Classic concerts from some of rock’s greatest acts are getting the high-def treatment this summer! Eagle Rock Entertainment will release The Shadows: The Final Tour on June 15, followed by Emerson, Lake & Palmer: Live at Montreux 1997 and The Moody Blues: Threshold of a Dream – Live at the Isle of Wight Festival. While Eagle Rock continuing to release old concerts on the Blu-ray format is nothing new for the company, the choices are definitely quite varied as the concerts span quite a few decades this time around. Fans of classic rock will no doubt find this to be a highly enjoyable wave.
The Moody Blues had a dominating hold in 1970, both creatively and commercially. It was in this year, just after the release of their album A Question of Balance, that they joined acts like The Who, The Doors, and Jimi Hendrix for the now historic Isle of Wight Festival. Available for the first time on Blu-ray, Threshold of a Dream: Live at the Isle of Wight Festival was originally released on standard format in May 2009. Capturing a special moment in time, this 80-minute Murray Lerner-directed film showcases treasured cuts like “To Our Children’s Children’s Children,” “Questions,” and “Nights In White Satin.”
It seems the majority of these concerts being released by Eagle Rock lately are all of talent I’ve either never heard of or have only heard in passing. While “The Moody Blues” is definitely a name that you know just from their lengthy history in the classic rock world, if you’re like me chances are you’ve only heard a few of their songs in passing. This isn’t a huge deal as I enjoy discovering different music (new or old, doesn’t matter), but trying to actually review these concerts is really just flat-out impossible. I’ve no idea if this is the band at their height or if I shouldn’t be judging them based solely on the performances shown here…although this is a kind of documentary/concert mixture, so it’s not identical to past Eagle Rock concert releases.
The concert/documentary itself lasts a mere seventy-nine minutes, so there isn’t a lot of dwell time on the concert itself. There is plenty of footage of interviews with the band members (this is recently recorded, so it looks decidedly a lot better than the concert itself which is pushing 40 years at this point) that precedes this scan less-than-an-hour outing on the stage. It’s a nice little history lesson as well as a look back in time, but quite honestly I had no idea what I was watching half the time—it’s definitely a much more fan-focused outing. It’s hard to get into a film when you care and know nothing about its subject matter.
The concert itself is, as mentioned previously, short but includes a decent track listing which includes:
“Never Comes the Day”
“Tortoise and the Hare”
“Nights in White Satin”
“Legend of a Mind”
Encore: “Ride My See Saw”
Overall a Recommended release for fans, but if you’re like me then you can probably just skip it. While a lot of concerts I can get into just going into them cold, this wasn’t one of them. It’s definitely a more fan-oriented production.
Rock Entertainment brings The Moody Blues – Threshold of a Dream to Blu-ray in a standard Elite Blu-ray case. A booklet inside contains information and photos from the concert as well as information about the group and this particular production, while the menu system for the disc lays out everything in a nice and tidy fashion. There are sadly zero extras, however.
The video arrives in an AVC encoded 1080i transfer and since the interview footage is still fairly modern, we get a very clear picture overall. The concert itself is a bit of a more difficult affair to grade properly; it’s definitely dated (obviously) but it has a surprising amount of detail to be honest. It was definitely cool to see such dated footage as cleaned up as this and it’s kind of a time capsule situation more than anything (unless, again, you’re a fan). Crowd shots are surprisingly the cleanest, with the stage moments a bit hazier. Not going to knock on the transfer too much, however—live footage that’s forty years old and still manages to look this good is a rarity. The only truly “bad” looking bit of visuals that the disc gives is a brief segment that was filmed in standard definition, but it doesn’t last that long. 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.
Overall a Recommended release for fans. Newcomers will want to stick with a rental.
The Moody Blues – Threshold of a Dream arrives on Blu-ray on June 21st.