Concert by the Lake

I am one of those people that love concert DVDs. If I have guests over, I love having them rather than standard CDs providing the background music. Concert DVDs can catalyze great conversations about music by offering unfamiliar takes on popular songs and showing artists in performance. Now that many concert DVDs are available on Blu-ray, they can showcase a host’s HD system better than almost any other subject matter.

Concert discs aren’t for everyone, but for those who love and collect them, you might want to check out Eagle Rock Entertainment’s A Concert by the Lake. It provides a terrific recording of a 2006 benefit concert that features a coterie of British rock royalty, including Eric Clapton, Mike Rutherford, and Ringo Starr.

The setting is the very lush Wintershall Estate in Surrey. It looks so properly English, and the Blu-ray transfer is terrific. So is the sound – which is available in several formats on the DVD.

What is most notable about this performance of familiar backing faces is how Clapton gets to play the sideman. He shines once the spotlight is off him. Clapton has commented on how enjoyable it was to tour with Delaney, Bonnie, and Roger Waters, where all he had to do was play guitar. He still has some frontman duties here, but primarily Clapton is in a supporting role as a guitar player for bandleader Gary Brooker. He seems to be enjoying himself.

Clapton and the band, featuring Genesis’s Mike Rutherford, come together when everyone’s favorite unknown singer Paul Carrack sings his classic How Long from his days with Ace. Clapton is in heaven doing tasty fills, and the Mike and Mechanics and Squeeze singer sound fresh, along with his beautifully mixed Hammond work. This performance is the best on the disc, and I would want to have the disc for this one performance. It’s great to see musicians having fun together like this. The mutual respect the musicians have for each other jumps off the screen.

A Concert by the Lake slows a bit with a set from Queen’s drummer Roger Taylor, but overall is a lovely concert and one to put on next time you have some friends over. You could see who could name three other hits Paul Carrack sang on…(Tempted, Silent Running, The Living Years).

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