Don’t be confused—this isn’t a concert of Band du Lac that you missed. No, that super group hasn’t performed for some time now. This newly minted Blu-ray release is, rather, a re-release of the 2006 “Band Du Lac: One Night Only Live” DVD. The concert is the same, with the only difference being…well, the obvious Blu-ray upgrade. Extras and content are all the same, so if you own the previous DVD release then you know what to expect. For those that don’t, however, then you’re in for an interesting experience as Eric Clapton, Ringo Starr, Roger Taylor, The Drifters and Katie Melua.
Known as Band du Lac, this stunning supergroup amassed at the historic Wintershall Estate in Surrey, England to play a benefit concert for HASTE – the Heart and Stroke Trust Endeavour. With Procol Harum’s Gary Brooker at the helm as musical director, guitarists Andy Fairweather Low and Mike Rutherford, keyboardist Paul Carrack, and drummer Henry Spinetti kept the crowd captivated through 23 beloved tracks, including “A Whiter Shade Of Pale” and a rousing rendition of “Tequila.” This night was also chockfull of guest appearances, including Eric Clapton (“Lay Down Sally,” “Willie & The Hand Jive,” “Cocaine”), Ringo Starr (“Photograph,” “With A Little Help From My Friends”), The Drifters (“Under The Boardwalk,” “Stand By Me”), Roger Taylor (“I Want To Break Free”) and Katie Melua (“The Closest Thing To Crazy”). Bonus interviews with all key performers are also included.
If you’ve never heard of Band du Lac then don’t feel bad…neither have I. But that doesn’t matter much considering the members that it consists of are people you have undoubtedly heard of. The concert is a bit dated at this point, but I applaud Eagle Rock for digging into their archives and pulling out this little gem. Although it’s not perfect (what gem is?), the overwhelming majority of this concerts run time (over two hours) is really quite entertaining to watch, especially if you don’t overanalyze it.
First let me say that this is a benefit concert and as such it’s a worthy cause just because of that. Now that that’s out of the way…some of these performances are questionable. Clapton and Starr are impeccable as usual, but the remaining participants deliver what can only be called questionable quality. Case in point is the strange mash up of The Drifters members. I don’t know a lot about music history so I did some research before putting pen to paper (or fingers to keys) and found that the version of The Drifters that played this concert is what one would call an unholy union. Through management and musical differences we end up with a strange collaboration of band members in this concert and it just sounds…off. I’m more familiar with their music than I was the band, but now I at least know why their performance bewildered me slightly.
Then there’s Katie Melua who I’ve never heard of but was apparently rather popular in the UK at the time of this concert. Yes she has the looks for the part she plays in the concert, but her voice is a little too…how do I say…weak? It just doesn’t hold up to the song she performs.
But thankfully The Drifters and Melua are just small parts of this concert, as it features twenty-three songs and together their performances account for a mere five (well plus the finale, but that’s everyone then). The full track list is:
02.) Over My Shoulder (feat. Paul Carrack)
03.) Reconsider Baby (feat. Eric Clapton)
04.) Lay Down Sally (feat. Eric Clapton)
05.) How Long (feat. Paul Carrack)
06.) Willie & The Hand Jive (feat. Eric Clapton)
07.) Crawling Up A Hill (feat. Katie Melua)
08.) My Aphrodisiac Is You (feat. Katie Melua)
09.) The Closest Thing To Crazy (feat. Katie Melua)
10.) Lay My Burden Down (feat. Andy Fairweather Low)
11.) Say It’s Not True (feat. Roger Taylor)
12.) These Are The Days Of Our Lives (feat. Roger Taylor)
13.) I Want To Break Free (feat. Roger Taylor)
14.) This World Is Rich (feat. Gary Brooker)
15.) Act Naturally (feat. Ringo Starr)
16.) Photograph (feat. Ringo Starr)
17.) With A Little Help From My Friends (feat. Ringo Starr)
18.) A Whiter Shade Of Pale (feat. Gary Brooker)
19.) Stormy Monday (feat. Eric Clapton & Chris Barber)
20.) Under The Boardwalk (feat. The Drifters)
21.) Stand By Me (feat. The Drifters)
22.) Cocaine (feat. Eric Clapton)
23.) I Can’t Dance (Everyone)
Overall it’s a Recommended concert, although I’ve certainly seen better from past super group collaborations.
Eagle Rock brings the concert to Blu-ray in a standard Elite Blu-ray case. Included is a little booklet with concert information and, as usual, the insert is double sided with a nice splash view of the concert stage. Menus are simple and easy to navigate and overall you’re in for a fine technical performance.
The video arrives in an AVC encoded 1080i transfer and since this concert is still fairly modern (although in technical terms it’s probably ancient as it clocks in at four years old), we get a very clear picture overall. The usual inhibitors of a live concert are here, such as the lightning or smoke/fog making for a sometimes overly smooth picture, but overall the transfer here is really solid with a lot of detail, particularly in close-ups where the clothing and set detail can pop a bit more. As is usual with Eagle Rock releases, the film boasts three audio tracks as well, a DTS-HD MA, DD5.1 and a PCM track. All three have their merits, but it’s the DTS-HD that is the king of the listing here, as it has a nice spread about the room and represents the individual musical styling’s remarkably well.
There’s a single extra that consists of interviews with some of the performers, but it’s overly brief and only worth watching if you’re a fan of the participants. Which you’d have to be otherwise you wouldn’t have even watched the concert…but you get my point. It’s nothing that non-fans will care about, and it’s pretty short anyway so it won’t matter too much if you skip over it or not.
Overall a release that’s worth a Rental at least. Mega-groups are always fun to watch, even if they aren’t pulled off all that well.
A Concert by the Lake arrives on Blu-ray on February 16th.