John Denver Around The World Live (1977 1990/Eagle Vision DVD Set)
Picture: C Sound: B- Extras: B- Concerts: B-
covering a TV movie about his life, we finally get to see the real John Denver
in action. For your reference, the telefilm
Take Me Home was not bad and you can
read more about it at this link:
Vision is releasing no less than a 5-DVD set called John Denver Around The World.
Of course, it features a decent set of concerts, which we count as the
main programs, but it also surprises by offering two non-music specials well
get to in a moment, making this a pleasant surprise of a box set release.
four full-length concerts, plus three appearances he made at the Farm Aid shows in 1985, 1987 and
1990. That includes a 1987 duet with a
friend from the USSR singing What Are We
Making Weapons For? Little did
anyone there know that the USSR would collapse in a few more years, but it was
a bold statement in the early middle of The Reagan Era.
main concerts are:
Thank God Im A Country Boy Live
In Australia 1977
Rocky Mountain High Live In
Solo Acoustic Show Live In Japan
Country Roads Live In England
are at their best when Denver allows his voice not to be overshadowed by the
backup singers and he is not only a good showman, but good entertainer and a
gracious one at that. Whether you like
his music or not, he is sincere, serious and more talented than he gets credit
for. In all the shows, he performs his
many hits (including four U.S. #1 hits and three #1 albums!) including Thank God Im A Country Boy, Sunshine On My Shoulders, Rocky Mountain High, Annies Song and Take Me Home, Country Roads.
All these years later, it is more apparent than ever that he was
continuing music in the Folk tradition Pete Seeger possessed and it is amazing
how over these shows, his voice and energy are surprisingly consistent.
audiences are also a plus (even in the 1981 show where the Japanese are not
sure how to react) and it reminds us what a class act Denver was and how he is
too often forgotten today. Some of that
is because he was already doing music that was not in favor, though he made it
so by selling so many millions of albums, but also for political reasons
because he was pro-environment and common sense before it was vilified by The
Far Right in the U.S. and its political landscape.
brings us to the specials. Day At The Bighorn shows that Denver
more than walked the walk, tackling the nature he loved by jumping right into
it. In this case, it is during some
serious winter weather, but he just walks right into it as if he was on Nitro Circus. Not a care in the world, because he loved the
world. Then there is the remarkable Earth Day 1990, where he talks about
biodiversity, how bad pollution can be, how he was hoping the electric car was
on the way (of course, GM built it to gut it, as Who Killed The Electric Car? (reviewed elsewhere on this site) will
show you) and offers ideas and insights ahead of their time throughout this
it is dated, he is on the money in just about everything he says and if he had
only lived, he could have told us I told
you so or even made a significant difference. He would likely be furious and activist about
the wholesale destruction that has been going on of late. I was amazed what a great job he did here and
how exceptionally well read and well spoken he was here. In his hit film Oh, God, he proved to be a fine comic actor. Here, he proved he was a leader who had
something to say we should still all hear.
Why more environmentalists have not discussed this program is a huge
mystery, but it is the single item here I hope gets rediscovered due to this
The 1.33 X
1 image on all the concerts are analog tape (likely all NTSC) and show there
age, especially the earlier shows with aliasing errors and ghosting. However, color is consistent enough and is
watchable enough. The specials are on
film, likely 16mm, from older analog transfers.
They deserve some work and HD transfers.
The concerts have three soundtracks in DTS 5.1 (the best choice in all
cases), Dolby Digital 5.1 and Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo, while the specials are
Dolby 2.0 that have some stereo separation.
notwithstanding, the only extra is a booklet with concert track listings,
stills, an essay, other tech information and credits.
- Nicholas Sheffo