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Image Entertainment presents
"I am a lineman for the county/And I drive the main road/Searchin' in the sun for another overload..."
DVD Review"By the time I get to Phoenix, she'll be rising..."
Born in Arkansas and one of twelve children, Glen Campbell's rise to super stardom began at the age of 16 when he left home to join his uncle's band. By ten, he had mastered the guitar, and when he got to L.A. at age 24 in 1961, he was quickly in demand as one of the foremost session players of the time, lending his talent to the likes of Elvis Presley, Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, Jan and Dean, The Righteous Brothers and The Beach Boys. He released the albums Gentle on My Mind and By the Time I Get to Phoenix in 1967, and he became one of the first artists to have crossover hits, charting on both country and pop charts with that same year's Wichita Lineman.
Impressed by his abilities on another television appearance, the Smothers Brothers asked him to host their nationally televised Summer Show in 1968. He was an instant hit, and soon had his own showcase, The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour, a variety show that introduced artists such as Anne Murray, Neil Diamond and Linda Ronstadt to a national audience. The show went to number one, seen weekly by over 50 million viewers, and his popularity skyrocketed. His 1969 release, Galveston, also went to number one, and John Wayne insisted he co-star in True Grit, which spawned another top ten hit with its title song. He continued to strike gold in the 1970s with Rhinestone Cowboy and Southern Nights, landing number one singles on both the country and pop charts. In a career spanning four decades, he has sold over 40 million records, earning 12 gold and 5 platinum albums, and 27 top ten hits.
Produced for PBS, Glen Campbell in Concert brings the 60-some-year-old veteran and his Goodtime Band (musical director/pianist T.J Kuenster, Ken Skaggs—guitar, pedal steel, mandolin, Jeff Dayton—guitars, Russ Skaggs —bass and Gary Bruzzese—drums) together with The South Dakota Orchestra. The show was taped at the Washington Pavilion of Arts and Sciences in Sioux Falls. The show is simply amazing, with Glen displaying his virtuosity as a guitarist and singer with a vitality and gentle ease that belies his age. He pulls out all his timeless favorites, from Wichita Lineman, Gentle on My Mind, Dreams of the Everyday Housewife and By the Time I Get to Phoenix to Southern Nights, Galveston, Rhinestone Cowboy, and the rousing instrumental, Classical Gas. He is joined by his eldest daughter Debbie, who has been touring with him since 1987, on Little Green Apples, and even straps on the bagpipes for Amazing Grace.
What makes this event so special is the quality of the music presented, much of which defies genre classification. The contemporary works of Jimmy Webb, who Campbell is able to interpret better than anyone, are performed to perfection. The band is brilliant, and the fullness the orchestra brings really enhances the experience. The show is captured beautifully, and the production values of this recording are excellent, from the cinematography and lighting to the sound quality, and each song has its title appear briefly on screen for easy identification. This is truly an awesome addition to any music fan's library, and one I know I'll be revisiting on many an occasion.
The full set list:
Gentle on My Mind
(The) Highway Man
By the Time I Get to Phoenix
It's Only Make Believe
Little Green Apples
Since I Fell For You
The Moon is a Harsh Mistress
The William Tell Overture
Still Within the Sound of My Voice
Rating for Style: A
Rating for Substance: A
Image Transfer Review: Image quality is excellent for a videotaped performance, with rich, solid blacks and well-saturated color. Aliasing and other artifacts are minimal, and detail is exceptional. This is one great looking concert disc.
Image Transfer Grade: A
Audio Transfer Review: Two audio options are available: a Dolby Digital 5.1 surround mix and a stereo mix. The Dolby track is superb, with a detailed and expansive front stage, and ambience and audience in the rears. Definition is wonderful, and the mix is perfect for the material. The vocals are clear and clean. The orchestra sits at just the right level, and instruments like glockenspiel or harp can be heard easily and are balanced well with the rest of the band. The low end isn't overly used, but is suitable. The stereo mix is still well-defined, but has less top end presence, a narrower soundstage, but a warmer low end. Both are extremely enjoyable to listen to, with no fatiguing frequencies or harshness. This is a wonderful sounding disc.
Audio Transfer Grade: A
Disc ExtrasFull Motion menu with music
Music/Song Access with 17 cues and remote access
Cast and Crew Biographies
An additional 21m:31s of the concert is also included, with five bonus tracks not aired in the PBS broadcast. Glen performs Don't Pull Your Love/Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye, Try a Little Tenderness, and Richard Harris' 1974 Jimmy Webb hit, MacArthur Park. Glen, backed only by the acoustic guitars of Ken Skaggs and Jeff Dayton, performs Jim Croce's Time in a Bottle and Debbie Campbell joins her father for Let It Be Me.
A discography contains Glen's listings of his gold and platinum albums, plus the year and chart position of his top hits. A biography covers most of the pivotal moments in Glen's career, and also some of the artists he has worked with over the years.
Extras Grade: B+
Final CommentsAn outstanding performance by one of the industry's finest musicians, Glen Campbell in Concert gets an enthusiastic recommendation for all music lovers. Campbell performs the majority of his biggest hits, backed by his Goodtime Band and the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra with an audio and visual quality that does justice to the material, and a fine supplemental package really rounds this release out.
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