas Meier (guitar), and Rhonda Smith (bass)–take the center stage most of the time. He doesn’t just fade into the background by any means. But he also doesn’t show himself to be like other well-known musicians who try to covertly hog the limelight while their band mates try to shine. He shows quite the level of humility, allowing Joseph, Meier, and Smith to display their talents just as much as himself if not more. It’s really something rare to behold especially in the current era of the music industry. It’s also quite refreshing. That humility coupled with Beck’s own talents show here even more why Beck is justifiably considered a master.

Staying on the matter of Beck’s talents, He shows with his talents that he doesn’t need huge riffs, pyro, crazy antics (  without his guitar) or other extras to entertain audiences. He doesn’t show the need to speed through any of the songs, either. He more than lives up to the adage that it takes a real musician to play slow and with control. What’s more he lives up to that adage more than once throughout the course of the concert. That casual approach oddly enough actually makes the performance even more enjoyable. In turn it proves yet more why Jeff Beck is one of the greatest of the music industry’s masters.

Jeff Beck proves in so many ways throughout Live in Tokyo why decades after he first broke out he is considered one of the best in the game. He shows why through his humility, his knowledge and respect for the history of music, and through his own ability to entertain audiences without really having to try. One more way that he proves his place in the music industry’s upper echelons is through the fact that he didn’t even need to spend any time killing time between songs to entertain audiences. His talents (and  his band mates) prove so substantial throughout the concert that audiences won’t feel like they are losing anything in that lack of interaction. Audiences will be so entertained that all they will feel and hear is the music. By the time the show ends, audiences won’t even realize that it all passed without even the slightest break for conversation. That is how loudly and how solidly the talents of both Beck and his band mates spoke throughout this concert. It truly says something about an entertainer when he or she doesn’t need to rely on such extra in order to entertain audiences and fill time at the same time. Considering this, it is one more way in which Jeff Beck proves that now in his 70s, he is only coming into his prime and yet is justifiably considered one of the greatest of the masters in the music industry. Together with all of the aforementioned aspects of this concert, audiences will see with crystal clear vision just why Jeff Beck is one of the greatest in his business. It also shows why Eagle Rock is the greatest in its business.

Jeff Beck has made quite the name for himself over the course of his decades-long career. That career includes time with other greats and with those that are perhaps not so well-known. Through it all, Beck has persevered and risen throughout those decades to become today one of the true masters of the music industry. Whether it be through his stage presence, his very display of talent, or his knowledge of and respect for the history of music, Jeff Beck shows throughout Live in Tokyo without a doubt why he is a master musician. Audiences will agree with this sentiment when they purchase this concert for themselves on DVD and Blu-ray. It is available in stores and online now. More information on this and other recordings from Eagle Rock Entertainment is available online at:

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

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

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.

McCartney’s New Single Gives Great Hope For His Career And The Future Of Music

Courtesy:  Concerd Music Group/Hear Music/MPL

Courtesy: Concord Music Group/Hear Music/MPL

Legendary musician Paul McCartney has spent the better part of his life making some of the greatest music that audiences have ever heard. Whether it be music that he crafted with his former Beatles band mates, those he composed as part of Wings, or his solo work, McCartney’s work has proven time and again to be timeless. Now McCartney is set to release yet another great work in the form of his new single ‘Hope For The Future.’ This song was previously only available through the new hit video game Destiny. But on Monday, December 8th, the song will be available worldwide for audiences via Concord Music Group/Hear Music/MPL. There is plenty that can be said of this song that makes it such a joy of a song. The most obvious reason for its enjoyment is its lyrical content. Taken out of the context of Destiny’s world, the song’s lyrical content proves to be just as powerful for listeners. The song’s musical arrangement adds even more depth to the song. There are strings, horns, and of course McCartney covering the vocals and guitar line. As important as both factors are to the song’s success and enjoyment, they would be nothing without proper production. Thankfully veteran producer Giles Martin put all of the song’s various musical sections together to complete the song. It shows to be a song that gives its own hope for the future of McCartney’s career however long McCartney chooses to keep making music.

‘Hope For The Future’ was originally released earlier this year as part of the soundtrack to the hugely popular video game Destiny. But next Tuesday, the song will be available for audiences around the world through Concord Music/Hear Music/MPL. This song, which McCartney crafted himself, is arguably one of the best new singles of 2014. And it definitely gives its own * ahem* hope for the future of McCartney’s career for however long he chooses to keep making music. One way in which that it does this is through the song’s lyrical content. McCartney writes in this song, “We will build bridges/Up to the sky/Heavenly light surrounding you and I/From out of the darkness/Our future will come/If we leave the past behind/We’ll fly beyond the sun/We’ll be together/Sharing the load/Watching in wonder/As our lives unfold.” Such positive lyrical content could not be more welcome especially in consideration of all of the conflict around the world. McCartney’s line referencing leaving the past behind could not be more fitting for America considering the recent reports of civil unrest and racial tensions raised thanks to recent police actions. He goes on to write in the song’s chorus, “Hope shines brightest/In the dark/Where nothing’s ever seen/Lighting undiscovered places/No one’s ever been.” He hammers home the point that a positive outcome is possible despite all of this unrest and tensions he writes, “Hope for the future/It will belong to us/If we believe/If we believe.” Such positive and–for lack of better wording–hopeful lyrics are welcome and much needed especially in the current state of the world. It’s just one way in which ‘Hope For The Future’ proves to be such an outstanding new work from Paul McCartney.

The lyrical content infused into ‘Hope For The Future’ is itself an important part of the song’s whole. It provides a positive, glimmering light among all of the darkness created by the conflict and tensions around the world. The lyrics are themselves quite positive. The music against which the lyrics are set add even more depth and impact to the song. McCartney was backed by a full orchestra in the recording of the song. That means that every part that audiences hear is the real thing. From the gentle cello line that opens the song to the power of the low brass against McCartney’s own guitar line, and the soaring strings, the arrangement in whole adds so much depth and emotion to the song. Set against the song’s lyrical side, it makes them even more impactful. The end result is again, a song that proves to be one of this year’s best new singles and a song that gives plenty of hope for McCartney’s own musical future.

The music and lyrics that make up ‘Hope For The Future’ collectively make this song a piece that audiences will enjoy whether listening to it as part of Destiny’s soundtrack or by itself. As impressive as the music and lyrics are, they would be nothing without the work of producers Mark “Spike” Stent and Giles Martin. Martin, many might not know, is the son of legendary producer George Martin, who produced a number of The Beatles’ greatest albums decades ago. George’s ear for music was obviously passed down to Giles, as audiences will hear here. He and Stent balanced McCartney’s musicianship with the talents of the 120-member (yes, 120) orchestra. Whether it be the accents of the cymbal rolls, the punch of the low brass against McCartney’s own guitar line, or the crescendos and decrescendos of the strings, Martin and Stent obviously went to painstaking efforts to make every part of the song have the utmost emotional impact. They accomplished this goal quite well, too. Audiences will agree with that sentiment when they hear the song for themselves. What’s more, audiences will agree in hearing ‘Hope For The Future’ that this song itself is one of the best new singles of 2014. And it gives great hope for McCartney’s career for however long he intends to keep making music.

Whether it be for the production work of Giles Martin and Mark Stent, the song’s musical side, or its lyrical side, all three factors prove to be equally important in the success and enjoyment of ‘Hope For The Future.’ The original mix itself is more than enough reason to pick up this single or download it. McCartney and the people at Concord Music, Hear Music, and MPL have made things even more interesting for audiences by including four remixes, one of which is a rather interesting EDM remix. Whether it be any of those remixes or the original, every listener will find something to like about ‘Hope For The Future.’ With any luck, all of the different mixes together will change the minds of even those that have decried the song and make them agree that this is without a doubt, one of the great new singles of 2014.

‘Hope For The Future’ will be available Monday, December 8th. More information on how to purchase and download the single and on McCartney’s upcoming tour dates and news, is available online at:

Website: http://www.paulmccartney.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/PaulMcCartney

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.

McCartney Proves Old Dogs Can Learn “New” Tricks On His Latest LP

Courtesy:  Hear Music/mpL/Concord Music Group

Courtesy: Hear Music/mpL/Concord Music Group

Paul McCartney is an old dog.  But on his latest full length release, McCartney proves that he still has plenty of new tricks.  New comes just over a year after the release of his latest release, 2012’s Kisses on the Bottom.  McCartney showed his versatility with that album, branching out into the jazz world.  This time, he returns to the mainstream world with an album that offers listeners something old and something new.  Sorry, nothing borrowed and nothing blue.  Yes, that bad joke was fully intended.  All in all, McCartney has proven once more with this record that he is not afraid to take chances, unlike so many of his fellow musicians.  Whether it’s incorporating his older influences, a more modern vibe, or both together, it all works here to make New an album that proves once again why Sir Paul is an artist whose music transcends generations.

McCartney wastes no time on New showing that he remains fearless about taking chances.  That is evident right from the album’s opener, ‘Save Me.’  The staccato style guitar part mixed with the equally sharp drumming of Paul Epworth combine for a nice up-tempo modern rock style song.  Making the song truly interesting is the song’s urgent energy.  It is in direct contradiction to its lyrical content.  Lyrically speaking, McCartney writes a standard song based in a matter of a relationship.  He writes, “I can try to give you everything you ever wanted/You’re not hard to  please/And the only thing I’m asking/In return is something/You can give with ease/Keep on sending your love/IN the heat of battle/You got something that’ll/Save us/Save us now.”  Considering this lyrical content, the energy in the song’s musical side actually seems out of place.  Interestingly enough, the side by side of the two actually works when they are put together.  They come together to make ‘Save Me’ a good opener for New.

‘Save Me’ is a good start to New because it is new in every sense of the word.  The new material keeps coming in the songs that follow.  Each song will find its own special place for McCartney’s legions of fans.  One of the most notable of the album’s other new is one that actually looks back to the old, metaphorically speaking.  At the same time, it is also used as a response to critics’ words.  That song is simply titled, ‘Early Days.’  There is something very special about this song.  McCartney’s writing and his more subdued vocal style make this such an emotional moment among some rather interesting other pieces that comprise his new record.    He writes in this song, “They can’t take it from me if they try/I lived through those early days/So many times I had to change the pain to laughter/Just to keep from getting crazed/Dressed in black from head to toe/Two guitars across our backs/We would walk the city roads/Seeking someone who would listen to the music/That we were writing/Down at home/But they can’t take it from me if they tried/I lived through those early days/So many times I had to change the pain to laughter/Just to keep from getting crazy.”  McCartney makes visualizing these images so simple through his almost narrative style writing.  And his vocal style makes the song that much more of an emotional moment.  That combination of music and lyrics in this case make this song sure to be one of the surprising standout songs from New.

‘Early Days’ is easily one of the most surprising songs included in New.  The song’s combination of music and lyrics is certain to take listeners on a deeply emotional musical journey.  That being the case, it only makes sense that he would follow up that journey with a song that will take fans of both his solo work and his work with The Beatles back in time with the album’s title track.  From the moment this song starts, listeners will be transported back to their own childhood, hearing the “Fab Four” for the very first time.  It sounds like it would have been a perfect fit on the band’s hugely popular 1967 record, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, only it has been updated with a slight twenty-first century kick.  The song’s lyrical side is just as thought provoking and is sure to have listeners talking.  He leaves this song up to interpretation as he writes, “Don’t look at me/It’s way too soon to see/What’s gonna be/Don’t look at me/All my life/I never knew/What I could be/What I could do/Then we were new/You came along/And made my life a song/One lucky day/You came along/Just in time/While I was searching for a rhyme/You came along/Then we were new/We can do what we want/We can live as we choose/You see there’s no guarantee/We’ve got nothing to lose/Don’t look at me/I can’t deny the truth/It’s plain to see/Don’t look at me.”  On the surface this makes the song come across as having been written from the standpoint of someone that is rather unsure of himself or herself.  But again, that’s not entirely clear.  And that’s not a bad thing, either.  It will most certainly lead to plenty of discussion among McCartney’s fans for some time when they pick up New.  And it’s just one of so many other songs throughout this record that fans will find enjoyable for their own reason.  New is available now in stores and online.  It can be downloaded via iTunes at http://www.itunes.com/paulmccartney.  More information on this and other releases from Paul McCartney is available online at http://www.facebook.com/PaulMcCartney, http://google.com/+PaulMcCartney, http://twitter.com/PaulMcCartney, http://www.myspace.compaulmccartney, and http://www.paulmccartney.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 https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Audiences Will Enjoy “Fan Made” Rockumentary

Courtesy:  Arts Alliance Media/Scott Free/Black Dog

Courtesy: Arts Alliance Media/Scott Free/Black Dog

Bruce Springsteen.  One name.  So many thoughts.  Few artists have meant to the music industry what he and his band mates in the E Street Band have—and still mean—to audiences and fellow musicians through their career.  Now thanks to film maker Baillie Walsh, audiences get a very special look at just what he and his band mates mean to the world.  Walsh has directed a new documentary centered on “The Boss” that is comprised largely of fans submissions. The documentary, Springsteen and I, presents what he and his band’s music mean to fans from the first hand perspective of his fans.

Lots of documentaries have been made over the years that include fan submissions.  But it’s rare for music documentaries to consist nearly entirely from the perspective of the fans.  It makes this a very special presentation.  What’s so interesting in terms of the fan submissions is just how many people from so many backgrounds Bruce Springsteen has reached throughout the course of his career.  Audiences see fans from every walk of life.  There are truckers, housewives, hopeful musicians, and so many others in between.  Just as interesting is the sentiment shared throughout the fan submissions.  Every fan notes just how important of a role Springsteen’s music has played in their life.  At one point, one fan tells his story of the importance of Springsteen’s music as he drives, and begins to become very emotional.  It’s one of the most moving of the main feature’s barely hour plus run time.  On the completely opposite end, there’s an appearance by “The King” in one fan story that will have audiences laughing and smiling together.  Whereas the previous moment noted was one of the film’s most moving, this moment is one of the most memorable for the wonderful feelings that it will bring about.  The story shared by the Elvis impersonator is one of this documentary’s most enjoyable of highlights.  There are plenty more highlights that could be shared.  But that would mean endless rambling.  And that is not what this critic is here to do.  However, it does bring about another aspect of the documentary that audiences will enjoy just as much as the stories shared by their fellow fans.  That enjoyable secondary aspect of the documentary is the fan and professional footage used for the feature. 

The professional footage included in the feature makes up a healthy portion of its live performances.  As a matter of fact, the second hour of the feature is nothing but live footage of Springsteen and company culled from over the years.  While both the live and “bootleg” footage are combined throughout the first hour of the documentary to help illustrate the stories shared by Springsteen’s fans, the documentary’s more professionally recorded performances complete everything.  The second half of the documentary is comprised largely of live performances.  It culminates with the now infamous London 2012 performance in which the plug was pulled because the show went past the city curfew.  It makes sense as to why the London show was used as the final performance in the documentary.  The way in which it went out literally with the lights made for even more impact.  That’s because the show didn’t end there.  Springsteen stayed devoted to the audience and played one more song before having to leave the stage.  It was one last tribute to what it is that makes people love Springsteen so much to this day.  Sir Paul McCartney (The Beatles, Wings) was there along with John Fogerty (Creedence Clearwater Revival), Tom Morello (Rage Against The Machine, Audioslave, Street Sweeper Social Club).  The footage sound and video were expertly mixed both with this concert and with the others included throughout the documentary’s second half.  Even after the concert ends, there’s one more surprise for audiences that takes up the last ten minutes or so of the documentary.  It will leave audiences feeling entirely fulfilled, knowing they have just experienced something very special.     

The mix of live footage and fan submitted stories makes Springsteen and I more than just another concert documentary or documentary.  All things considered, it will be a wonderful experience for any true fan of Bruce Springsteen from start to finish.  And it will be an equally welcome addition to any Springsteen fan’s home library when it is eventually released to DVD and/or Blu-ray.  But first, it will run exclusively in theaters one time today, July 22nd and again next Tuesday, July 30th.  Audiences can check to see if it will play at their nearest theater online at http://www.fathomevents.com/#!springsteen-and-i.  Fans in Greenville, North Carolina will get to see this feature tonight at the Greenville Grande 14.  Audiences in Raleigh will also get to see it as it will play at the Brier Creek Stadium 14.  Fans in the mountains of North Carolina will also get to see the presentation as it will run at theaters in Asheville, Charlotte, Concord, Greensboro, and Salisbury.  Tickets for showings can also be purchased online at http://www.fathomevents.com/#!springsteen-and-i

To keep up with tall of the latest news and more from Bruce Springsteen, fans can follow him on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/brucespringsteen and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/springsteen.  Fans can also get all the latest news and notes from Bruce Springsteen on his official website, http://www.brucespringsteen.net

To keep up with all of 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.

Rockshow Another Welcome Live Release For Fans of McCartney AND Wings

Courtesy:  Eagle Rock Entertainment

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

Eagle Rock Entertainment has for some time, been the place to go for anyone wanting to learn anything about the history of modern mainstream music.  The company has released live recordings from greats such as: Ray Charles, Miles Davis, The B-52s, Deep Purple and more over the years.  It has even ventured into the realm of newer music with live releases from artists including: The Raconteurs, Stone Temple Pilots, Alanis Morissette, and even Slipknot.  Now Eagle Rock has taken music lovers the world over back in time once again with yet another impressive live release from another of music’s greatest names in the form of one Sir Paul McCartney.

Eagle Rock has just released a new live recording from Sir Paul McCartney and his band mates in Wings, titled, Rockshow.  It would be so easy to state that this performance presents McCartney and company at the top of their game.  But the reality is that McCartney himself has always been at the top of his game.  This performance is just one more example of his and his band mates’ talent.  There are those that have complained about issues with audio in the transfer from this performance’s original VHS recording to the DVD and Blu-ray format.  One can’t help but wonder if this was a mostly isolated problem.  The Blu-ray screener viewed by this critic didn’t seem to have any audio issues whatsoever.  And for those that complained about the video quality, one must remember that this concert was originally recorded nearly four decades ago.  So yes, it is going to be grainy.  Fans of the music icon should be appreciative that the effort was even made to transfer the masters from Betamax to DVD and Blu-ray.  Considering all that could have gone wrong with the transfer, the grainy footage is just one more part of the whole that makes this another success for Eagle Rock Entertainment and for Sir Paul’s fans.

Having tackled the elephant in the room, the next logical step here would be to take a look at the band’s performance overall.  Whether one is a fan of McCartney’s time with The Beatles or more of his work away from the band that helped him launch his career, both sides will be equally impressed by the set list of this concert.  It all kicks off with the crowd pleaser, ‘Venus and Mars/Rock Show/Jet.’  Throughout the course of the roughly two hour-long recording, McCartney and company cover largely material from Wing’s catalogue.  Though there are some Beatles tunes peppered in for good measure including: ‘Lady Madonna’, ‘Blackbird’, and ‘The Long and Winding Road.’  They intentionally avoided the Beatles material as much as possible during this and other performances intentionally in order to separate the two bands.  As author/media personality Paul Gambaccini writes in the included liner notes, “In the early seventies McCartney did not perform Beatles songs in concert, wanting to establish Wings on its own.  Now, in 1976, the group is in full flight, and Paul can use some of the songs he wrote in the sixties to spice up the set.”  It really was a logical plan of action for someone that had built his name with such a big band.  And it helps to make this performance so much more enjoyable.

Staying on the matter of Gambaccini’s writing, this is another positive factor to the whole that is Rockshow.  His writing style is less journalism and more storytelling.  Set alongside the photos of the band, the pair takes viewers back in time.  He doesn’t try to write above himself.  And he doesn’t try to write above the heads of those that would buy this new release.  It’s easily accessible for general audiences.  Because of this, the actual concert experience is that much richer whether one was actually there or not when this performance was originally recorded.

Getting back to the actual concert experience, the band covers more than its own material and that of The Beatles.  Audiences will enjoy the inclusion of the Moody Blues classic, ‘Go Now.’  This song about lost love is ironically one of the whole performance’s highlights.  It’s a highlight not so much because of the music, but because of the sight of Paul and his then wife Linda performing side by side.  There is something so contradictory about this sight set against a song about lost love.  Audiences can see just how in love the couple was.  Sadly, she would pass many years later.  Knowing this, it makes this moment all the more special.  It makes the final two pages of the included booklet all the more touching as a closing gesture, too.  The booklet’s penultimate page features a concert poster for the original 1976 tour with Paul’s face there.  The final page is a picture of Linda exactly as she looked in this recording.  She was one of the ones for whom this re-mastered recording was dedicated.  While McCartney himself might not have had a hand in this new re-issue, he surely had to have seen this touching gesture.  Fans will see it too, and hopefully be just as moved by this and the sight of her performing with her then husband.  It’s a touching final moment of what is another enjoyable live release from Eagle Rock Entertainment.  The DVD and Blu-ray are both available now in stores and online.  They can be ordered online direct from the Eagle Rock Entertainment website at http://www.eagle-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 https://philspicks.wordpress.com.