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75 of 79 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Live At The Academy Of Music 1971"
This box set is essential for any fan of The Band.

It collects the released performances from "Rock Of Ages" 1972 album and 2001 reissue on Discs 1 & 2. These are the same takes from those titles, but newly remixed by Robbie Robertson and Bob Clearmountain. For the original mix of "Rock Of Ages", Mobile Fidelity's SACD is the absolute best option. But this...
Published 9 months ago by Adam2

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72 of 79 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Reviewing the product, not the music
i don't like to write user reviews of music on here, it's all subjective. This is about the box set. It's The Band, I love it. However if you have the Rock Of Ages album, you have most of what's on here.

Disc 1 & 2 is the show sequenced from performances on 12/28/71 to 12/31/71 with one previously unreleased track.

Disc 3 & 4 is the New Year's Eve...
Published 9 months ago by Amazon Customer


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75 of 79 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Live At The Academy Of Music 1971", September 18, 2013
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This review is from: Live at the Academy Of Music 1971 [4CD/1DVD] (Audio CD)
This box set is essential for any fan of The Band.

It collects the released performances from "Rock Of Ages" 1972 album and 2001 reissue on Discs 1 & 2. These are the same takes from those titles, but newly remixed by Robbie Robertson and Bob Clearmountain. For the original mix of "Rock Of Ages", Mobile Fidelity's SACD is the absolute best option. But this box set's remixes offer much improved sound over the original mix, as great as it was. The difference in sound is comparable to the original "Last Waltz" issue vs. the remixed 2002 box set. So basically, the soundstage is way wider and spread out, the instruments are all clearer and more dynamic, and the Clearmountain mixes attempt to present the takes in the best sound quality updated technology can provide.

The complete New Year's Eve show, as mixed by Sebastian Robertson, is on Discs 3 & 4. This mix is different from Clearmountain's: instead of a super polished mix, the sound is raw, immediate and without any unneccesary tricks or frills. Clear and well mixed vocals, thick and supple drums/bass, piano and guitar left/right, and organ left and center. It is a wonderful mix to hear this show like you're in the audience and the soundmen are doing a fantastic job. Also note that this complete New Year's Eve show does repeat some songs from the first two discs. Those takes were selected as the "best" of the run, and of course they would also appear in their proper place in the original show. BUT, contrary to what many people are thinking, the New Year's Eve show only has 7 repeated/previously released tracks (not including Dylan).

Both mixes have a more natural, balanced mix of the horn section, which was a common complaint from some over the years. The hardcover book fits perfectly with A Musical History (W/DVD), featuring a beautiful collection of photos throughout 48 pages. The DVD contains footage of two tracks: "King Harvest (Has Surely Come)" and "The W.S. Walcott Medicine Show". The video of "Don't Do It" is found on MUSICAL HISTORY, for a total of 3 video tracks from these shows. All of these elements combine to make this an absolutely essential release for true fans of THE BAND!
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72 of 79 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Reviewing the product, not the music, September 18, 2013
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This review is from: Live at the Academy Of Music 1971 [4CD/1DVD] (Audio CD)
i don't like to write user reviews of music on here, it's all subjective. This is about the box set. It's The Band, I love it. However if you have the Rock Of Ages album, you have most of what's on here.

Disc 1 & 2 is the show sequenced from performances on 12/28/71 to 12/31/71 with one previously unreleased track.

Disc 3 & 4 is the New Year's Eve show in it's entirety and labeled the soundboard mix. It's very close to the same setlist as the first two discs. Th e sound is identical to the first two discs.

Disc 5 is what originally prompted me to buy the set. It is a DVD in 5.1 sound of the NYE performance. I thought I was getting a video performance. I guess I didn't read the details well enough. It is indeed the show in 5.1 and it sounds spectacular but there is no video just a photo montage.

And that brings us to the book. The book has some nice photos and text but half is actually just the place holders for the discs.

At a price point of $80+ I think I was expecting a little more. More variety and some video. Had this been priced at about $50, i would say absolutely get it. But unless you're a completist, I would pass on this and get Rock Of Ages.
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars This is OK, but don't throw away your Rock of Ages discs..., October 13, 2013
This review is from: Live at the Academy Of Music 1971 [4CD/1DVD] (Audio CD)
This is my review of the 4 CD + 1 DVD edition...

DISCS 1 + 2: the first two discs comprise the very same Rock of Ages tracks released on the 2001 2CD edition (plus "Strawberry Wine" and "Smoke Signal" but minus "Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever"), culled form 4 different nights (December 28th-31st), with different running order and a brand new mix.
The new Bob Clearmountain mix sounds great inasmuch it vastly enhances the performances of the five members of The Band. Their playing is allowed to truly stand out and is given new depth and detail. This is quite exciting, but on the other hand, the horn section is pushed in the background and mixed very low. On many tracks you'll have to strain your ears to catch the harmonies, the counterpoints and the obbligatos played by the horns, and in my opinion this is a wrong move because Allen Toussaint's arrangements were superb. My question is: since the whole point of those 1971 concerts was to play and record with a horn section, experimenting with Touissant's arrangements and some of the world's greatest horn players, why now mix it so low? Beats me. This is where, in my opinion, the Rock of Ages 2001 edition still sounds superior.

DISCS 3 + 4: a "soundboard mix" of the whole New Year's Eve concert. 11 of these performances are the same performances included in Rock of Ages and in the first 2 CDs of this set. There are 16 previously unreleased performances (same songs, though).
This is a very basic mix, a bit flat and spiritless if I may say so, with vocals up-front and the instruments a bit jumbled together. Robertson & son (who apparently did the mix) have been quoted saying that this soundboard mix sounds like "a great bootleg". Right. But who needs a bootleg when 2 different professional multitrack mixes from these concerts are already available?
Discs 3 & 4 are a curio which I don't see myself playing a lot in the future, honest.

THE DVD: mostly an audio DVD with the same performances on discs 1+2, presented with 5.1 surround sound. There are also two filmed performances of King Harvest and W.S. Walcott, apparently the only existing footage from those nights.
-
In a nutshell:
Discs 1+2 sound great but the horns are mixed very low, so in that respect the 2001 edition of Rock of Ages is still indispensable, possibly better if you liked the horn arrangements.
Discs 3+4 sound ok but are a rather nondescript addition.
DVD: if you care for surround sound you'll love this. Otherwise, you might as well go for the cheaper 2CD edition of this release, which discards the soundboard mix and the DVD and presents only the new Bob Clearmountain mix, which in my opinion (even with the reservations above) is the only thing of some interest here.
I'd give this set 3 and a half stars...
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Remix Loses The Horns, September 21, 2013
This review is from: Live at the Academy Of Music 1971 [4CD/1DVD] (Audio CD)
Well. The new mix is definitely different. There are things that I like about it and things that I do not. I don't think that it will replace the original mix for me. Whether it gains a place side by side remains to be seen.

What I like: It recaptures that dull, wooden, thump kind of sound that characterized The Band's first two albums. It also brings up and separates out the instrumental contributions , and especially, the vocals of The Band. This aspect is really, really good.

What I don't like: The remixing of the horns. The horns are mixed down so that they are much less prominent. If that was the only way that the horns were remixed, that may or may not have been OK with me. The problem is that the horns themselves have been so remixed that the power and majestic harmonies of the horns are gone. At times the horns are almost absent. Many of your favorite horn passages, if you like the horns, will be virtually unrecognizable. Others will be completely inaudible. The horns on the original LP version of Rag Mama Rag are one the highlights of the LP for me. On this remixed version the horns are virtually unrecognizable. Same with Across The Great Divide.
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55 of 68 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars You've got to be a hard core fan, September 17, 2013
By 
Jack Valancy (Cleveland Heights, Ohio USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Live at the Academy Of Music 1971 [4CD/1DVD] (Audio CD)
Revised 9/22/2013
Thanks for comments to my original review, which I wrote on the day this product was released. Upon further listening, I agree with Jennifer C: The new sound mixes are quite good. I also enjoy hearing the horn section work thru the arrangements. Altogether more spontaneous & alive than their later, more polished performances of the tunes. Jerry S was right to chide me: I was too harsh in my original review & have since boosted my rating to 3 stars.

- - - - Original review below. - - -
Consider this product Rock of Ages, the Director's Cut. I've been a pretty hard core fan of The Band since Big Pink, playing the early vinyl and latter releases regularly for 40+ years. I strongly favor their earlier work, and was hoping for good concert performances. I should have read the product description more carefully. As other reviewers note, 39 of 56 CD tracks are previously released material, with only 17 new audio tracks. The DVD contains 25 AUDIO tracks in 5.1 surround sound accompanied by a slide show with a limited number of photos, plus grainy film clips of just 2 unreleased performances. The book is about 25 pages of concert & production photos & memorabilia, with liner notes by Robbie Robertson, Alan Toussaint & Jim James. Ironically, tucked in the front cover is a facsimile of Ralph J. Gleason's Rolling Stone review of Rock of Ages (October 12, 1972).

You've got to be more hard core than me to consider this product a value. I was carried away by the prospect of unreleased audio and film performances, but about $4/song is too high for me. The Band was great in its prime, but there's only so much ore in the mine, Robbie.

As for the music, you can get 70% of the performances for 20% of the price of this product on the Rock of Ages CDs.Rock Of Ages and you can buy the remaining unreleased tracks for $1.29 each, such as Strawberry Wine (Live At The Academy Of Music / 1971). Learn from my mistake!

I recommend the Mobile Fidelity vinyl reissues of The Band Band and Stage Fright, as well as other early albums, Watkins Glen Live At Watkins Glen and, of course, The Last Waltz The Last Waltz. Note that each album may be available in various versions. Also, Classic Albums: The Band is a decent documentary (available on Netflix). Ain't in It For My Health: A Film About Levon Helm is excellent ([...]
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One of the best live albums of all time. . ., September 17, 2013
This review is from: Live at the Academy Of Music 1971 [4CD/1DVD] (Audio CD)
. . . was Rock of Ages, and the two CD disk set previously released gave us nearly everything which wouldn't fit on the double LP in 1972. Should you buy this? If you have the two disk version of Rock Of Ages you may not be getting much new here other than a disc of alternates on disk 3. The forth disc on the deluxe version is a DVD because it is 5.1 surround sound, not because it is a movie. The tracks chosen for Rock of Ages were what someone (Robbie?) felt were the best performances. I expect the reason the sequence is different here is that it is closer to the actual concerts. I bought the 2 disk version which is in one sense a rehash of the two disk set previously mentioned which came out a decade ago. All the performances are the same except the inclusion of Strawberry Wine. What is different is the mastering- seems the horns are reduced in the mix so the Band is a bit clearer. Sound is brighter and more dynamic. These changes are either a good thing or bad considering your preference. I happened to love the way the horns blended in the early version. The sequencing is closer to the actual concerts than Rock Of Ages and the songs don't fade out. The overall feeling is it puts you there at the concert, which is what I want from a live disk. I was disappointed they skipped Robbie's intro where he introduces the horn section! My guess is for this version, Robbie wants us to celebrate a great Band concert and not be distracted by the horns. For people who don't have Rock of Ages or just have the 1 disc CD check out the 2 disk option of this new release for less than $20. Great music and amazing performances. If you do have the older package and want to hear the concert differently the two disc version is worth it, but remember it is the same performances with different sound.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great purchase. Do your HW before buying!, September 23, 2013
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This review is from: Live at the Academy Of Music 1971 [4CD/1DVD] (Audio CD)
I bought this because I wanted the DVD Audio, the video clips, and the complete soundboard of the New Year's Eve show.

I knew before I preordered it in August that it was DVD audio and not a DVD of the show, save for the two clips. It was made pretty clear, at least in my eyes, in every article I read about the set, including this site. Do your HW before buying so you know what you're getting!

That aside, the first two discs (essentially the original Rock of Ages, save for a different order and extra unreleased track) sound INCREDIBLE on the reissue. Everything is so much clearer. The vocals cut right through the mix, and the drums don't sound as muddled as they used to. Everything is just crisp and tight and clear and it's definitely worth getting even the 2 disc version if you don't spring for the box set. I'm noticing aspects of songs that I just plain could not hear on older Rock of Ages releases.

I haven't had a chance to listen to the DVD audio yet, but I am looking forward to doing so as I am sure it will be a good listen. I did watch the video clips though, and they are a cool find, fun watching the boys do their thing. I, like most people, wish the entire show was available and part of the set, but it's not, and I knew that before I bought it.

The soundboard recording is neat too, listening to some banter in between songs and whatnot. Has a little bit of a different feel than the first 2 discs, not as polished, but that's what they were going for from what I've read. Still sounds fantastic.

Overall, if you're a serious fan, get it, regardless of the fact that the DVD is DVD audio and not the concert, it's a good investment. The Sound quality on the first 2 discs is outstanding, the soundboard recording sounds great, and the DVD audio will sound great as well I'm sure. The video clips are a bonus.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not a rip-off of any kind., October 6, 2013
By 
Pete S (Webster, Ma. USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Live at the Academy Of Music 1971 [4CD/1DVD] (Audio CD)
This is a terrific, remixed and expanded version of The Band's wonderful "Rock of Ages." Since I completely read the description on here and (elsewhere) of exactly what I was getting in this set, there was absolutely NO rip-off of any kind. As far as the price goes, yes it is expensive as are most of these sets, but since no one put a gun to my head and made me buy it, I'm not going to complain about it. I am glad that I bought it.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Sounds!, September 23, 2013
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This review is from: Live at the Academy Of Music 1971 [4CD/1DVD] (Audio CD)
Finally, we can hear the 'Rock of Ages' concerts clearly after the audio clean up. Rock of Ages always sounded 'muddy' on all of my audio equipment...even the remastered set. Better yet, one doesn't have to strain to hear Garth Hudson's Lowrey organ. One thing has always puzzled me is why the slower tempos on these tracks?
Ah, those soundboard mixes! This includes another live version of 'Get up Jake' a lesser known tune but a long time favorite plus 'Smoke signal' from the Cahoots album. Both sound great and are nearly worth the price of the box set.
The packaging may be a bit excessive but since it is 'The Band' all is forgiven. I've read that this is a limited edition package, so Band fans should grab this box set quickly.
Lastly, The Band fans should rush to buy 'Another Self Portrait' by Bob Dylan. This set includes Bob Dylan & The Band at the 'Isle of Wight' concert from 1969. The sound here is awesome and shows The Band's greatness behind Dylan.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enough already..., September 17, 2013
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This review is from: Live at the Academy Of Music 1971 [4CD/1DVD] (Audio CD)
First things first. The music is incredible. Truly one of the best live recordings out there and a long time favorite. The New Years Eve discs are outstanding with a very cool sound. Haven't gotten to the DVD yet (never been a big fan of audio DVD as my stereo is nowhere near my television) Now the gripe. What is it with the Band and books accompanying their CD's? I know Robbie Robertson holds himself and the legacy of the band in very high regard but this is too much. The book and extravagant packaging (1 disc each on a 12x12 space... really?) only serve to jack up the price and get away from the original point- THE MUSIC! So... I will watch/listen (hell, I don't know what) to the DVD once, flip through the book maybe twice and listen to the music a bunch. Five Stars for the music... One Star for the pompous delivery.
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Live at the Academy Of Music 1971 [4CD/1DVD]
Live at the Academy Of Music 1971 [4CD/1DVD] by The Band (Audio CD - 2013)
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