Live At The Academy Of Music 1971 [4 CD/DVD Combo] Import
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Live At The Academy Of Music 1971
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During the final week of 1971, The Band played four legendary concerts at New York City's Academy Of Music, ushering in the New Year with electrifying performances, including new horn arrangements by Allen Toussaint and a surprise guest appearance by Bob Dylan for a New Year's Eve encore. Select highlights from the concerts were compiled for The Band's classic 1972 double LP, Rock Of Ages, which peaked at No. 6 on the Billboard 200 and remains a core album in the trailblazing group's storied Capitol Records catalog.
For the first time, all four of the concerts' multi-track recordings have been revisited for 'Live At The Academy Of Music 1971,' a new 4CD+DVD collection. The expansive new collection features new stereo and 5.1 Surround mixes, including 19 previously unreleased performances and newly discovered footage of two songs filmed by Howard Alk and Murray Lerner. 'Live At The Academy Of Music 1971' takes a deep dive into The Band's historic shows for a definitive document of the pioneering group's stage prowess at the apex of their career.
Live At The Academy Of Music 1971 is presented in a deluxe, 48-page hardbound book with previously unseen photos, a reproduction of Rolling Stone's original Rock Of Ages review by magazine co-founder Ralph J. Gleason, an essay by The Band's Robbie Robertson, and appreciations of The Band and the set's recordings by Mumford & Sons and Jim James of My Morning Jacket. The collection's first two discs feature performances of every song played over the course of the four concerts, and the New Year's Eve soundboard mix on discs 3 and 4 puts the listener in the room for that entire legendary night: Uncut, unedited, taken straight from the master recordings and presented in full for the first time. The set's DVD presents the tracks from discs 1 and 2 in 5.1 Surround, plus Alk and Lerner's filmed performances of 'King Harvest (Has Surely Come)' and 'The W.S. Walcott Medicine Show.'
The stereo mixes for the first two discs and the DVD's 5.1 Surround mix were done by Bob Clearmountain, with the stereo mixes for discs 3 and 4 helmed by Sebastian Robertson and Jon Castelli, assisted by Ryan Nasci. The collection was mastered by Patricia Sullivan at Bernie Grundman Mastering. The concerts were originally recorded by Phil Ramone with Mark Harman.
Additional Disc Information: (Disc 3) New Year's Eve At The Academy Of Music 1971 (The Soundboard Mix)/(Disc 4) New Year's Eve At The Academy Of Music 1971 (The Soundboard Mix)/(Disc 5) [DVD] Live At The Academy Of Music 1971 in 5.1 Surround Sound plus archival film clips of two previously unissued performances from December 30, 1971.
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Top Customer Reviews
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!
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.
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...
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Discs 3 & 4 are Soundboard recordings from New Years Eve of the run. Average sound quality at best.Read more