Continuing the summer Blu-ray bonanza, Eagle Rock Entertainment, having recently released high-def DVDs from Black Sabbath, The Doors, The Moody Blues, and Emerson, Lake, and Palmer, will release titles from two very different spectrums of the rock universe. On August 24, new concert Blu-rays will be released featuring heavy-metal brawlers Black Label Society in “The European Invasion: Doom Troopin’” and original alt-rock pioneers Pixies in “Live: Acoustic and Electric”.
Creating the mold for countless indie/alternative acts to come, the Pixies spent the late eighties and early nineties setting a new standard of rock. This blueprint was followed and embellished upon by bands spanning the gamut, from Britpop to grunge. After 10 years of self-imposed silence, singer/songwriter/guitarist Frank Black, bassist/vocalist Kim Deal, guitarist Joey Santiago, and drummer David Lovering reunited in 2004. Pixies: Acoustic & Electric Live captures two 2005 concerts, at the Paradise club in Boston and their first ever all-acoustic performance, filmed at the Newport Folk Festival. As a bonus, fans can enjoy a Newport photo gallery, the Newport rehearsal featurette, with an acoustic version of “Debaser” that did not make the final set list, and original home video footage of a live 1986 show at TT The Bear’s in Boston. Originally released as separate DVDs in 2006, these concerts are now in pristine high-def quality in a single package.
It’s always nice when a studio pairs up releases instead of giving them rather unnecessary individual releases. It’s especially nice when it comes to this set as there is nearly four hours of concert material between the two releases. Despite this 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 “Pixies” 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 with two concerts available, it was a great way to see them unplugged as well as, well, plugged in.
In a strange twist, I think I actually enjoyed the acoustic setting more—maybe just because it was just a more intimate club setting as opposed to a big concert. Whatever the reason, it was definitely a very engaging concert and while I didn’t know a lot of the songs, it was still a very cool way to get acquainted with them. The electric concert did repeat a few of the acoustic ones, but I hardly recognized them at first—moreso just by the lyrics at first, but eventually I went back and compared the two and saw how much they were able to retain of the song even unplugged.
I do Recommend these concerts and this Blu-ray to Pixies fans, but if you’re like me and walking in blind you’ll want to rent it first—although I don’t know anyone who just randomly watches concerts of bands they’ve never heard of, but hey. Thankfully the second title being released by Eagle Rock, the aforementioned Black Label Society disc, is of a band I’m much more acquainted with.
Eagle Rock Entertainment brings Pixies – Acoustic | Electric 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 even a few extras to check out as well.
The video arrives in an AVC encoded 1080i transfer and the concerts themselves are a bit of a difficult affair to grade properly; it’s definitely dated, but at only five years old it still maintains an unsurprising amount of detail. While there’s definitely a different mood between the two concerts, the presentations look equally as good in their own right. As is usual with Eagle Rock releases, the concerts 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.
Extras include a TT The Bear’s recording from 1986 which looks like it was from a big ol’ VHS personal recorder with waterlogged audio and video. It’s incredibly terrible looking and while it’s definitely interesting to look at, watching it for any sustained period of time is libel to give you a major headache. The other extra is a Fly on the Wall featurette from Newport.
Overall a Recommended release for fans. Newcomers will want to stick with a rental.
The Pixies: Acoustic | Electric is now available on Blu-ray.