- Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
- Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
- Resolution: 1080i/60
- Audio Codec: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, LPCM 2.0 Stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1
- Region: A
- Rating: Not Rated
- Discs: 1
- Studio: Eagle Rock Entertainment
- Blu-ray Release Date: September 21, 2010
- List Price: $29.98
Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures
(Screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG thus are meant as a general representation of the content and do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)
Call me a “grinch” or Scrooge, but I have never been one for Christmas albums and holiday specials, so I was not particularly looking forward to reviewing this Michael McDonald concert disc. Recorded in 2009 for the PBS series Soundstage, Michael McDonald: This Christmas — Live in Chicago finds the soulful crooner and former singer from the Doobie Brothers in a Christmas-themed show, backed by a full band and performing an 18-song set. Thankfully, there is a good amount of non-Christmas material that buttresses the concert, making it a not unworthy concert disc entry from Eagle Rock and McDonald.
The bulk of the songs are Christmas tunes that McDonald puts his unique soulful twist on, but he starts the set with a mixture of Doobie Brothers’ classics and his own songs like “It Keeps You Runnin'” and “I Keep Forgettin’ (Every Time You’re Near).” After the Christmas songs, which make up the bulk of the show, McDonald closes with more Doobies, like the popular “Takin’ it to the Streets” before closing with a soulful rendition of the Leonard Cohen number “Hallelujah. It’s an overall engaging show with McDonald’s voice in good form, a strong backing band, and good choice of material.
- “It Keeps You Runnin'”
- “I Keep Forgettin’ (Every Time You’re Near)”
- “Sweet Freedom”
- “Every Time Christmas Comes Around”
- “On this Night”
- “This Christmas”
- “Come, O Come Emanuel”
- “Wexford Carol”
- “Christmas on the Bayou”
- “I’ll Be Home for Christmas”
- “That’s What Christmas Means to Me”
- “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”
- “White Christmas/Winter Wonderland”
- “Minute by Minute”
- “What a Fool Believes”
- “Takin’ it to the Streets”
- Bonus Track: “Hallelujah”
The original high definition production of Michael McDonald: This Christmas — Live in Chicago shows up in a 1080i/60 AVC/MPEG-4 encoding from Eagle Rock. It’s a solid picture given the numerous flashing, multi-colored lights and quick camera edits. The image shows no macroblocking and just a little video noise, but there is some slight motion judder. Flesh tones are spot on and colors pop nicely.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack is mixed from an audience perspective, has good dynamics, excellent instrumental separation and a wide soundstage across the front. Lead vocals are clear in the mix, low frequencies are deep, tight and musical, and the midrange is natural. High frequencies are just a little bit tizzy, but overall it’s a pleasing mix.
The only supplement, if you can call it that, is McDonald’s closing performance of the Leonard Cohen classic “Hallelujah.”
The Definitive Word
It’s a soulful holiday special that sounds great from Michael McDonald and Eagle Rock Entertainment. The heavy dose of Doobie Brothers classics means this one doesn’t only have to come out for Christmas time either.
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