Eagle Rock’s Mingus Montreux Show Shines In Phil’s Picks’ 2018 Top New Live CDs List

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

Going to live shows is neither easy nor inexpensive nowadays.  Between the collective cost of tickets — which is itself oftentimes bank-breaking — transportation, food, potential lodging and souvenirs, and of course planning around work and family schedules, getting out to live shows is not easy for anyone.

Those barriers make the availability of live recordings something critical for audiences everywhere, regardless of genre.  To that end, live CDs deserve their own consideration just as much as studio recordings, each year.  Keeping that in mind, Phil’s Picks has developed once again a list of the year’s Top 10 new live CDs.

This year has been an interesting one for live CDs.  Some notable live CDs were featured as part of bigger bundles (E.G. The Rolling Stones’ San Jose ’99 and Voodoo Lounge ’94 shows) while others, such as Alice Cooper’s A Paranormal Night @ The Olympia Paris and Marty Friedman’s One Bad M.F. Live were standalone offerings.

Some were standout offerings for all of the best reasons.  Others had some problems to note.  Keeping all of this in mind, this year’s crop of live CDs deserves just as much attention as the vast sea of studio recordings released throughout the year.

Topping this year’s list is yet another live CD from the people at Eagle Rock Entertainment in the form of Charles Mingus’ classic 1975 Montreux Jazz Festival show.  This recording presents Mingus at one of his finest moments, and why his live performances were — and still are today — such powerful presentations.

Coming in second in this year’s list is the new Jimi Hendrix live CD, Live at the Hollywood Bowl.  This CD was released as part of the bigger Electric Ladyland box set, and stands out so strongly because of its set list, Hendrix and company’s performance and the production values.

Third place in this year’s list of the year’s best new live CDs goes to veteran viking metal outfit Amon Amarth.  The 30-song set list spans two nights and quite an expansive portion of the band’s catalog.  That set list is directly mirrored on its DVD and BD presentation, and sounds just as good.  Though because of the intensity of the show, it is still better appreciated being seen and heard and not just heard.  That’s not to say the CD presentation is bad, but audiences will agree that hearing it makes for far more appreciation for the concerts’ DVD and BD presentations.

Also featured in this year’s list of top new live CDs are those noted new offerings from Marty Friedman, Alice Cooper and The Rolling Stones alongside new offerings from Opeth, Devin Townsend and John 5 to name just a few more titles.  As always, this critic’s list features 10 of the year’s top new offerings plus five honorable mentions, which follow, for a total count of 15.  Without any further ado, here is Phil’s Picks’ 2018 Top 10 new Live CDs.

PHIL’S PICKS 2018 TOP 10 NEW LIVE CDs

  1. Charles Mingus — Live at Montreux 1975
  2. Jimi Hendrix — Live at the Hollywood BowlAug. 14, 1968
  3. Amon Amarth — The Pursuit of Vikings25 Years in the Eye of the Storm
  4. Devin Townsend Project — Ocean MachineLive at the Ancient Roman Theatre Plovdiv
  5. Opeth — Garden of the TitansLive at Red Rocks Amphitheatre
  6. The Rolling Stones — No SecuritySan Jose ’99
  7. The Rolling Stones — Voodoo Lounge Uncut
  8. John Mclaughlin & The 4th Dimension and Jimmy Herring & The Invisible Whip — Live in San Francisco
  9. Marty Friedman — One Bad M.F. Live
  10. Accept — Symphonic TerrorLive at Wacken 2017
  11. Alice Cooper — A Paranormal Night at The Olympia Paris
  12. Fates Warning — Live Over Europe
  13. Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow — Memories in Rock II
  14. John 5 and The Creatures — It’s Alive
  15. Overkill — Live in Overhausen

‘Anthem of the Peaceful Army’ Proves Greta Van Fleet Deserves More Credit Than It Gets

Courtesy: Lava/Republic Records

When Greta Van Fleet released its sophomore EP From The Fires last year, the upstart Michigan-based, very quickly made quite the impact on audiences.  Audiences either loved the band or hated the group.  That was due to the band’s classic rock influenced sound, which showed very blatant influence from Led Zeppelin.  As a matter of fact, that influence was so blatant that the band was called the second coming of Led Zeppelin by many, both in positive and negative fashion.  The release of its debut full-length studio recording Anthem of the Peaceful Army Oct. 19 has only served to widen that gap, with just as many – if not more – people taking either one side in the debate on the up-and-coming band or another.  While the band’s debut full-length album (and its third overall studio recording) does present even more cause for comparison to Led Zeppelin, a thorough listen through the album also shows that the band deserves more credit than its critics have given the group.  That is evident right from the album’s outset in its opener, ‘Age of Man.’ It will be discussed shortly.  ‘You’re The One,’ which comes just past the record’s midway point, is another way in which the band proves in this record that it deserves more support than it gets.  ‘Brave New World,’ which comes even later in the record’s 45-minute run time, is one more way in which this record proves Greta Van Fleet deserves more support than it gets.  Each song, in its own way, proves that Greta Van Fleet is not quite the band that so many people think.  When they are joined with the rest of Anthem of the Peaceful Army, the whole of the record paints a picture of a band that has great potential for growth.  Keeping that in mind, it proves to be a record that shows Greta Van Fleet as a group that deserves more credit than it gets from so many listeners.

Greta Van Fleet’s debut album (and third overall studio recording) is a laudable new offering from the neo-classic rock outfit from Michigan.  That is because the album in whole paints a picture somewhat different from that painted by the singles that have so far been released from the record and its predecessors.  The album’s opener, ‘Age of Man’ is just one of the songs included in the album that serves to support that statement.  Musically speaking, the song bears more of an influence from Rush and other similar classic rock acts of that ilk than to Led Zeppelin.  Of course that is just this critic’s own interpretation.  That is evident through the combination of front man Joshua Kiszka’s vocal delivery style and the work of his band mates – Jacob Kiszka (guitar), Samuel Kiszka (bass/keyboards) and Daniel Wagner (drums/percussion) – throughout the song.  It displays clearly, the band attempting to use those influences to establish its own identity.  It succeeds in attempting to achieve that goal, too.  Keeping this in mind, the song’s lyrical content does just as much to help the song to stand out.  Joshua Kiszka sings here, “In an age of darkness, light appears/And it wards away the ancient fears/March to the anthem of the heart/to a brand new day/A brand new start.”  He goes on to sing, “To wonder lands of ice and snow/In the desert heat where nothing grows/A tree of life in rain and sun/To reach the sky, it’s just begun.”  As the song transitions into its chorus, he sings, “And as we came into the clear/To find ourselves where we are here/Who is the wiser to help us steer/And will we know when the end is near?”  What makes all of this significant here in the first half of the song is that these lyrics seem to be a metaphorical way of addressing the world’s current situation.  It seems to try to remind listeners that there is positive in the world’s negative, yet seems to ask through the chorus, who will help lead us to that positive.  Again, this is all just the interpretation of this critic in particular.  It should not be taken as gospel.  Though in the song’s third verse, Kiszka continues, “Beauty lies in every soul/The more you love, the more you know/They pass the torch and it still burns/One children, then it’s now our turn.”  It’s as if Kiszka is telling listeners again, that that positive is there, but it’s up to us to make it exist.  Once again, this is just this critic’s interpretation, and could likely be completely off base, so it should not be considered the only interpretation.  When this seeming message of positivity is considered along with the almost contemplative vibe of the song’s musical arrangement, that seeming message tends to make more sense even if it is not the correct interpretation.  Keeping this in mind, the song proves to be a strong start for Greta Van Fleet in its latest recording, and just one example of why the band is deserving of more than the Led Zeppelin comparisons that it has constantly received.  It is a song that infuses a variety of musical influences in its arrangement, and that presents a seemingly deep lyrical theme with wording that is certain to generate plenty of discussions.  While the impact of this song cannot be ignored, it is just one of the songs included in the album that proves Greta Van Fleet deserves more credit than it has gotten and gets.  ‘You’re The One’ is another song that shows this band is not just another Led Zeppelin ripoff.

‘You’re The One’ has been likened by some to Led Zeppelin’s ‘Your Time Is Gonna Come,’ and while a close listen to both songs does reveal a certain similarity, it can just as easily be argued that they are dissimilar, too in their musical arrangements.  It’s one more example of Greta Van Fleet using another band’s influences to try to establish its own identity.  Yes, the use of the organ and the old-school sound of the drums, and even the guitar line show similarities, but those similarities are not as direct as in other equally rare moments in this record.  To that end, the song shows yet again that even despite the similarities between the two songs, the band does deserve at least some credit as it shows the band is not trying to blatantly rip off its influences.  The song’s lyrical content adds even more to its interest.  The content shows the song is a standard love song, with Kiszka singing, “Babe, ain’t no denyin’/That I got you in my head/Girl, I’d be lyin’/If you stood yourself and said/You’re the one I want/You’re the one I need/You’re the one I had/So come back to me.”  This is the exact opposite, lyrically, of ‘Your Time Is Gonna Come,’ which is a song about a breakup sung from the standpoint of someone telling another that said person’s time will come.  GVF’s song may be similar to Led Zeppelin’s work stylistically, and similar lyrically in that the two songs both center on relationships, but GVF’s work is about a man who wants a woman, not someone breaking up with another person.  To that end, here we have another example of why Greta Van Fleet deserves more credit than it gets.  With this in mind, there is still at the very least one more example in this song, of why Greta Van Fleet deserves more credit than it gets. It comes in the form of ‘Brave New World,’ which comes late in the album’s run.

‘Brave New World’ stands out because as with the previously discussed songs, this work’s musical arrangement is another example of Greta Van Fleet clearly trying to establish its own identity.  Instead of the Zeppelin influences that people love to make so much with the band, this song’s arrangement presents more influence from the likes of Rush and Ritchie Blackmore among others with its slow yet bombastic guitar and drums.  Kiszka’s own vocal delivery conjures thoughts of a combined Robert Plant and Geddy Lee, while the bass work adds to the song’s heaviness.  It honestly could be considered the album’s most notable work because it so clearly shows the potential that the band has, despite what so many people would have people think.  The song’s lyrical content shows just as much as its musical arrangement, the potential that the band has.  Looking through the song’s lyrical content, it comes across as a social commentary of sorts, again presented through metaphors.  This is inferred as Kiszka sings, “As to the drifters of the high rift plains/They can see the ashes and the acid rain/It turns to dust before their very eyes/And it chokes to death within the smog it lies.”  This comes across as a statement of what has become of the world.  That seeming statement continues as he sings in the song’s chorus, “Take one look at your skies/And in the darkness realize/Kill, fear, the power of lies/For we will not be hypnotized.”  This comes across as Kiszka presenting a defiant message that the world will overcome what has caused it to become what it has become.  The seeming social commentary continues as Kiszka sings, “Turn back the clock within your glass of sand/To a time of love within this blackened land/A silent child climbs a mound of char/Where he plants a seed that grows beyond the stars.”  This comes across as Kiszka telling people to remember that there was a better day, and that it is possible to get back to that better time, despite everything that has happened.  Once again, this is all just one critic’s interpretation.  Even with that in mind, it goes without saying that this lyrical content is presented in a smart fashion, even being presented through metaphorical language.  It still seems to make a statement that at least seems to match, and is deep, regardless.  That contemplative nature of the song’s lyrical content couples with its equally thoughtful musical arrangement to make the song stand out even more.  When this is considered along with the presentation of ‘You’re The One,’ ‘Age of Man’ and the rest of the album’s featured offerings, the whole exhibits Greta Van Fleet as a band that despite its comparisons to Led Zeppelin, deserves far more credit than it deserves.

Greta Van Fleet is currently one of the biggest names in the rock realm today.  That is due to a handful of singles that have lent themselves to comparisons to the one and only Led Zeppelin.  At the same time, those singles have proven to be anything but beneficial for the band.  Rather, they have caused quite a division among audiences.  Songs such as ‘Brave New World,’ ‘You’re The One’ and ‘Age of Man’ show a side of Greta Van Fleet that the band’s singles have not and do not present.  They show a band striving to use its influences to develop its own identity and that clearly has potential.  Keeping this in mind, the band’s debut album (and third overall studio recording) Anthem of the Peaceful Army proves to be a positive new effort from the up-and-coming neo-classic rock band, and one that shows the band deserves more credit than it receives.  It is available now.  More information on Anthem of the Peaceful Army is available online now along with all of Greta Van Fleet’s latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.gretavanfleet.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/GretaVanFleet

 

 

 

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‘Memories In Rock II’ Is A Welcome “Sequel” To Its 2017 Predecessor

Courtesy: Minstrel Hall Music

Minstrel Hall Music has another archived concert on the way this spring from Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow. Memories in Rock II is currently scheduled to be released Friday, April 6 on separate 2CD/DVD combo pack, vinyl and digital platforms. The 18-song set (technically 21 songs) pulls performances from the band’s 2017 UK performances.  As an added bonus, it also includes the band’s first studio recording since 1996.  That extensive collection of songs forms a solid foundation for the recording.  it will be discussed shortly.  Just as important to the recording’s presentation as the extensive set list is the bonus DVD that is included with the audio recording.  It will be discussed a little later, as it strengthens that foundation formed by the set list even more.  The recording’s companion booklet rounds out the most important of its elements.  Each element is important in its own way, as will be pointed out here.  All things considered, they make Memories in Rock II a live recording that will have no problem sticking in listeners’ memories.

Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow’s new live recording Memories in Rock II, the follow-up to 2016’s Memories in Rockwhich documented a trio of European Rainbow shows from 2016, is a nice follow-up to that recording.  That is despite it missing one item in its presentation.  That item is part of what also makes the recording enjoyable, its set list.  The recording’s 18 (technically 21) song set list will appeal to fans of Blackmore’s work with Rainbow and Deep Purple.  Over the course of its 136-minute (2-hour, 16-minute) run time, the set list features 11 classic Rainbow songs on which Blackmore took part recording as well as eight Deep Purple songs and one more recent work from Blackmore’s Night — ‘Carry On Jon.’  The whole thing opens with the band’s own take on the classic Wizard of Oz tune ‘Over The Rainbow,’ originally composed by Harold Arlen and Yip Harburg.  What’s interesting about the Rainbow song selection is that it is pulled from five of Rainbow’s eight total albums.  Blackmore took part on each of those albums.  Of course, since he wanted to reach fans of his work with Deep Purple, there was no way to feature work from those other three Rainbow records.  Keeping that in mind, being that the set list features only three more Rainbow songs than Deep Purple songs, it is clear a lot of thought was put into reaching as many fans as possible.  The same can be said about the set list’s sequence.  Throughout the course of the concert, Blackmore and company keep things interesting, switching back and forth between Rainbow and Deep Purple throughout rather than staying on one or the other too long.  this insures listeners’ engagement even more.  The one downside to the whole thing is that the concert here is limited entirely to CD.  Memories in Rock, its predecessor, which chronicled Rainbow’s 2016 European shows, was presented on separate CD and CD/DVD/BD platform.  Of course Live in Birmingham, a partner recording to Memories in Rock was presented only on CD.  To that end, while not having a DVD or BD presentation here takes away at least a little from the presentation, it can’t be criticized too badly.  It just would have been nice to have that option.  Keeping that in mind, one might ask what is on the DVD that is included in this presentation.  What is included on the DVD is a series of interviews with Blackmore, his band mates and even some of those behind the scenes.  It’s another of the recording’s strong points.

Blackmore’s interview is the longest of the interviews included in the bonus DVD, clocking in at a little more than half an hour.  Ronnie Romero gets his own roughly 10-minute interview while Blackmore’s wife Candice Night and fellow back-up singer Lady Lynn get their own moment in the limelight.  The topics covered throughout the collective interviews is just as diverse as the recording’s set list.  Blackmore talks about the difference between playing Deep Purple and Rainbow songs and those from Blackmore’s Night.  His mention of having to keep his fingernails trimmed for the latter  and of course his mentality on stage is interesting to say the least.  His very frank response to whether or not he wants to play with his former Deep Purple band mates is just as interesting.  Rather than ramble on aimlessly, he raises the issue of management and money being obstacles, but that he would like to play at least once so that fans would know the past is the past.  It is its own interesting discussion.  His light-hearted discussion on his wife’s role in Ronnie Romero’s inclusion in the band will put a smile on anyone’s face.  Speaking of Romero, audiences will enjoy his discussions, too.  He shares, through his discussions, a brief look at his professional resume while also discussing his love for Deep Purple and Rainbow.  Drummer David Keith’s interview, while not overly long, offers its own interest for his fellow drummers.  He openly admits that coming into Rainbow, his knowledge was more to that of Neil Peart (Rush) and others.  Obviously he settled in nicely to his position with Rainbow.  Between these discussions, the talks by Rainbow’s tour manager (yes, even the tour manager), and everyone else involved, audiences get plenty of extra insight and entertainment through the featured interviews.  When that insight and entertainment is set against the recording’s set list, the two elements together show even more clearly why this recording is another enjoyable offering from Rainbow.  It still is not the last of the elements to prove this, either.  The recording’s companion booklet rounds out the most important of the recording’s elements.

The companion booklet that comes with Memories in Rock II is its own integral addition to this recording because of the back story that it offers on the band’s 2017 concerts.  That history is presented by Stathis N. Panagiotopoulos, a member of the Deep Purple Appreciation Society, Greece. Panagiotopoulos directly mentions the band’s 2016 European shows in his liner notes while also noting that the lineup presented in this recording is the longest-running Rainbow lineup since the release of the band’s debut album way back in 1975.  He even touches on the set list featured here, noting that this set list came about most likely due to discontent from audiences that the band’s 2016 shows were weighed down by Deep Purple songs.  This is an interesting nugget of information considering that this set list features eight Deep Purple Songs to 11 Rainbow classics.  Basically put, there is still a solid Deep Purple presence here, but there is even more Rainbow presence, and the two are ultimately well-balanced from start to finish.  These notes and others included in the booklet’s liner notes do plenty to add to the recording’s enjoyment.  When they are collectively set alongside the recording’s set list and the bonus interviews, the whole will keep audiences engaged and entertained for hours both literally and figuratively speaking.  That being the case, it proves in whole to be a work that will stay in audiences’ minds for a long time.

Memories in Rock II, the follow-up to Rainbow’s 2017 recording Memories in Rock, is another nice addition to Rainbow’s overall body of work and another enjoyable live recording from the veteran rock band.  It is a work that is certain to stay in audiences’ minds for a long time.  As noted here, that is due in part to the recording’s well-balanced, extensive set list.  The recording’s bonus DVD, loaded with almost two hours of insightful and entertaining interview footage adds to its enjoyment.  The information provided in the liner notes of the companion booklet put the finishing touch to the recording.  Each element is important in its own right.  All things considered, they make Memories in Rock II potentially one of this year’s top new live recordings overall.  It will be available Friday, April 6 via Minstrel Hall Music.  More information on Memories in Rock II is available online now along with all of Ritchie Blackmore’s latest news and more at:

 

Website: http://www.ritchieblackmore.com

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

 

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Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow To Release New Live Recording This Spring

Courtesy: Minstrel Hall Music

Minstrel Hall Music has another archived concert on the way this spring from Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow.

Memories in Rock II is currently scheduled to be released Friday, April 6 on separate 2CD/DVD combo pack, vinyl and digital platforms.  The 18-song set pulls performances from the band’s 2017 UK performances.  It features songs that Blackmore recorded with Rainbow and Deep Purple including but not limited to: ‘Spotlight Kid,’ ‘I Surrender,’ ‘Mistreated,’ ‘Man on The Silver Mountain/Women From Tokyo,’ Perfect Stranger,’ ‘Black Night,’ Smoke on the Water’ and much more.

Along with those classics, the brand new Rainbow studio song ‘Waiting For A Sign’ is also included in this recording.  The song, which features Ronnie Romero on vocals, is the band’s first new song since 1996.  It will be released digitally March 16.  The recording’s full track listing is noted below.

TRACK LISTING:

CD1:
Over The Rainbow
Spotlight Kid
I Surrender
Mistreated
Since You’ve Been Gone
Man On The Silver Mountain / Woman From Tokyo
16th Century Greensleeves
Soldier Of Fortune
Perfect Strangers
Difficult To Cure
All Night Long
Child In Time

CD2:
Stargazer
Long Live Rock’n’Roll / Lazy
Catch The Rainbow
Black Night
Carry On Jon
Temple Of The King

Smoke On The Water
Waiting For A Sign (brand new song)

The DVD that accompanies the live material on the two CDs features extensive interviews with Blackmore as well as his new band mates — Jens Johannson (keyboards), Bob Nouveau (bass), Dave Keith (drums), Lady Lynn and Candice Night (backup vocals) and the previously noted Ronnie Romero (vocals).  Night also serves as vocalist for Blackmore’s other band, Blackmore’s Night.

As if the noted interviews are not enough, there are also interviews with the crew as an added bonus. Audiences can check out a preview of the interviews online now here.

More information on Memories in Rock II is available online now along with all of Ritchie Blackmore’s latest news and more at http://www.facebook.com/ritchieblackmore.  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.

 

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

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Long Beach 1971 Is One Of 2015’s Top New Live CD Recordings

Courtesy:  earMusic

Courtesy: earMusic

Deep Purple is one of the most well-known and respected names in the rock community. The veteran British blues-rock band has been making music together for some forty-seven years. Given there was a nearly ten-year period in which the band took some time off from 1976 – 1984. But since it reformed in 1984, Deep Purple has been busy churning out new studio and live recordings and touring seemingly nonstop. Over the course of the past two years alone, the band’s deals with Eagle Rock Entertainment and earMusic has resulted in no fewer than six live recordings and one new studio album with at least two more on the way this summer. The most recent of those newly released live recordings, Long Beach 1971, was released late this past May. The recording only consists of four songs–‘Speed King,’ ‘Strange Kind of Woman,’ ‘Child in Time,’ and ‘Mandrake Root,’ While that doesn’t seem like much, those four songs bring the recording’s total run time to over an hour. More specifically, it brings the recording’s total run time to an hour and nineteen minutes, just shy of the ninety minute mark. That extensive run time is just one aspect of what makes Long Beach 1971 another hit for Deep Purple and for the band’s fans. The band’s performance itself makes for even more enjoyment, as audiences will note. That will be discussed at more length later. Last but hardly least worth noting of Long Beach 1971 is its audio mix. The audio mix of this concert is surprisingly impressive for its time. It sounds completely unlike anything from this era of concert recordings. But it still sounds impressive nonetheless. That is a tribute to those charged with re-mastering the recording for its release on CD. If not for the work of those individuals, neither the show’s set list nor the band’s performance would be of any matter. Thankfully for fans that isn’t the case. Instead, audiences have in this recording a piece that is yet another impressive live recording from Deep Purple and a recording that is one of the year’s best new live recordings on CD.

Long Beach 1971 is yet another impressive in a long line of live recordings released by Deep Purple in recent year. It is also one of the year’s best new live recordings on CD. The central way in which it proves this is through its set list. The set list consists of only four songs. On the surface that might not seem like very much. But it is in reality quite a bit. The songs–‘Speed King,’ ‘Strange Kind of Woman,’ ‘Child in Time,’ and ‘Mandrake Root’–in total bring the concert’s total run time to an hour and nineteen minutes with the show’s opener, ‘Speed King,’ being the shortest at eleven minutes and five seconds long. Keeping on that track, audiences will be interested to note that the songs only get longer from there. ‘Strange Kind of Woman’ clocks in at eleven minutes and twelve seconds. ‘Child in Time’ comes in at twenty minutes and twenty-five seconds. ‘Mandrake Root’ closes the show with a total run time in itself at twenty-seven minutes and eighteen seconds. Maybe it is mere coincidence that each of the songs presented here is longer than the last. It could have been wholly intentional, too. Regardless, such a long set with only four songs is impressive in itself especially for that era. The songs are so long because the band doesn’t just perform the songs. Rather the band’s members–Ian Gillan, Ian Paice, Jon Lord, Ritchie Blackmore, and Roger Glover–let the performances grow naturally. The result is the extensive yet enjoyable performances that audiences get within the course of each of the recording’s songs. It is also tied into another aspect of the recording that makes it just as enjoyable–the band’s actual performance.

The performance of Deep Purple’s members in this recording is just as important to note of its enjoyment as the concert’s extensive set list. That is because what audiences get from Deep Purple in this recording isn’t just some band up on stage going through the motions. It is a band that is taking in the moment both together and with its audience. The fact that the band lets each song organically grow from just a performance to a full-blown jam session shows that. Even audiences listening to the concert on their radios or MP3 players will find themselves getting lost in each performance along with the band and those that were there in attendance. Even more impressive is that front man Ian Gillan talks to the audience in between songs, explaining briefly but clearly the story behind each song. Those that might not know the stories behind the songs will definitely enjoy Gillan’s stories. He explains about ‘Strange Kind of Woman’ that it apparently had to do with a prostitute and one of the band’s friends. Believe it or not. In regards to ‘Child in Time,’ he explains that it centers on people that just can’t seem to win in life no matter what. And in regards to the show’s closer ‘Mandrake Root’ he explains that this song came to be after two of the band’s friends got into a certain drink at a party. When audiences listen to the song, it becomes relatively clear what exactly happened (or supposedly happened). Gillan even laughs at a certain point, giving one to think that apparently what it sounds like happened perhaps indeed did happen. It’s a small moment, but it is one more of so many that heightens the enjoyment of the band’s performance. Together with the show’s set list, both elements make relatively clear why Long Beach 1971 is yet another impressive live Deep Purple set and one of the year’s best new live CDs.

The set list and performance on the part of Deep Purple’s band members in Long Beach 1971 prove clearly in themselves why this recording is yet another impressive addition to the band’s already extensive catalogue of live CDs. They also show just as clearly why it is one of the year’s best new live CDs. Both elements taken into consideration there is just one more element to note in what makes Long Beach 1971 so enjoyable. That final element is the concert’s audio mix. Right off the bat, audiences will note that in comparison to the live recordings churned out today, this recording sounds quite different. The best way for audiences to fully understand this difference is to purchase the recording for themselves. But for lack of better wording, it doesn’t have that spit-shined, auto-tuned sound that today’s live recordings boast. It is more….organic almost. Yet for that sound, it still sounds surprisingly impressive. This is the case even despite having to adjust the volume level between songs so as to hear Gillan’s discussions on the songs. Sure, it would have been nice to not have to constantly make such adjustment from one song to the next. but that’s beside the point. It’s just nice to have that interaction with the audience coupled with a solid stage performance. Getting back on topic, those charged with re-mastering the audio for this recording are to be commended for their efforts. Thanks to their work, that organic sound is still there as is the static that was produced by the recording technology of the day. This seems minor but it is important in its own right. That is because it shows that it is still possible for record companies to produce classic and classic sounding records on CD complete with that nostalgic static sound in place of full vinyl releases. There has been so much talk in recent years about the resurgence of vinyl. The apparent reason that there has been such a resurgence in its popularity is simply the nostalgia factor. The static and organic audio that has been reproduced in Long Beach 1971 proves without a doubt that it is still possible to have that nostalgia without having to spend exorbitant amounts of money on vinyls. Considering this, the nostalgia produced by the audio mix of Long Beach 1971 will make listening to the concert’s set list and the band’s performance all the greater. In turn it will prove yet again why Long Beach 1971 is yet another impressive live Deep Purple recording and why it is one of this year’s best new live CD recordings overall.

Long Beach 1971 gives Deep Purple fans of all ages plenty to smile about. Its set list, while short in selection, makes for a full and fun concert. The band’s performance of its chosen songs makes the concert even more enjoyable. That is thanks both to the organic nature of the band’s performance and to front man Ian Gillan actually interacting with the audience, sharing the stories behind each of the set’s songs. The expert re-mastering of the concert’s audio leaves it sounding just as it would have on a vinyl release complete with static. It shows that a CD recording live or otherwise can still be just as good as any vinyl release if not better. All three elements together make crystal clear why Long Beach 1971 is yet another impressive release in a long line of live recordings from Deep Purple and why it is also one of this year’s best new live CD recordings. It is available now in stores and online. More information on this and other titles from E.A.R. Music is available online now at:

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Blackmore’s Rainbow Rocks In New Archived Live Show

Courtesy:  Eagle Rock Entertainment/Eagle Vision

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment/Eagle Vision

Eagle Rock Entertainment has built quite the reputation over the years as one of the leaders in live recordings.  Releases from the likes of Queen, The Rolling Stones, and even Slipknot and Stone Temple Pilots last year show why Eagle Rock has justifiably earned that reputation.  Already, Eagle Rock has maintained that reputation in 2013 with even more top notch live recordings already released and more on the way.  Among the most anticipated recordings to come are the likes of Dream Theater’s Live at Luna Park and The Rolling Stones’ Sweet Summer Sun: Hyde Park Live.  Getting back to already released live recordings, one of the most notable of Eagle Rock’s most recent live recordings released in 2013 is the newly released Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow: Black Masquerade.  This DVD recording was released just a couple of weeks ago.  And it’s one that was well worth the wait for any purist fan of rock and roll.

Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow: Black Masquerade is a great live recording from the band’s post Ronnie James Die lineup.  It was originally recorded in 1995 at Dusseldorf’s famed Rockpalast TV series.  Considering that nearly two decades have passed since this concert was originally recorded, those responsible for uncovering the footage and transferring it to DVD are to be commended.  Both the audio and video quality of the concert is impressive to say the least.  They are both just as clear as they must have been in the show’s original recording if not better than said recording.  Director Gerd F. Schultze is deserving of credit here, too.  It was under Schultze’s watch that audiences catch the band’s nonstop energy and enjoyment from start to finish of the roughly ninety-minute-plus concert.

The quality of the footage in its transfer from tape to disc plays a big part in the success of this recording’s overall success.  It’s not all that audiences will appreciate here, either.  Just as much as fans will appreciate the quality of the show’s footage in its transfer, fans will also appreciate the performance itself.  Blackmore breezes through the show, exhibiting his abilities as both a modern guitarist and even as a classical guitarist.  He proves why he was still considered one of the industry’s most respected guitarists at the time as he made his way effortlessly through each song.  That’s not to say that he isn’t still considered one of the greats today.  It just serves to show that even after so many years with Deep Purple, there was still plenty of fire left in him at the time.  Suffice it to say that it is in its own way, a tribute to him and his abilities.  He isn’t the only member of the band that gets to shine in this concert, either.  Singer Doogie White is a fitting replacement for RJD.  His vocals soar with such power from one song to another.  And his interaction with both the band and the audience in attendance helps to build the show’s overall energy.  One would be remiss to ignore the talents of keyboardist Paul Morris and Chuck Burgi here.  Morris is right up there with the likes of Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater) and so many others of that ilk in his performance.  And Burgi’s drumming is classic rock at its finest.  From his over the top outfit to his talents and showmanship, he plays his own part in bringing fans a memorable show.

The performance by the post RJD lineup of Rainbow is in itself more than enough to make buying or ordering this new DVD well worth it.  The talent of each member of the band shows true musicianship all the way around.  And the set list that spans both the Deep Purple and Rainbow catalogue adds another element of enjoyment to the show.  And then there is the quality of the footage in its transfer from tape to disc.  All of these aspects work hand-in-hand so to speak to make Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow: Black Masquerade one more impressive piece from Eagle Rock Entertainment.  There is one more factor to be considered in the presentation’s overall enjoyment.  It’s a factor to which most people don’t pay attention but should.  It is the included liner notes in the DVD’s bonus booklet.  Writer Jeff Katz puts it even better than this critic could have in the liner notes, that “what we see in this concert is a band firing on all cylinders.”  Katz goes into painstaking song-by-song detail in his liner notes, explaining why this recording was such an important performance to be unearthed.  In doing so, he explains to audiences that in examining this release, he had to look back at his own experiences in seeing Rainbow live in person.  Those ruminations do an excellent job of setting up his take on each song.  All together, his analysis is more than just an analysis.  It’s like a program for a rock concert.  Audiences can almost read each song’s notes as each song plays, and get a better understanding of each opus.  Together with the other mentioned factors to consider in this recording, it turns out to be the icing on the proverbial cake.  It makes the performance whole and all the more worth picking up now that it is available in stores and online.  It can be ordered from Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00DPH7QFM/ref=s9_simh_gw_p74_d0_i1?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_r=1CF1TH81AXSD69D1EDKF&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=1389517282&pf_rd_i=507846.

For more information on this and other releases from Eagle Rock Entertainment, audiences can go online to 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.