Musculoskeletal Movie Reviews
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-The obvious pro about this compilation is simple - it's the famous artists who got together to make this concert possible. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, former-ELO frontman Jeff Lynne, Billy Preson, Eric Clapton, George's old Beatles comrades Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, George's son Dhani, and a number of others have all gathered together to pay tribute to their fallen friend.
-Some of these performances are nothing short of excellent. The highlights of the show, in my opinion, are the following - A version of My Sweet Lord featuring Billy Preston on lead vocals (this guy can sing just as well as he can play the piano), A version of the highly-underrated I Need You by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, A version of the Ringo Starr/George Harrison collaboration song Photograph sang by Ringo, a killer take on the Traveling Wilburys classic Handle With Care, and a version of While My Guitar Gently Weeps featuring Eric Clapton on lead vocals (for those of you who don't know, Clapton played the guitar solo on the original 1968 version of the song - though the "white album" liner notes don't credit him.)
-A number of lesser-known artists get a chance to shine in this concert - Proof that George was an inspiration to so many people.
-I like Ringo's version of Honey Don't, but it's out of place here since it's not a George Harrison song.
-Too many instances of forgotten lyrics. The versions of While My Guitar Gently Weeps and Here Comes The Sun featured here both feature at least one forgotten lyric. Fortuately, this will be unrecognizable to the casual Harrison fan. Likewise, this ISN'T a big enough problem to dock the release's score.
-I was really hoping for Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, and Dhani Harrison to have larger roles.
-If you were a fan of Harrison, this is an excellent tribute to him and his music. Normally tribute concerts are very hit and miss, but this one is excellent through and through. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED TO ANY FAN OF HARRISON.
SIDE NOTE: You'll find this in your local store's George Harrison section, not the Various Artists section.
Overall I really enjoyed this DVD...it would have been nice for Joe Brown (ukelele player) to cover some of George's Brainwashed Uke stuff...or even have Dhani sing a song.
This production is a success on many levels. It is an excellent concert featuring several of rock's legends. It is brilliantly produced, and is somewhat reminiscent of The Concert for Bangladesh. The spiritual/musical current of the sixties and seventies is brilliantly preserved with 21st century technology and precision.
This gathering of friends is NOT one of mourning, but rather, it is a celebration of the life, music, and spirit of George Harrison.
George Harrison lives on through his friends, his family, his fans, his music, and most importantly, his spirit!
GEORGE, MAY YOU FIND PEACE AT THE LOTUS FEET OF LORD KRISHNA.
The selection of songs are really lovely and Crawford's performance is absolutely splendid. What makes this 60-minute video so special, however, are his many little anecdotes and song introductions. With most concert videos that I've seen, the artists perform one song after another with only a brief word of welcome at the start, a brief introduction if there's a special guest, and a brief thank you at the end. By contrast, Crawford talks almost as much as he sings, thereby proving himself (at least in my opinion) to be not only a consummate vocalist but a very capable entertainer all around. The result is a thoroughly entertaining performance that reaches its conclusion far too quickly.
In short, I highly recommend this video to fans of Michael Crawford. For those interested, he also has a very entertaining autobiography entitled Parcel Arrived Safely: Tied With String. Finally, I must just mention that those who are only familiar (as was I) with this suave, confident entertainer for his singing ability may be interested in checking out the video boxed set of Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em (a British series in which he performed all his own daring and often dangerous stunts!). The juxtaposition of the classy, internationally-famous entertainer seen here with the gawky, accident-prone idiot he portrays in that series not only underscores even further his incredible versatility and ability as an entertainer, but it is sure to leave you shaking your head in amazement.
Recorded live at the San Diego Open Air Theatre, this DVD gives you a great selection of Sade's classic hits. No flashy stages or explosions here. The subtle lighting combined with Sade's breathy voice invokes the intimate feel of a jazz nightclub. The director does a great job of showcasing the various band members, but keeps the focus primarily on Sade throughout the show. The sound quality is excellent (especially considering it was recorded ten years ago) and this DVD edition doesn't have the lighting problems and graininess the VHS owners were complaining about.
Even if you own all her albums, you'll want this live performance to add to your collection. Watch it with someone you love.
The DVD opens with press conference footage of George Harrison announcing his participation in the Concert for Bangladesh. It moves swiftly to Harrison introducing Ravi Shankar and his accompanying musicians, Usted Aliakbar Khan, Alla Rakah and Kamala Chakravarty. Harrison asks the rock-and-roll oriented audience members for their patience during the Indian music session of the program.
George introduces Ravi Shankar and the Indian musicians. Shankar discusses the starvation problem inn Bangladesh and also asks for the patience of the audience during the Indian music set. When the audience applauds after the musicians tune their instruments, Ravi quips. "If you appreciate the tuning so much, I hope you will enjoy the playing more." His comment seems to endear the audience, who are clearly waiting to rock out with two former Beatles and other rock icons.
When George Harrison first introduced 'his' Indian music to us in the 1960s, I really tried to appreciate it. A friend and I even went to a Ravi Shankar performance when he appeared in our city. (Coincidentally, it was in the same movie theater where we had seen A Hard Day's Night and Help!). It was a little too much for me those 30-plus years ago. But after learning more about eastern philosophy and embracing meditation as part of my life, I find myself thoroughly enjoying this portion of the DVD. I was even actually disappointed that it wasn't longer!
After the Indian music set, we see a brief backstage glimpse of George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Leon Russell, Phil Spector and Allen Klein.
Onstage, we see the ever intense George Harrison, all in white with his long beard, looking so un-Beatlesque. Ringo Starr is on drums. Eric Clapton is on guitar. Leon Russell is on piano and Billy Preston is on keyboards.
This DVD offers an hour and a half of the best music from this concert. It's refreshing to see straight concert footage, shot documentary style, with none of the MTV-style editing and obscure camera shots. You really can kick back and just enjoy one of the best "supergroups" ever assembled on one stage.
Indian Music - Ravi Shankar
Wah Wah - George Harrison
My Sweet Lord - George Harrison
Awaiting On You All - George Harrison
That's The Way God Planned It - Billy Preston
It Don't Come Easy - Ringo Starr
Beware of Darkness - George Harrison
While My Guitar Gently Weeps - George Harrison
Jumpin' Jack Flash - Leon Russell
Youngblood - Leon Russell
Here Comes The Sun - George Harrison
A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall - Bob Dylan
It Takes a Lot to Laugh/ It take a Train to Cry - Bob Dylan
Blowin' In the Wind - Bob Dylan
Just Like a Woman - Bob Dylan
Something - George Harrison
Bangladesh - George Harrison
George Harrison, guitar and vocals
Ringo Starr, drums and vocals
Jim Keltner, drums
Billy Preston, keyboards and vocals
Leon Russell, piano and vocals
Klaus Voorman, bass
Jesse Ed Davis, guitar
Eric Clapton, guitar
Bob Dylan, guitar and vocals
Badfinger - Pet Ham, Tom Evans, Joey Molland, Mike Gibbons
Hollywood Horn Players, led by Jim Horn
Ravi Shankar, sitar
Usted Aliakbar Khan
Directed by Saul Swimmer
Produced by George Harrison and Allen Klein
Music Recording Produced by Phil Spector and George Harrison
Edited by Howard Lester
Editing Staff: Roger Rodewald, Harvey Bekowsky, Sharon Goldberg
Negative Supervision: Charles Diana
Production Manager: Steve Bono
Photographed by: Sol Negrin, Richard Books, Fred Hoffman, Tohru Nakamura
70mm prints by Film Effects of Hollywood
Film sound mixed by Bob Fin
Title Design by Perri & Smith
Original soundtrack recording available on Apple Records
Released by Apple and 20th Century Fox Film Corporation
Lyric subtitle choices: English and Portuguese
The DVD is in color, although I had to adjust the usual color level settings on my television set to bring up the color - otherwise, it appeared in a sepia tone.
The DVD is a little pricey considering there are no "extras" as we DVD aficionados have come to expect, but hey, it's George Harrison and Ring Starr and I'm a Beatles DVD completist!
That said, you shouldn't only consider buying this DVD cuz of my early memories. You shouldn't only consider it if you're a rabid Bob Dylan fan, like me, because Messer's Harrison and Russell turn out outstanding performances as well. The back backup is pretty good too, Eric and Ringo. This is a DVD you absolutely must own. 5 stars.
Reviewed by Stephanie Sane
About the only negative is that the video is dark at times and many of the shots are from afar.
I first listened to this album in 1985. But haven't heardit it in years. I recently bought the DVD version and boy doe's it bring back memmories. This remastered DTS version is killer on my Klipsch surround. The remastered DTS 5.1 is refreshing.
Neil Young plays acoustic and electric which gives any listerner a wide range of Neil's music. From Sugar Mountain to Kortez this is a must for anyone who wants classic Neil Young at his BEST!!
Taped in London's Royal Festival Hall, this 1998 performance expands on the same song list as the 1997 Carnegie Hall debut captured in her CD Sondheim, Etc.: Bernadette Peters Live at Carnegie Hall. Like that show, the London appearance leans on Stephen Sondheim's remarkable canon, including both the shows Peters herself starred in (Into the Woods and Sunday in the Park with George) and those she wished she did. Indeed, her stage patter toys with the facts and fiction in her career, a refreshing wink at her own putative diva-hood. While she's clearly a thinking fan's diva, she also radiates a rare sweetness and a lush sensuality. --Sam Sutherland
Hearing or seeing Ms. Peters, either live or on tape never ceases to amaze me. This concert was nothing but pure joy. To see an artist of her caliber perform is always high scale entertainment.
Bernadette's interpretation of both music and lyric is one of a kind, and here we get to see it up close. Her interpretation of Sondheim's music is unlike anyone's. It's no wonder why she enjoys performing his work... she does it flawlessly. The definition of a true artist is one who can convey their feelings and emotions to their audience... and Bernadette more than accomplishes it. As I watched her performance, I felt what she did.. happiness, sadness, joy and regret. And overall incredible evening of performance by a great star.
What makes it even more special to know is that the tender loving Bernadette on stage is the REAL Bernadette. I have had the pleasure of meeting her after a few of her shows and concerts and she's as warm off stage as she is on. A true delight.
If you're a fan of musicals, Stephen Sondheim or music sung and interpreted beautifully, buy this DVD! It will be an evening of performance you won't soon forget!
Sweeney Todd evokes a special balance of horror and comedy because injustice, revenge, and cannibalism are the subjects of its grisly humor, balanced with moments of romantic idealism. George Hearn in the title role and Patti LuPone as the enterprising, utterly amoral pie seller Mrs. Lovett are both brilliant, with an excellent supporting cast. Members of the orchestra are occasionally seen behind the action, but frequent, effective close-up shots of the singers generate a dramatic atmosphere. --Joe McLellan
Sweeney; I suffered from that affliction of many fans of
masterworks - my definitive version was the first one I
attended and since it was the production mounted in Sydney
in 1988, I had no recording of it to reprise.
Yes, you yanks, we do stage musicals in Australia.
It was about as different from this production in musical
forces as you can get. However, it shared the absolute
*focus* on tragedy that this production keeps.
I couldn't come at the lauded 1982 recording with my heart,
pleasing enough though the musicality and Grand Guignol shocks were; I couldn't feel the apprehension which the Sydney performances maintained from the first screaming whistle.
Then a couple of months ago, I caught this production on our
public broadcast channel.
It is *the* Show. In every way.
The big band with big operatic voices is a revelation.
The staging with pared down props and action is still the full
And the new judge's stuff adds to the whole.
The camera is so clearly scripted. It is as much a stage tool as the clever ramps.
The shocks are still delivered but they are more from the musicians now.
I am very glad the dvd is in stock at my favourite US store.
It has been played here after dinner every night this week.
If you haven't experienced a Sweeney performance yet,
then make sure you see this one first.
The cast appear to enjoy their outing immensely and for
those who persist in comparing the very professional LuPone
with Lansbury - I consider that LuPone's self-absorbed,
maniacal manipulation of a distracted Sweeney works in this
production where a 'softer' Lansbury would have been
underwhelming. Besides, LuPone's Mrs Lovett is much closer to that of Geraldine Turner in Sydney - and everyone who saw Turner wouldn't allow Lansbury a look-in.
The director of this San Francisco show knew what he was doing.
Technically, the sound on the dvd is clean and clear enough
for my old amplifier to handle and the video is seamless.
The main attraction for me is that both the orchestra and chorus are bigger and better. The difference this makes in our enjoyment of the show is clear as soon as the company launches into the "Prologue." As for the performers I have to admit that I did not know that the title role was originally supposed to have been played by Bryn Terfel, so I was not aware that the majority of principle singers were trained more in opera than musical theater. After all, the recognizable names are those of a pair of Broadway veterans, George Hearn and Patti Lupone, plus a television dramedy star, Neil Patrick Howser, er, I mean Harris. Hearn, of course, knows the part of Sweeney Todd well, and Lupone puts her own stamp on Mrs. Lovett, making the pie shop owner's romantic feelings for the barber more believable. Director Lonny Price calls Harris the definitive Tobias and I would not be inclined to argue the point.
Again, there is more of a sense of realism to the production, and less of the theater of the macabre, and I think this is due to the casting choices rather than to the stripped down performance of the show where there are no sets, but costumes and props. I think that the subtle differences in Hearn's performance is as much a reaction to the cast he is singing with as much as his take on the role two decades later. I can go through the cast of singers and point to the marked differences between these voices and those of the original Broadway cast and find a much greater sense of gravity, from Timothy Nolen as Judge Turpin and Davis Gaines as Anthony Hope to Lisa Vroman as Johanna and Stanford Olsen as Pirelli. This production of "Sweeney Todd" unveils new depths to the story. There seems an invaluable less here and it certainly suggests that having "opera" singers do other pieces of a similar type would bear similar fruit. I know this was done before with "West Side Story" and other Rodgers & Hammerstein shows, but it seems that maybe the music of Sondheim or Andrew Lloyd Webber might be better suited to such attempts than the American musical theater of the 1950s.
As with any taped "stage" performance, one of the advantages is that the camera can get us close enough to see what the expressions on the faces of the characters. Yes, it is somewhat disconcerting to see the orchestra behind the characters, but you forget them after a while. After all, it is singing that you want to hear. That is why it must be added that the only reason to buy "Sweeney Todd in Concert" on VHS instead of DVD is that you do not have a DVD player. However, since this is the 21st century, that should not be a problem. The whole point of a concert is the SOUND and that plays to the strength of the DVD (plus you have three options on the sound to pick the one that best suits your system requirements.
The 37-minute CD offers seven songs performed in the concert (including the two not on the previous CD, "Broken Vow" and "For Always"), plus "O Holy Night." The DVD has excellent picture and sound (PCM stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1, and DTS), interviews, and backstage footage, and the combination with the CD is an excellent value. Groban's fans, of course, will consider it a treasure at any price. --David Horiuchi
But when John Denver hit the stage, he always gave a great performance because he really connected with the audience and it showed. And since this concert was for the Wildlife charity, his performance was close to his heart with personal testimony between some of the songs that drew John to tears.
The stage presence and set-up was excellent and the DVD includes the audience participation by the mostly middle-aged fans. For novice guitar players like myself there is plenty of film of John and the lead guitarist to help discover the magic of how he gets beautiful sound from his instrument. While all his old standards are here, there is plenty of off-the-beaten path material if you haven't watched Denver in concert. My particular favorite is the song written about the Alaska couple that dance after her husband's death. Denver had a unique ability to project great imagery.
Most of his songs that deal with wilderness and the west are here which leaves out two of my favorites, his ode to the astronauts of the Columbia tragedy and his anti-war song with the Russian singer. With that aside, this DVD will always be a great memory of John Denver's career and his passion for the outdoors. I strongly recommend this DVD if you like singer/songwriters of the 70s era.
A week or so after getting my own copy, I came home from work completely stressed out. I put the concert on, and over the course of the next 2 hours I could actually feel the stress melt away. At the end, I felt great. I was responding not only to the great music, but also to the wonderful spirit and great humanity of John Denver.
Some of the songs and interview segments bring tears to the eyes. I found it particulary poignant to listen to him sing the wonderful lyrics to "Poems, Prayers and Promises", while realizing that he is now gone from us. Watch the sheer joy with which he performs "Amazon", which was a new song to me, and has now become one of my favorites. He and the band were really cookin'on this one.
The supporting musicians are especially outstanding. A string quartet, James Burton on guitar and especially Jim Horn on wind instruments added immeasurably to the concert. I am saddened that I never got to see John perform. This concert DVD, however, is the next best thing. I only wish ther were another six or eight songs on it. If you loved John Denver, or even if you only kinda liked him, you will love this disc. It was worth every penny. Long live the music and spirit of John Denver!