Viking Metallers Amon Amarth Are Victorious In Phil’s Picks 2018 Top 10 New Live DVDs & Blu-rays List

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

As the final few days of 2018 wind down, there is still some work to be done by critics putting in their year-ender lists.  That includes this critic.

This critic’s most recent year-ender focused on the year’s top new live CDs.  In a gradual transition to movies and television, there is still one more music list to present — the year’s top new live DVDs/BDs.  As has been noted previously, there are some live recordings that translate in  relatively acceptable fashion, but there are also others that can and should only be experienced with the full audio-visual experience.

Keeping this in mind, it is only fair to examine the year’s best new live DVDs and Blu-rays.  Topping this year’s list is Amon Amarth’s The Pursuit of Vikings25 Years in the Eye of the Storm.  There is nothing negative to say about this presentation.  The extensive documentary outlines the band’s career from the band’s own mouths, showing the group as a hard-working, blue-collar outfit that has earned its place in the metal and music communities.  The equally expansive two-night, 30-song set pulls from almost every one of the band’s albums.  The performance is great, as are the production values.

Second Place in this year’s list of the year’s best new live DVDs/BDs goes to Devin Townsend Project’s Ocean Machine Live at the Ancient Roman Theatre Plovdiv.  This performance features Townsend performing Ocean Machine live in its entirety along with an equally extensive by-request set.  That combination makes for a great set list.  As with Amon Amarth’s live recording, the group’s performance ensures audiences’ maintained engagement and entertainment, even at home.  The same can be said of the production values.  The whole makes the recording yet another that is best experienced with the full audio-visual presentation versus just the audio alone.

Third Place in this year’s list of the top new live DVDs and Blu-rays goes to The Rolling Stones’ San Jose, California ’99 show from Eagle Rock Entertainment.  The recording is everything that audiences have come to expect from one of the elite of the elite acts in the music industry today.  The extensive 20-song set list doesn’t play it safe, instead giving audiences material that is less common in the band’s previous live recordings from Eagle Rock Entertainment.  The group’s performance (including that of the touring musicians) couples with the production values to make the performance yet another must have for any true fan of The Rolling Stones.

Also featured in this year’s list are the new live recordings from Anthrax, The Robert Glasper Experiment and Opeth, just to name a few more acts.  As always, the first 10 titles in the last are the best, while the next five are honorable mention titles.  Without any further ado, here is Phil’s Picks’ 2018 Top 10 New Live DVDs & Blu-rays.


  1. Amon Amarth — The Pursuit of Vikings25 Years in the Eye of the Storm
  2. Devin Townsend Project — Ocean Machine Live at the Ancient Roman Theatre Plovdiv
  3. The Rolling Stones — No Security: San Jose ’99
  4. The Rolling Stones — Voodoo Lounge Uncut
  5. Accept — Symphonic Terror
  6. Opeth — Garden of the TitansLive at Red Rocks
  7. Anthrax — Kings Among Scotland
  8. The Sound of Music Live
  9. Steven Wilson — Home Invasion Live at the Royal Albert Theatre
  10. Norah Jones — Live at Ronnie Scott’s
  11. Tommy Shaw & The Contemporary Youth Orchestra — Sing For The Day!
  12. The Moody Blues — Days of Future Passed Live
  13. Overkill — Live in Overhausen
  14. Robet Glasper Experiment — Live
  15. Lacuna Coil — The 119 Show Live in London

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‘RGE: Live’ Gives Audiences An Eclectic, One-Of-A-Kind Experience

Courtesy: Eagle Vision/Eagle Rock Entertainment

Robert Glasper Experiment is, without doubt, one of the most key acts in the music industry today. His work on both sides of the glass has made him a household name in countless circles within the music industry. Late last month, Glasper showed even more why he has become such a respected figure throughout the industry with the release of his latest live recording, Robert Glasper Experiment: Live. This 11-song, 81-minute performance compilation takes audiences around the world, showing the literal reach of his (and his band’s) influence while also giving audiences a relatively healthy cross-section of the group’s body of work. Those two elements alone do plenty to make this recording worth seeing. The editing puts the finishing touch to the whole of the recording. It will also be discussed later. All things considered, Robert Glasper Experiment : Live proves in the end to be a live recording that will appeal to fans of Glasper’s jazz side as much as it will to modern jazz fans.

Robert Glasper Experiment’s latest live recording, simply titled Live, is an interesting new offering from the famed producer/musician and his fellow musicians. It is a work that is certain to appeal to fans of Glasper’s jazz work as much as modern jazz fans in general. That is due in part to the compositions that make up the body of the recording. The songs, by and large come from Glasper’s more jazz oriented albums, Black Radio and Black Radio 2. There is a throwback to his 2005 sophomore album Canvas in ‘Rise and Shine.’ There is also a nod to his 2009 album Double Booked right off the top in a performance of ‘All Matters’ and a cover of Radiohead’s ‘Packt Like Sardines In A Crushed Tin Box’ included in the sequence. This composition is such a stunning work in the way that it balances its R&B elements with equal parts modern jazz. It is a great start to the recording’s presentation, whose foundation is strengthened even more as the recording progresses. That is thanks both to the work of vocalist Bilal Oliver and the Metropole Orchestra. Wayne Brady’s freestyle rap (yes, the same Wayne Brady who currently hosts CBS’ hit game show Let’s Make A Deal, and yes, he raps) is one of the high points that really serves to build on that foundation. That’s because he shows he has real flow. Lalah (pronounced Layla) Hathaway’s performances add their own touch to the presentation, too. Between her performances, those of Glasper and his band mates, the performances, and the very directed nature of the song selections, the song selections chosen for this recording are themselves more than enough reason for audiences to watch this offering. It is only one part of what makes the recording an interesting viewing experience. The very range of the performance venues in itself is its own statement.

From start to finish, Eagle Rock Entertainment takes audiences around the world with Glasper and company for their performances, starting with a performance in The Netherlands. From there, audiences go along with the group to Shanghai, China before coming back to the U.S. and a performance at the Troubador in West Hollywood, California. From there, it’s off to Harlem, New York, back to the Troubador again before going back to the Netherlands yet again and then back once more to Harlem. Now, on the surface, this back and forth seems like something of a head scratcher. Those questions are valid. On a deeper level though, presenting performances from basically four major regions from such major nations shows the reach of the group’s stardom. It is, in itself, quite a statement here. It says without saying that Robert Glasper Experiment appeals to a much wider range of audience than one might think. It’s a telling statement, too. From the U.S. to Europe and even to the far East, it shows this Robert Glasper Experiment’s music truly is a universal language. Of course, it is just one more of the elements that makes this recording such an interesting watch. The recording’s editing puts the final touch to the presentation’s whole.

The editing incorporated into RGE: Live is critical because of its general effect impact. This includes the audio and video editing. The transitions from one performance to the next create a fluid progression throughout the course of the program’s nearly 90-minute run time. This fluid progression in itself insures viewers’ engagement. At the same time, the editing of the footage itself gives viewers the best seat in the house in each performance. That is due to the time and effort put into the video and sound editing. Some of the performances actually sound like one is right there, without losing the quality of the sound, and look like it, too. That’s important to note because in essence, what this does is actually make viewers feel like they are there, rather than presenting a spit-shined, finished product. It’s more raw, for lack of better wording, but in a good way. It shows that it is possible for a concert recording to be enjoyable without that perfect finish. At the same time, other performances included in the recording are much more streamlined, yet are just as enjoyable as the more raw clips. Again, that is thanks to the time and effort put into the video and sound editing. Their work makes the final product a positive visual and auditory experience just as much as the featured songs create their own interest along with the featured venues. All three elements together make RGE: Live a presentation that, again, will appeal just as much to fans of Glasper’s jazz work as modern jazz fans in general.

Robert Glasper Experiment: Live is an intriguing new live offering from Glasper and his fellow musicians. It is a work that because of its clearly directed and focused set list, will appeal to a very specific audience. That audience in question is those people who are more appealed to his jazz work than his R&B compositions. Keeping this in mind, it is certain to appeal to modern jazz fans, too. Those same fans are clearly not limited only to American audiences, as the chosen performance sites shows, another important part of the recording’s whole. The program’s editing puts the finishing touch to its presentation, giving home audiences the best seat in the house. Each element noted is important in its own right to the whole of this recording. All things considered, they make it a program that modern jazz fans and fans of Glasper’s jazz work will agree is worth at least one watch. It is available now in stores and online. More information on Robert Glasper Experiment: Live is available online now along with all of Robert Glasper’s latest news and more at:




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




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