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Category:    Home > Reviews > Concert > Rock > Pop > Standards > Movie Theme Songs > Punk > Alternative > Acoustic > Industrial > Biograph > Brian May & Kerry Ellis: The Candlelight Concerts - Live At Montreux 2013 (2013/Eagle Blu-ray)/Elton John: Goodbye Yellow Brick Road: 40th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition (1974/Universal Music DVD/CD

Brian May & Kerry Ellis: The Candlelight Concerts - Live At Montreux 2013 (2013/Eagle Blu-ray)/Elton John: Goodbye Yellow Brick Road: 40th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition (1974/Universal Music DVD/CD Set)/The Punk Singer (2013/MPI/IFC DVD)/Suzanne Vega: Solitude Standing Live (2013/MVD DVD)

Picture: B-/C+/C+/C Sound: B (CD: B-)/C+ (CDs: B)/C+/C+ Extras: C/B+/C+/C Main Programs: C+/A+/B/B-

Here are new releases involving some legendary acts...

Brian May & Kerry Ellis: The Candlelight Concerts - Live At Montreux 2013 (2013) has the guitarist from Queen with a new singer covering several Queen classics as well as the likes of Something (The Beatles), Dust In The Wind (Kansas), John Barry's Theme From Born Free, Marvin Hamlisch's Theme From The Way We Were (Barbra Streisand) and the classic standard I (Who Have Nothing) (best performed by Shirley Bassey). Presented here on Blu-ray and CD, the show is good, but mixed because I was not always impressed with the arrangements or performances of some o these classics. Miss Ellis is talented, but she does not always seem in her element or at least the material does not always become hers.

There are those who will enjoy the change of pace aspect of the show, but it did not stay with me. However, you might want to check this one out for yourself. Extras include an illustrated book on the show with tech information inside the case, while the Blu-ray adds a featurette Nothing Really Has Changed.

Ten years ago, we celebrated 30 years of one of the greatest double albums ever made. Now, in a work that like Tommy and The White Album keeps aging strongly, we have Elton John: Goodbye Yellow Brick Road: 40th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition (1974) in a big box set that includes 4 CDs and a DVD. The CDs include the following tracks:

Disc: 1

1. Funeral For A Friend

2. Love Lies Bleeding

3. Candle In The Wind

4. Bennie And The Jets

5. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road

6. This Song Has No Title

7. Grey Seal

8. Jamaica Jerk Off

9. I've Seen that Movie Too

10. Sweet Painted Lady

11. The Ballad Of Danny Bailey (1909-34)

12. Dirty Little Girl

13. All the Girls Love Alice

14. Your Sister Can't Twist (But She Can Rock 'n' Roll)

15. Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting

16. Roy Rogers

17. Social Disease

18. Harmony

Disc: 2 (covers & outtakes)

1. Candle In The Wind (Ed Sheeran)

2. Bennie and the Jets (Miguel)

3. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (Hunter Hayes)

4. Grey Seal (The Band Perry)

5. Sweet Painted Lady (John Grant)

6. All The Girls Love Alice (Emili Sande)

7. Your Sister Can't Twist (But She Can Rock And Roll) (Imelda May)

8. Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting (Fall Out Boy)

9. Harmony (Zac Brown Band)

10. Grey Seal (piano demo) (Elton John)

11. Grey Seal (1970 Original) (Elton John)

12. Jack Rabbit (Elton John)

13. Whenever You're Ready (We'll Go Steady) (Elton John)

14. Screw You (Young Man Blues) (Elton John)

15. Candle In The Wind (Acoustic) (Elton John)

16. Step Into Christmas (Elton John)

17. Ho Ho Ho (Who'd Be A Turkey At Christmas?) (Elton John)

18. Philadelphia Freedom (Elton John)

19. Pinball Wizard (Elton John)

Disc: 3

1. Funeral For A Friend (Live at Hammersmith)

2. Love Lies Bleeding (Live at Hammersmith)

3. Candle In The Wind (Live at Hammersmith)

4. Hercules (Live at Hammersmith)

5. Rocket Man (Live at Hammersmith)

6. Bennie And The Jets (Live at Hammersmith)

7. Daniel (Live at Hammersmith)

8. This Song Has No Title (Live at Hammersmith)

9. Honky Cat (Live at Hammersmith)

Disc: 4

1. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (Live at Hammersmith)

2. The Ballad Of Danny Bailey (Live at Hammersmith)

3. Elderberry Wine (Live at Hammersmith)

4. Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer (Live at Hammersmith)

5. I've Seen That Movie Too (Live at Hammersmith)

6. All The Girls Love Alice (Live at Hammersmith)

7. Crocodile Rock (Live at Hammersmith)

8. Your Song (Live at Hammersmith)

9. Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting (Live at Hammersmith)

On the original 30th Anniversary Set, the two albums were on two separate discs so the 5.1 mixes in ultra-high fidelity Super Audio CD needed the room, though we only get regular CD tracks on a single CD here. You can read more about that release at this link:


While that only had 4 of the bonus tracks included here, the 5.1 mixes were stunning like the rest of the 5.1 Elton John SA-CD releases. The remakes are new and you see the final CDs have 18 tracks from a remarkable Hammersmith show from the time of the album that would be a strong separate release on its own. To top things off, we get a new book and a DVD with a long Bryan Forbes documentary he filmed to promote the album entitled Elton John & Bernie Taupin Say Goodbye To Norma Jean & Other Things that is a must-see for all serious music fans. Often sampled for other programs and running a few seconds shy of 45 minutes and here in a letterboxed 1.66 X 1 presentation from what looks like an older video master. The set has no 5.1 version of the album, but the SA-CD set is still available. This set is worth getting for all the new bonus goodies and is a special set that is as giftable as it is highly collectible. A masterwork deserves to be treated this well I wish more albums were. Fortunately, Universal Music has done justice to Goodbye Yellow Brick Road and this makes it one of the best box sets of the year.

Sini Anderson's The Punk Singer (2013) is a strong documentary partly about the rise of the Grrrlll Group Rock Music movement (no small 'I' in Girl there) spearheaded by a wave of groups in the face of the woman-hating 1980s and 1990s in U.S. politics, but the main architect turned out to be Kathleen Hanna, the lead singer and co-founder of the great band Bikini Kill whose biography this also is. This highly under-documented, great moment in American music history is dealt with greatly here and at the center, Hanna standing up for what she believes in against long-standing stereotypes that were being revived again.

Showing how things have changed in the U.S. for the worst, Hanna, her bandmates and other like bands get vilified, lied about, attacked and bashed by people who should know better and the usual crowd of the ignorant. However, she sticks in there until (despite personal triumphs) she cannot perform anymore or even appear publicly due to unexpected health issues, but that never changes where she is coming from or keeps her down. He influence is more major as an artist, which she is constantly expanding her horizons in being, from her early days to a pre-Nirvana Kurt Cobain (inspiring his biggest hit) to making at least some of the success of many new bands and other music acts possible.

Anyone who loves good, important music and wants to see what is really going on in the U.S. that the media conveniently ignores should make this a must see, but Anderson does such a great job in compiling and making this film that it could be a breakthrough for her too.

A few featurettes, trailer and Deleted Scenes are the nice extras.

Of course, there are many great, groundbreaking women in music, including Rock music before Hanna and they can be just as bold, groundbreaking and remarkable. Suzanne Vega: Solitude Standing Live (2013) shows another artist of Hanna's calibre still a extremely talented force in music still writing amazing songs. From a woman who tackled AIDS (99.9 F) and woman abuse (Luka) in hits that did not compromise, Vega remains as awesome as she is fearless in this new concert release that includes hits from her biggest album from Rome in 2013.

It includes some other songs (17 in all) and you get great classics like In Liverpool, Caramel and her most immortal hit, Tom's Diner. She is so great with an audience, is one of our great storytellers and would love to see her have another huge hit. Until then, we have this decent show that is recommended and shows one of the most underrated singer/songwriters around.

The only extra is a photo section an interview with Vega by Valerie Piccolo, but you can enjoy more of Vega's great work by trying out these links:

Live At Montreux 2004 DVD


Retrospective: The Videos Of Suzanne Vega DVD


The 1080i 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on May is the best performer here, in part because it is the only Blu-ray and in part because the image is stable and has nice color quality. The letterboxed 1.66 X 1 on the Elton film is from an older video master, but I color-consistent, looking like a 16mm shoot, but this one deserves a restoration and at least 2K transfer. That leaves the anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on Punk and Vega, the former of which looks good considering the condition of the older clips used, while the latter is sadly a little too plagued with minor softness, aliasing errors and motion blur. Color is good there too, though.

Sound is almost the same story with the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix on May offering a solid sound field, as does its alternate PCM 2.0 Stereo tracks, but the CD version's PCM 2.0 16/44.1 Stereo mix is a little weaker and more compressed, but that is not a problem for the CD tracks on all four Elton CDs. No., they are no match for the SA-CD/DSD versions of the older Anniversary set, but sound fine and are solid for the old CD format. The lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono on the Elton DVD documentary has some harmonic distortion, but sounds good for its age otherwise.

The lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 on Punk and lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo on Vega are the equal of the Elton DVD with good, if not always consistent sound. Punk has its monophonic moments and Vega is a little light for what should have been a DTS 5.1 presentation.

- Nicholas Sheffo


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