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Warner Home Video presents
Linda Eder: Christmas Stays the Same (2001)

"You know, every year it's never really Christmas for me until I at least watch part or all...of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. C'mon, it's a classic."
- Linda Eder

Review By: Jeff Rosado  
Published: December 22, 2004

Stars: Linda Eder, Jeremy Roberts, Billy Stein, David Mann, David Finck, Barry Danielian, Andy Ezrin, Clint de Ganon, Stephanie Cummins, Jim Pugh, Joe Passaro, Peter Calo
Other Stars: Dave Clemmons Choir: Charles Bergell, Gregory Bergell, Jeff Gerdner, Aaron Lazar, Brad Sharp, Daniel Cooney, Daniel Callaway, Jeff Matisoff, Gavin Esham, John Tracy Egan, Daniel Reichard, Elisco Roman, Jason Dula, Kwane Remy, Nick Cavara, Keesha Sharp, Rebecca Bahling, Rita Harvey, Rebecca Spencer, Patricia Pickering, Gayle Scott, Audrey Klinger, Kelly Rabke, Anika Larsen, Ursula Abbott, Carolyn Saxon, Qwen Jackson, Shoshana Beam, Rachel Hoffman, Debra Rubin-Roberts, Courtney Balan, Jennifer Waldman
Director: Bob and Susan Conover

Manufacturer: WAMO
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (nothing objectionable)
Run Time: 01h:30m:27s
Release Date: October 26, 2004
UPC: 603497027323
Genre: pop


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
A ABC+ D-

DVD Review

With Barbara Streisand veering close to retirement, who's going to fill her shoes as America's favorite active pop diva, carrying the torch of the foremost interpreter of standards, the best of Broadway and occasional forays into adult contemporary pop?

If you asked me, my hands down choice would be Linda Eder, the Arizona-born, Minneapolis-reared songstress who wowed Broadway audiences via her turn as the ill-fated prostitute Lucy in Jekyll and Hyde, a musical adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson's literary classic. Since signing with Atlantic Records in 1998, her prominence in mainstream circles has steadily climbed; even without the benefit of radio airplay or even one gold album, concert halls are packed with rapturous devotees of all ages when she hits the road, particularly during her holiday tours, which have become a yearly tradition following the release of a critically acclaimed seasonal album.

Christmas Stays the Same documents one of those specialty stops from a 2001 road trip in Connecticut, taped and originally presented as a highly rated special on Bravo. Though over half of the 20-song set list is devoted to selections from the album, she doesn't shy away from treating the crowd to what brought them to her fan club in the first place. With a voice so commanding, it could reach the nosebleed seats in the event of power failure, secular highlights showcasing her amazing, versatile range include the soaring Gold (a preview of the forthcoming musical Camille); well-executed covers of Son of a Preacher Man and Don't Rain on My Parade, which earns a standing ovation; and the devastatingly beautiful If I Had My Way, co-written by Eder's husband Frank Wildhorn in the wake of September 11. It's personal, heartfelt lyrics ("Before these evening shadows fell, I reveled in the light of day/I rarely ever cried/My patience wasn't tried/And heroes never died") moves not only the audience to tears, but the singer herself, too.

But what makes Christmas Stays the Same a truly enjoyable experience is the way Eder makes every carol and seasonal standard sound like you're hearing these songs for the first time. With sincerity and heartfelt emotion (in particular on Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, the original Christmas Through a Child's Eyes and What Child Is This), this wonderful special will now be placed alongside A Charlie Brown Christmas, Miracle on 34th Street and White Christmas as holiday tradition DVDs.

And besides, she's a great whistler and takes time to salute the virtues of Rankin/Bass' Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer in a multi-song tribute medley. What a gal!

Rating for Style: A
Rating for Substance: A

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: Maybe it's the simplistic, no-frills staging that gives this transfer a bland look. It's not bad by a long stretch, but it never really conveys that live, "you are there" richness one has come to expect with post-2000 videotaped concert productions.

Image Transfer Grade: B

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes
Dolby Digital
5.1
Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: These are surprisingly and disappointingly flat soundtracks. Of the two, the original 2.0 taken from the Bravo broadcast is preferable, but it lacks low end and the stereo separation comes across as slight. As for the 5.1 redux, the rears make it sound like you're seated in the next county. Honest to God, I had to crank my center speaker up six notches to keep this within the realm of listenable; otherwise it just sounded echo-y.

Audio Transfer Grade: C+

 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 20 cues and remote access
Music/Song Access with 20 cues and remote access
Packaging: Keep Case
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: Looks like we don't even get a lump of coal in our supplemental stocking, Virginia...

Extras Grade: D-

 

Final Comments

One of Broadway's most recent and wonderful discoveries brings new life to time-honored seasonal chestnuts in Linda Eder: Christmas Stays the Same. Despite the lackluster transfer and sound, the performance on a whole overrides the shortcomings; highly recommended.

 


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