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Eagle Eye Media presents
Willie Nelson and Friends: Outlaws & Angels (2004)

"The life I love is making music with my friends."
- Willie Nelson, from "On the Road Again"

Review By: Jeff Rosado  
Published: December 27, 2004

Stars: Willie Nelson, Keith Richards, Merle Haggard, Shelby Lynne, Al Green, Jerry Lee Lewis, Joe Walsh, Bob Dylan, Rickie Lee Jones, Kid Rock, Carole King
Other Stars: James Caan, Los Lonely Boys, Lucinda Williams, The Holmes Brothers, LeAnn Womack, Ben Harper, Toby Keith
Director: Jeb Brien

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (nothing objectionable)
Run Time: 01h:28m:03s
Release Date: December 28, 2004
UPC: 801213905997
Genre: country

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer

DVD Review

Several times a year, we all face the challenge of what to get a family member or close friend for a special occasion (birthday, anniversary, Christmas, etc.). For those of you who have the honor of being connected to Willie Nelson, I would suggest a daily planner.

In addition to his semi-annual Texas-based Fourth of July picnic and yearly duties as host and main attraction of Farm Aid, the "Red-headed Stranger" seems to have acquired another reoccurring gig. In 2002, the country music icon presided over Willie Nelson and Friends, a program that played to high ratings, and popular and critical acclaim. Last year, a 70th birthday tribute follow-up featuring an amazing array of guest partners including current musical heavyweights Sheryl Crow, Wyclef Jean, Norah Jones, and Shania Twain along with classic performers of rock and country's first golden age like Paul Simon, Kris Kristofferson, and Eric Clapton among others, made for another spectacular evening of entertainment.

Willie Nelson and Friends: Outlaws and Angels, a third collaboration taped at L.A.'s Wiltern Theater may not appear to be as star-studded as its predecessors, but it maintains the same level of quality, and at times during certain performances, supercedes them.

Among the high-points: a soulful duet on the Nelson-penned standard, Funny How Time Slips Away that pairs Willie with legendary R&B singer Al Green, who comes close to stealing the stage with his infectious enthusiasm; recent songwriting partner Shelby Lynne blending her sexy, alluring alto voice with Nelson on a smooth cover of Stormy Weather; Los Lonely Boys' faithful rendition of War's Cisco Kid (a band to keep an eye on, by the way); a rollicking Trouble in Mind uniting Nelson, Merle Haggard, Keith Richards, and Jerry Lee Lewis that swiftly segues into the latter's Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On, with a killer guest vocal by renaissance man Kid Rock.

Sublime doesn't stop here: Willie graciously hands the spotlight to a couple of his guests for solo turns, including Merle Haggard delivering a heartfelt Mama Tried with vocal support from Toby Keith (who positively beams with pride when placed in the middle of the Hag and Willie during Poncho and Lefty; the underrated Holmes Brothers reinterpreting Nelson's Opportunity to Cry as an old style blues tune; and Keith Richards contributing surprisingly strong vocals on another Willie chestnut, We Had It All.

Rating for Style: A-
Rating for Substance: A


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Rationo

Image Transfer Review: Other than the disappointing lack of 16x9, I can find no faults in this impressively clean, superbly detailed transfer that almost looks like a live transmission. Thanks to the wonderful light setup and excellent photography, you can make out every nick on Willie's trademark acoustic.

Image Transfer Grade: B


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: With the superfluous of talent, do you think the audio specialists responsible for the three mixes contained within would blow it? Not a chance. No matter what kind of sound system you possess, all three options are superbly mixed with wide stereo and more than adequate highs and lows, but those with receivers DTS enabled will find that mode the best with its good balance between instruments, deeper bass and perfect high end.

Audio Transfer Grade: A


Disc Extras

Full Motion menu
Packaging: Keep Case
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Behind The Secnes Featurette
Extras Review: The disc's sole extra is 15 minutes of Behind the Scenes Footage consisting of B-roll material that the producers utilized as "bumps" leading into commercial breaks. It won't knock your socks off since no musical performances are showcased in full and the verbal small talk between Willie and friends is almost inaudible, but there are a few nice jams scattered about and many charming examples of his repartee with kindred musical souls.

Extras Grade: B-


Final Comments

Another enchanted evening with Willie Nelson and Friends showcasing the eccentric country music veteran's seemingly effortless ability to blend in with any style, no matter whom he's paired with. Stellar audio and visual qualities make this easy to recommend.


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