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Eagle Vision’s “Hall and Oates, Live In Dublin” DVD

hall and oates, eagle vision, live in dublin, universal music group
Hall and Oates: Live In Dublin

Eagle Vision/Universal Music Group
DVD Produced and Directed by Joss Crowley
2CD+DVD Running Time: approximately 111 Minutes
DVD 9, 16:9 Screen Format, DTS Digital Surround Sound, Dolby Surround 5.1, Dolby Digital Stereo

Release Date: March 31, 2015

1. Maneater
2. Out of Touch
3. Say It Isn’t So
4. Family Man
5. It’s Uncanny
6. Back Together Again
7. Las Vegas Turnaround
8. She’s Gone
9. Sara Smile
10. Do What You Want, Be What You Are
11. I Can’t go For That (No Can Do)
12. Rich Girl
13. You Make My Dreams
14. Kiss On My List
15. Private Eyes

Re-Joyce…
Eagle Vision and Universal Music Group‘s new DVD/2 CD package Hall and Oates: Live in Dublin chronicles the duo’s first gig in the titular city’s Olympia Theater. Played to a sold out house, it was a great show to document. Not only is the setting intimate and beautiful but the Dubliners are an effusive and collaborative audience, singing along from stem to stern, making for a really engaging viewing and listening experience.

The 15 song set is a smart mix of crowd pleasers and more obscure material that spans the band’s history and puts a fresh spin on familiar hits. Fortunately Hall and Oates’ catalog is very malleable – ripe for rearrangement – meaning many of the kitschier studio embellishments found on the 80’s hits are eschewed for polished funky presentations that highlight the songs’ “evergreen” status. It also ensures that H&O don’t become a “cover band” of themselves.

Daryl Hall and John Oates’ stock in trade has been a palpable sincerity conveyed in the smooth soul crooning of their breakout tune “She’s Gone” through even the pop-iest of their mega-hits like “Kiss Is On My List.” It’s a believability that’s rooted in their vocal group tenure in the early days of the Philadelphia PA music scene that producers Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff eventually forged into TSOP: The Sound of Philadelphia. It’s exemplified in H&O tunes like “Sara Smile” and “Do What You Want, Be What You Are.” Both are represented on Live In Dublin in fine fashion. “Sara Smile” is all feel, Daryl announces it as “…the truth, plain and simple.” It’s a worthy successor to The Impressions. The deep soul of “Do What You Want…” gets an extended airing that features a fun solo duel between senior band member saxophonist Charlie DeChant and newest player guitarist Shane Theriot before it seamlessly slides into “I Can’t Go for That.” Theriot favors a scooped lead sound that cuts through the three guitar front line. He’s a fine improvisor who is also willing to replicate a studio solo when it’s a song’s melodic hallmark, as in “Private Eyes.”

Musician Positions…
The duo has always had a knack for finding great musicians for their stage bands from the very start. In the past members have included drummers Jerry Marotta and Mickey Curry, Elton’s Caleb Quaye, Peter Frampton’s “Alive” cohort Bob Mayo, Utopia’s Kasim Sulton and John Siegler and SNL’s house guitarist G.E. Smith and Bassist the late “T-Bone” Wolk. These are formidable shoes to fill but the current line-up is exceptional in their own right and they are deservedly highlighted in a bonus feature that offers a bit of biography on each member. Almost all of them are multi-instrumentalists, with the core players, including drummer Brian Dunne, coming from the Average White Band, and percussionist Porter Carroll Jr. having led Atlantic Starr. Along with their playing, background vocals are stellar from the staccato “watch out’s” in set opener “Maneater” to the “are watching you’s” on second encore closer “Private Eyes.”

SkeletonPete Says…
My bottom line benchmark for any purchase is the level of likelihood I’ll return to the piece after the initial watch. Hall and Oates: Live in Dublin has been a pleasure to repeat spin for the purposes of this review, and will continue to be top of the heap for replay for some time to come. If you’re only interested in the video content I suggest you grab the BluRay, although the standard DVD looks very good up-sampled on my Playstation 3.

#SonOfZorro…
What’s missing? Well, I’m one of the oddballs who counts the Todd Rundgren produced War Babies album as a favorite, but I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for “Beanie G and the Rose Tattoo” to show up in a set list any time soon. That is unless some hipster record bin crawlers decide War Babies is H&O’s great lost Pet Sounds. Hmm… sounds like a Twitter crusade in the making. See hashtag above.

Some Stones

Some Girls: Live In Texas 78 BluRay + CD


More Rolling Stones on stage From Eagle Vision. My first review of 2012 for PiercingMetal.com can be read here.

Click this image to purchase on Amazon.

King Midas In Redux: Brit Invasion Series Adds The Hollies

Eagle Vision & Reeling In the Year's Newest British Invasion Offering


The Hollies: Look Through Any Window 1963-1975
184 Minutes, NTSC, 4:3 Screen Format
Release Date: October 4, 2011

A delicious dollop of ‘sixties pop confection will be offered up on Tuesday, October 4 as Eagle Vision and Reeling In The Years add another British Invasion title to their catalogs. Previous films documented Dusty Springfield, Herman’s Hermits, Gerry and The Pacemakers, with my favorite being a mind blowing DVD of Small Faces performances. This time The Hollies are the focus of attention with “Look Through Any Window, 1963-1975”. As the title suggests, the group – most noted for their tight Everlys-esque harmony vocals – had a worldwide string of hits spanning more than a decade. The 22 songs represented here include era defining tunes like “Bus Stop”, “Carrie Anne” and “The Air That I Breathe”. In many cases (mostly with the mid-sixties hits) we are treated to live performances from European television appearances. Hearing The Hollies’ recreate their exceptional vocal recordings in a live setting makes this disc a real treasure.

Long Cool Career
Presented in chronological format the DVD views the band from its origins in the childhood friendship of Graham Nash and Allan Clarke and includes newly filmed interviews with both as well as guitarist Tony Hicks and drummer Bobby Elliott. Chats feature interesting anecdotes on song origins, recording sessions and the inevitable personnel changes. Most famously we all know that Nash left his band, his country and his wife in December of 1968 and within three days of the up-rooting was recording the first CSN album. Keep in mind that the first single from that ground breaking Laurel Canyon/Woodstock generation album was Nash’s Hollies transplant “Marrakesh Express”.

Particularly exciting are the 1967 clips from EMI studios capturing the band recording “On A Carousel”. The soloed vocals on that session make one wish that the producers had been able to offer vocal only bonus tracks as they did on several of their Motown features. Abbey Road fan-boys will melt at the sound of the famous in-house echo chamber, as produced by the late Ron Richards. A clip of Tony Hicks tracking his guitar part from the same session reveals him as the quintessential mod poster boy; a blueprint for Blur and Oasis decades later. Additionally pristine color footage of the band at their most “fab” lip synching “Baby That’s All” and “Here I Go Again” from the 1964 pop music flick U.K. Swings Again will you leave you “gob-smacked” by its clarity. Catch the holly sprig on the front of Bobby’s bass drum.

This DVD’s overview ends in 1975 but the band continued to pull some radio play into the early 1980’s. Allan Clarke, to his credit, attempted to draw attention to a young Jersey boy by the name of Bruce. During his solo hiatus in the ’70s Clarke recorded “Blinded By The Light”, “Born To Run” and “If I Were the Priest”. They were stalled for release by record company dallying until well after his prescience would be valued. The Hollies did manage a lovely take on “The Boss’s” “Sandy” so it was no surprise when E Streeter Miami Steve Van Sant inducted them into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in March 2010. Hicks and Elliott continue to tour under The Hollies moniker to this day. They couldn’t be at the HOF induction; they had already booked a Hollies’ gig in London.

The DVD comes packaged with a 12 page color booklet that features a thorough biography by Ben Fong Torres extolling the virtues of this often overlooked band. The center spread highlights a staggering array of album covers, 45 RPM picture sleeves and concert posters. All of the songs featured during the course of the film are available as complete performances in the bonus section, no chat, no voice-overs.

What’s Missing…
As mentioned above, vocals only bonus tracks would have been a revelation based on the snippet of “On A Carousel” we do get to hear. I’ll venture that the source being EMI this would have been a prohibitive task. On the interview side, some current words from Terry Sylvester, who joined on Nash’s departure, would have been welcome also. His vocals added so beautifully to the lush arrangements of “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother”, “The Air That I Breathe”, “Long Dark Road” and kept the band’s classic sound intact in their latter days. He also recorded an excellent self-titled solo album in 1974, produced by Ron Richards and engineered by Alan Parsons.

SkeletonPete Says…
Classic music clips like these now packaged in Director David Peck’s beautifully mounted series were once solely the mainstay of fan conventions like BeatlesFest. We were thrilled to sit in a hotel ballroom once a year for the chance to glimpse even the most beat to heck 16mm copies of these gems. Unlike some of the slap dash compilations of disparate styles and varying quality you’ll find on the DVD bargain shelves, Reeling In the Years and Eagle Rock serve them up with historical context, fresh interviews, and nice packaging at a “how can you pass it up” price point. The four previous British Invasion titles can be found in a slip cased package which includes a bonus DVD loaded with additional goodies.

Purchase on Amazon.
The Hollies: Look Through Any Window 1963-1975

Flying Purple People Eagle

Deep Purple Phoenix Rising DVD/CD Edition


Eagle Rock Entertainment would like to ensure you have a very Deep Purple summer and to that end have begun a product roll-out that includes Purple Mark I expanded remasters, four remastered live albums and a couple of early David Coverdale solo albums. Along with the reissues Eagle Vision offers something new in the form of a long overdue focus on Purple Mark IV in the form of a DVD/CD documentary set. It’s called “Deep Purple, Phoenix Rising” and features the Coverdale, Hughes, Bolin, Lord and Paice era. It’s a loaded package of goodies and includes the previously unreleased Budokan film from 1975, visually spruced up and 5.1 remixed. I really dig it and tell you exactly why in my review at PiercingMetal.Com.

David Byrne: “Ride, Rise, Roar” on Blu-Ray

photo: Copyright Ken Pierce 2009


David Byrne
Ride, Rise, Roar

Eagle Vision Blu-Ray DVD

Byrne, Baby, Byrne

David Byrne has continuously expanded his creative horizons. He has taken turns as film director, author, visual artist, record label head, and even urban cycling advocate since first being introduced to the world as the “Bowery Bowie” front man of the punk-ish boho band Talking Heads. This Blu-Ray DVD finds him back in the musical mix.

What It is…

“Ride, Rise, Roar” is a documentary of the 2008/2009 tour which supported the Byrne and Eno album “Everything That Happens Will Happen Today” and was captured at several shows over its course. For this outing Byrne chose to augment his stage band with a dance troupe. So, while a rock concert on the surface; the show also plays out as a modern dance theater experience. Hiring several choreographers whose work he was familiar with Byrne had them organically build movement into the experience. This film encompasses a broad look at the show from inception to stage.

Fans of Byrne will enjoy a look at the process as tour numbers come together in rehearsal and I’m happy to see the behind-the-scenes work integrated into the film rather than banished to DVD extra features. After-all you can’t work with Brian Eno unless the journey is as important as the destination. Practice segments and interviews with collaborators are presented in black and white to juxtapose them with polished performances and footage is often intercut into a single song piece. It’s fun to see rehearsal room shots of a T-shirted Byrne, the cast and choreographer in montage with the finished number on stage.

Byrne is not shy to perform material going all the way back to his earliest days, including Talking Heads milestones “Life During Wartime” “I Zimbra”, and “Once in a Lifetime”. I think many would agree that the definitive live performances of these songs were captured in Jonathan Demme’s “Stop Making Sense”, but that was a long time ago and the material has evolved enough to make “Ride, Rise and Roar” a worthwhile experience. Byrne and company are the essence of cool in white head to toe, including a white Fender Stratocaster guitar. The “big suit” may be in storage but you haven’t lived until you see David and the band perform “Burning Down the House” in white tutu’s. If some of this sounds like loopy pretense it is saved from art school overload by Byrne’s delivery which lets honesty and good humor triumph over artifice. He’s having a great time, you want to indulge him.

Having seen one of the show’s on this tour I can say that the dance movements were designed to make a statement based on the audience’s view of one edge of the proscenium arch to the other. Unfortunately cinematic deconstruction of the set into one, two and three shots, and particularly side shots, often blunts the show’s kinetic power and circumvents the choreographer’s original intent. Though it is the antithesis of modern quick cut film-making more static shots of the entire stage tableau would have better represented the performances.

SkeletonPete says…

“The hits” will please the general audience but it’s the newer material comes off really special on stage. Being reintroduced to tunes that got by me when the Byrne/Eno album was released (“Life Is Long” and “One Fine Day”), with live interpretations which I prefer, makes the DVD well worth owning.

My personal reservations about how theater is interpreted by film aside I found “Ride, Rise, Roar” to be a very enjoyable and interesting look into David Byrne’s brain and the methodology of his collaborators.

Epilogue

It’s hard to believe it’s been two years since David Bryne’s performance at Brooklyn’s Prospect Park Bandshell on opening night of that year’s Celebrate Brooklyn concert series. It was a great night with a really nice crowd of friendly folks who shared a chat, a love of music, and even some wine (in a box!) Kenny Pierce was there too and his selection of photos from our vantage point is on view at his blog.