Live At Royal Albert Hall By Heart

May 8, 2017

Heart is a Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Band and Ann Wilson has one of the best voices in rock and roll. As the old saying goes; “she could sing the phone book and make it listenable.” Any Heart release, and especially a live album, that features her voice has a lot going for it.

Heart’s decision to perform at the legendary Royal Albert Hall with the Royal Philharmonic orchestra was a sound one. It was a new way to present their music, which for a band four decades into their career is interesting. I wish the orchestra could have been a little more involved in the overall creation of the sound, but all in all they do add so extra layers and textures to the material.

They mostly take the safe route in the selection of material, combining many of their well-known classics with some newer material.

Songs such as “What About Love,” “These Dreams,” and “Alone” fit the approach of The Royal Philharmonic well. The all have an atmospheric quality to them and Wilson’s voice soars above the music.

The hard rock tracks such as “Magic Man,” “Barracuda,” “Crazy On You,” “Dreamboat Annie,” and “Kick It Out” are more challenging for combining the rock group sound with the orchestra. They may not be as consistently excellent but they are interesting as they present they songs in an unique way,

I have read that the sound of the Blu-ray release is not up to modern standards but to my ear the CD sound is excellent.

Rather than release another straight forward concert album, Heart decided to travel in a different direction. Live At The Royal Albert Hall should be a treat for their fans,


Reunion Concert Ay The Royal Albert Hall (DVD) by The Everly Brothers

October 17, 2010

The Everly Brothers are one of the most successful duos in American music history. From 1957-1964 they placed 36 songs on the American singles charts, including such Number One hits as “Wake Up Little Susie,” “Bird Dog,” “All I Have To Do Is Dream,” and “Cathy’s Clown” along with “Bye Bye Love” and “Problems,” both of which reached Number Two.

They were known for their tight harmonies as Don sang the lower parts and Phil the higher vocals. Many groups cite them as a career influence from The Beatles and the Bee Gees to the Beach Boys and Simon & Garfunkel. They were one of the early inductees into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, having entered in 1986.

As the sixties drew to a close the hits stopped coming and while they would perform together until 1973 their popularity soon waned. From 1973-1983 they went their separate ways and rarely spoke to one another. While their solo careers found moderate success, they faded from the public consciousness especially in the United States.

Their comeback began at the Royal Albert Hall in London on September 23, 1983, when they reunited for their first concert together in over a decade. That concert was released as a two-disc vinyl LP and reignited their career as a duo. That famous performance has now been released as a DVD titled Reunion Concert: Live At The Royal Albert Hall.

This DVD will be a revelation to anyone not familiar with the Everly Brothers. Picking up where they left off ten years before, their voices, at ages 46 and 44, were still able to create the famous harmonies which made them famous.

Their backing band included British guitarist deluxe Albert Lee (who was also the musical director for the concert), pianist Pete Wingfield, plus three members of Cliff Richard’s touring band: drummer Graham Jarvis, bassist Mark Griffiths, and pedal steel guitarist Martin Jenner. Albert Lee, in particular, is one of the underrated guitarists in rock music and his solos on “Bye Bye Love” and “Be-Bop-A Lula” are phenomenal.

Except for “Problems,” all aforementioned songs were part of their 23 song set. Also performed that evening were “Crying In The Rain,” “Cathy’s Clown,” “When Will I Be Loved,” “(‘Til) I Kissed You,” “Lucille,” and a wonderful medley of “Devoted To You/Ebony Eyes/Love Hurts.”

The DVD also contains the documentary “Rock “N” Roll Odyssey,” which presents the complete story of the Everly Brothers through 1983. Artists including Linda Ronstadt, Chet Atkins, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Tom Petty, Brian Setzer, and Kenney Jones contribute to their story.

The Everly Brothers reunion would be permanent and they have performed together ever since. Reunion Concert: Live At The Royal Albert Hall remains the best live document of their storied career.

Article first published as on Blogcritics.org


Live At Royal Albert Hall (DVD) by Michael Bolton

April 25, 2010

Michael Bolton’s place in music history is secure. He has had albums and singles top the American charts and has sold over fifty million CDs and LPs.

Now close to thirty-five years into his career, Michael Bolton is who he is. While he drifts in a soul direction from time to time, he is at heart an adult contemporary, pop performer.

His style, look, and sound have always elicited a strong reaction. He has built up a huge fan base centered on females of all ages who have embraced his balladry and sex appeal for years. On the other hand he has irritated the rock audience as he is far removed from that genre. It all comes down to the fact that if you are a fan, you will enjoy Live At The Royal Albert Hall and if you are not you will want to pass on this.

This DVD finds him in fine vocal form. He also looks good and I was pleasantly surprised that he did not try to look young on this DVD but rather appears and acts age appropriate for an artist who is approaching sixty.

This release is an excellent live retrospective of his career and the nearly two hour performance is an accurate presentation of his present day live act. Most of his hits are present as “Soul Provider,” “To Love Somebody,” “Dock Of The Bay,” “When A Man Loves A Woman,” and “How Am I Supposed To Live Without You” are presented similar to his originals. His trilogy of older great American songbook tunes, “Summertime,” “Fly Me To The Moon,” and “That’s Life,” are all well done. Also seeing the light of day is “Steel Bars” which he co-wrote with Bob Dylan.

Bonus features include the track “Nessun Dorma,” an interview, and a countdown documentary to the concert.

The DVD has good clarity and the concert is framed well. There is also a nice booklet with an array of pictures from the performance.

So all fans of Michael Bolton should mark their calendars asLive At The Royal Albert Hallwill arrive at a store near you on May 4th.