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Category:    Home > Reviews > Rock > Pop > Documentary > Concert > Eric Clapton – The 1960s Review (Chrome Dreams/MVD DVD) + Jeff Beck Rock ‘n’ Roll Party Honoring Les Paul (Eagle Rock Blu-ray) + The Last Play At Shea (2010/Lionsgate DVD) + Legends Of Rock & Roll (El

Eric Clapton – The 1960s Review (Chrome Dreams/MVD DVD) + Jeff Beck Rock ‘n’ Roll Party Honoring Les Paul (Eagle Rock Blu-ray) + The Last Play At Shea (2010/Lionsgate DVD) + Legends Of Rock & Roll (Elvis/The Beatles/Legend/Genius DVD Set) + LennoNYC (2010/A&E Blu-ray + DVD) + Nowhere Boy (2009/Sony DVD) + The Story Of The Yardbirds (2008/MVD DVD)

 

Picture: C+/B/B-/C+/B- & C+/C+/C+     Sound: C+ (Beck: B/Shea: B-)     Extras: C+/B-/C+/B-/B- & D/C/B-     Main Programs: B (Boy: C+)

 

 

The 2011 Grammy broadcast was one of the worst I have ever seen.  The record labels are in crisis and are not even trying to put out good music.  No new music genre has surfaced in this decade, the last decade or this century yet.  Many of the moments were incredibly phony and the lack of effort on many there was lame to the point that 20+ years ago, they would have never made it to the stage.  Hip Hop has been in decline since 2000 and Rock is not going to be coming back as a new genre, yet seven new Rock releases remind us how great the genre, its performers and its music can be.

 

 

Eric Clapton – The 1960s Review (Chrome Dreams/MVD DVD) is yet another one of the great series of music documentaries from England we continue to enjoy, loaded with original licensed music, interviews with experts and the people who were there and rare clips you will not see anywhere else.  The big surprise here is how intense the footage on The Yardbirds is and how honest it is about the rise, changes and dissolution of the band.  There was so much talent there, they could not stay together with Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page at the same time, but imagine any band with that kind of “problem” today.  This is more extensive than the same footage in It Might Get Loud (unreviewed, but recommended on Blu-ray) and shows us Clapton’s journey into many other name bands (Bluesbreakers, Cream and the one-shot of Blind Faith) before he went solo.  Even diehard fans will be shocked at how good this one is.  Text contributor biographies and three bonus sections (Sonny Boy Williams & The Yardbirds, Paul Jones on ‘Eric Clapton’s Powerhouse’ and Bill Halverson on Cream’s ‘Badge’) are the extras.

 

In speaking of Beck, the Jeff Beck Rock ‘n’ Roll Party Honoring Les Paul show delivers yet another terrific Beck concert on Blu-ray (again from Eagle Vision), brings together some great talents old and new (including Brian Setzer and Gary U.S. Bonds) playing 27 classic tracks from Rock’s golden era and doing it all exceptionally well.  The tracks include:

 

1)     Baby Let’s Play House

2)     Double Talkin’ Baby

3)     Cruisin’

4)     Train Kept A Rollin’

5)     Poor Boy

6)     Cry Me A River

7)     My Baby Left Me

8)     How High The Moon

9)     Sitting On Top Of The World

10)  Bye Bye Blues

11)  The World Is Waiting For The Sunrise

12)  Vaya Con Dios

13)  Mockin’ Bird Hill

14)  I’m A Fool To Care

15)  Tiger Rag

16)  Peter Gunn (Theme From)

17)  Rocking Is Our Business

18)  Apache

19)  Sleep Walk

20)  New Orleans

21)  Walking In The Sand

22)  Please Mr. Jailer

23)  Casting My Spell On You

24)  Twenty Flight Rock

25)  The Girl Can’t Help It (Theme From)

26)  Rock Around The Clock

27)  Shake, Rattle & Roll

 

 

The joy and energy in which they are played are in the best tradition of them all and it is easily one of the best Blu-ray concert releases of the last calendar year.  Serious music fans will not want to miss it.  Extras include a Beck interview, Behind The Scenes featurette, At Home with Jeff Beck & His Guitars, Jeff Beck & Les Paul Rock ‘N’ Roll Tonite and Les Paul & His Little Black Box.

 

Paul Crowder’s The Last Play At Shea (2010) is an excellent concert documentary about the music history of Shea Stadium and those connected with it, especially Billy Joel and The Beatles.  Joel loves New York City and with guests like Tony Bennett, Garth Brooks, John Mayer and Sting, sends off the beloved baseball arena with a final concert to remember.  The place not only became the home of The New York Mets, but gained a mythical; status as the last place The Beatles played in a giant public venue, one that set new standards for how large a concert space could be and one that was beautifully shot in color 35mm film for which clips are included.  Paul McCartney also shows up now and we get great footage about Joel’s career throughout as well, so this is another must see.  Extras include a Chuck Klosterman interview and Billy Joel’s Front Row Ticket Santa.

 

Legends Of Rock & Roll is a double DVD set that pairs really good compilation DVD releases on Elvis Presley and The Beatles from the Legend DVD catalog.  Both programs are surprisingly good compilation pieces (102 minutes for The Beatles, 78 for Elvis) that show footage you might have missed or footage so obscure that only a set like this might offer it.  I liked both very much and am glad to see it in print.  As a set, this is even better.  Extras in the Elvis disc include nine clips (the interview with his Cadillac, Graceland interview, Vegas contract signing and a few giveaway pieces are especially fun) while The Beatles only has a trivia quiz and the band in a colorized version of them doing Shakespeare.

 

Yoko Ono has been accused of overexposing the music, story and legacy of John Lennon and in two new releases, might not be trying to, but is almost validating charges of her critics.

 

First is another documentary about his life leading up to his last days.  LennoNYC (2010) does a good job of focusing on Lennon in his favorite new city and obviously covers territory we have covered (and was just covered in The U.S. vs. John Lennon (2007, reviewed elsewhere on this site)) though the truth cannot be repeated enough.  It does have some new interviews and gives us aspects about his music that are a plus, so I give it that credit, but it still has some overlap that is an issue.  Only the Blu-ray has extras and they include 20 minutes of additional footage worth seeing after watching the main program.

 

Sam Taylor-Wood’s Nowhere Boy (2009 is a drama about Lennon as a young man that has some good moments, but somehow is pale and not too memorable despite some great performances by the cast (including Kristin Scott-Thomas and Aaron Johnson as Lennon) that even had Ono and Paul McCartney as advisors on.  See it when you are not tired and you’ll enjoy it for the most part and hey, it’s better than Across The Universe!  Extras include Deleted Scenes, a Making Of featurette and Nowhere Boy: The Untold Story of John Lennon & The Creation of The Beatles featurette.

 

Finally we get The Story Of The Yardbirds (2008), yet another excellent release on the band, which runs about 53 minutes and has some great rare footage, does the most thorough job of the three DVDs here covering the band and gives Chris Dreja, Jim McCarty, Paul Samwell-Smith and Keith Relf more of the kind of attention that is long overdue.  It also captures the fun of their success as only a devoted documentary work can, so know it is more than worth going out of your way for and as much of referential quality as any of the discs here.  I wish it were longer.

 

However, extras include an excellent illustrated booklet inside the DVD case with plenty of text and tech info on the band, while the DVD adds a late 1967 German TV appearance of the band with Page playing songs like I’m A Man that fans and real music lovers will really enjoy.

 

The 1080i 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image on the Blu-rays have the best picture quality of all the presentations here, with Beck having the best of all, with little to no motion blur throughout, which is rare for such an HD recording.  LennoNYC has more analog video footage and older film footage that holds back its performance, though it looks better than its basic anamorphically enhanced DVD edition.  The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on Shea is almost as good, with new HD footage, some great film and analog video archive footage and more that actually look better than the all-filmed in 35mm 2.35 X 1 anamorphically enhanced DVD of Nowhere, which likely looks better in its Blu-ray version we did not get to see as of this posting.  The 1.33 X 1 on Clapton, the Legends discs and Yardbirds look better than expected considering you get so much archive footage, but softness is limited and yet, all are very watchable.

 

The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 mixes on the Blu-rays differ wildly with Beck being a very well recorded show and the overall sonic champ of the releases here.  It also has PCM 2.0 Stereo and Dolby Digital 5.1 mixes, but all pale as compared to the DTS-MA.  The same DTS-MA 5.1 on LennoNYC has too much of the sound in the center channel and towards the front speakers, which is even a bigger problem for the DVD and its Dolby Digital 5.1 mix.  Shea lands up being the second best sonic performer of the bunch with its own Dolby Digital 5.1 mix and makes me wish this was on Blu-ray as well.  The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix on Nowhere is on the quiet side and does not have the soundfield I would have liked, though maybe the Blu-ray (which also has DTS-MA) might sound better.  The rest have Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (and all but Beck have moments of monophonic audio) and all sound just fine with no major sonic issues.

 

Yes, great music lives!!!

 

 

-   Nicholas Sheffo


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