Saturday, September 28, 2013

CD Review: The Ultimate Live Album By The Band, Newly Remastered

Fans having been waiting for a complete live show from The Band since their unofficial break-up of The Last Waltz. The closest thing was the album "Rock Of Ages" which included the best live versions of songs from their run of shows at New York's Academy of Music in 1971. The album was remastered, adding bonus songs, but not helping the album's original sound much. Now finally we get the five disc set of The Band's "Live At The Academy of Music 1971." It features a newly remastered version of the expanded "Rock of Ages" set by Band leader Robbie Robertson, who was never satisfied with the original remastering job done back in 2001.
 
The music sounds a little warmer with room for the instruments and vocals to not crash into each other and overtake the sound. It is definite upgrade sonically over past releases. But, fans are not drooling over the release of just this, the five disc set also includes, for the first time, the entire New Year's Eve show straight from the soundboard. This set (discs 3 & 4) have one of the best live sounds with The Band clicking on all cylinders and features a guest appearance by Bob Dylan during the encore. The tone of the album is clear and crisp, without being overproduced and killed by being mastered at a high volume.
 
The only slightly disappointing thing about this set is the DVD (disc 5). Fans were hoping for a video of The Band performing these shows, but instead the disc features a 5.1 Surround mix of the first two discs ("Rock of Ages" album) and footage of only two songs that were filmed from this amazing run of performances. Also included in this set is a 48-page hardcover book that features new, unseen photos and a reproduction of the album's review from Rolling Stone magazine.
 
The 5-disc deluxe set is available now (http://smarturl.it/BandAcademy4CD) along with a new remastered 2-CD (http://smarturl.it/BandAcademy2CD). For more information on this release, please visit http://www.robbie-robertson.com/news/the-band-live-at-the-academy-of-music-1971/.

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