America: Live in Chicago
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America: Live in Chicago presents a unique and intimate performance from the legendary band that defined the early 70's folk sound and ruled the Top-10 charts with their evocative harmonies and acoustic-styled musicianship. The memorable 20-song set includes greatest hits as well as rare live versions of "Head and Heart", "Till the Sun Comes Up Again" and "The Last Unicorn" – plus a special on-stage appearance by Christopher Cross on the song "Lonely People." Song List: Riverside, Ventura Highway, You Can Do Magic, Don’t Cross the River, Daisy Jane, The Last Unicorn, I Need You, Head And Heart, Till The Sun Comes Up Again, Tin Man, Muskrat Candlelight, The Border, Woman Tonight, Only In Your Heart, California Dreamin’, Lonely People (with Christopher Cross), Sandman, Sister Golden Hair, All My Life, A Horse With No Name
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Live concerts on Blu-ray have to be one of the most beneficial recipients for this newest of high definition home entertainment formats. Visually stunning 1080i/p resolution with a broad color space utilizing uncompressed lossless audio codec's (in this case: 5.1 DTS HD Master Audio) comes closest to the ultimate goal of replicating live performances within the comfort of one's own home theater. Potential though, is always one thing with the end result at times far different than expected as many of us have experienced on the multitude of concert or film titles in our collections.
Visually, America: Live in Chicago is typical of the staged performances found on the majority of Soundstage's productions. Bright primary colors wash typically sparse stage backgrounds with well lit accurate flesh tones and the expected sharpness on all close-ups. Cuts and dissolves are mostly appropriate for the rhythm of the songs being performed as one would expect from veteran Soundstage Director Joe Thomas.
Sonically though, it took just moments into the first track (Riverside) when Gary Beckley began his individual guitar riff that I realized this latest addition to my ever growing collection of Blu-ray concert titles would be in that small group that actually delivers on the promise of sonic clarity and one I now consider as a reference on how a proper audio mix should be produced. Unlike so many recordings where one hears nothing more than a "wall of sound," on America: Live in Chicago, each instrument from drums to piano to harmonica to guitars to vocals are heard distinct from each other in proper proportions. Solid bass, clean mid range vocals, crisp plunks across guitar strings. It's all here to be heard and enjoyed as nothing is more disconnecting than watching a drummer, bass guitar player, a horn section, etc. all very hard at work yet the fruits of their efforts are nowhere to be heard in the resulting mix.
They really got this one right which when combined with America's smooth harmonies results in a performance I can leave on and enjoy repeatedly whether I'm watching or using as background during other activities. Song after song, the consistency was exceptional in bringing out the very best from each participant in the group. For little more than what iTunes may charge to download a single album using compression (AAC; MP3), concert titles on Blu-rays are truly exceptional values with America: Live in Chicago one I highly recommend to demonstrate the clarity and capability of your own home theater's audio system.
Note: Rear cover indicates the Blu-ray disc contains "Bonus Interview with Gerry Beckley and Dewey Bunnell" but none are listed in the title program's menu. Most likely a manufacturing error during disc authoring or in the design for the rear cover. Certainly nice to have but doesn't detract from the overall content.
Playing this on a 210" HD projector system so if there are any uglies,, OHH I will see them. Sound system- Klipsch.
Needless to say after watching it from netflix,, I ordered it for my collection. I find myself several times a week, pulling several concerts to play cuts, usually don't just sit and listen to one entire concert but do a mix. This one is in every one of my mixes,,, and I really can't explain why. But if I'm looking for some soft music, like Return to Forever: Returns - Live at Montreux "AL's SOLO" (note: if you do not know this dvd- DIE!), anyway, I can find a number of songs that just blend into this, as well as if I want to pick up the tempo. I think what is important to us all is the question being,,,, will we ever pull it out again? I can tell you that not only will you, but it just may be the best $15 bucks you spend on blue ray concerts. It is SOUNDSTAGE- so know this going in, like the Soundstage: Michael McDonald Live blue ray (own- LOVE). Seems somewhat set up like others have commented- BUT- REALLY? I bought the concert for the artist, to watch the band! NOT to listen to or have cameras pulled away to spend so much time on the audience doing their screaming bits/etc.
Video- you know the numbers so let's talk about the REAL picture- CLEAN, very vivid colors, great stage setup, band is set up nicely on stage for minimal camera adjustments from other angles. Details- geeee, I can see every scratch on their guitars, and those little "ity bity" labels on the mics,, top one says their using shure and the bottom one says model 2372. Excellent job and stage setting of the colors/ monitors. Changing shot angles offers excellent views of the artist when it needs it. The blacks are just amazing with the guitar straps just popping from the black suits with such clarity. I enjoy the small stages and this is more personal preference. Do I have big stage- yes- Simply Red, and others.
Sound- Even tough it is TRUE hd 5.1, it just seemed to be missing something here when fist played, so I placed my yama rx-v863 in the 7.1 "enhanced" setting and this was it!I can't explain it and this just clicked to a whole other level. Maybe you found this on others? The metal strings are crisp and notable. No washing out from others, so great definition. No changes to volume except to maybe bring more life to the more "rock" songs (mu preference) that need further volume to bring them into perspective.
Overall flow- the concert starts with a great opening and they just continue to build on this- THUS, making it hard to just play one song. Bringing in their special guests works timely and very enjoyable. And just having a good time! Reminds me of the opening number of EWF/ chicago at the greek (blue ray),,, it just moves into you! Long concert so it feels like money well spent.
You will be playing this one over and over- well worth the entrance fee!
So after a few years thought I would try once more. Bought this one for my wife, and after watching it thought "Finally, a high
quality DVD concert tape! It was excellent! Much more like what we had seen in person. If you are an America Fan and
can't always get out to see them when they tour, this is a very good remedy!