Eagles: Farewell 1 Tour: Live In Melbourne

Eagles: Farewell 1 Tour: Live In Melbourne (2005)
Cast: Don Henley, Glenn Frey, Timothy B. Schmit, Joe Walsh
Extras: Featurette

The Eagles, one of the all-time classic bands with roots that go back to the phenomenally popular era of seventies rock in Southern California, showcase their musical talents in their latest live endeavor, 'The Eagles: Farewell 1 Tour: Live from Melbourne'. Now the "Farewell 1" portion of the title is to be taken completely tongue-in-cheek, as aptly named by lead vocalist and lyricist, Don Henley. The Eagles know damn well that if you have a good thing going and still command the commercial success to sell-out full stadium shows worldwide, why mess with a good thing. If the formula and chemistry remain, then maybe there will be a "Farewell 2" or "Farewell 3" tour, who knows? There is no doubt in my mind that fans would return for repeat performances time and time again.

The Eagles previous release of the 'Hell Freezes Over' concert DVD was, and still is one of the top selling live concert DVDs to date, and there is good reason for that. The Eagles continue to produce concerts that are first-rate and simply second to none. The "Hell Freezes Over" DVD was one of the first to showcase all that DTS 5.1 sound exhibitions had to offer. Now The Eagles are once again one of the first to pioneer a new format, this time on HD DVD.

Recorded live during their colossal 2004 world tour, "Farewell 1 Tour: Live in Melbourne" features live performances of The Eagles ever popular and timeless classic tunes including; 'Hotel California', 'Desperado' and 'Tequila Sunrise' as well as adding a couple of new tunes to fortify the mix.

Viewers will immediately notice the absence of guitarist Don Felder from the talent line-up, as he was simply let go from the band in 2001. Fulfilling the guitar absence is Steuart Smith – as a side performer and not an official addition to the band – Steuart does a fine job recreating Felder's guitar contributions for the live performance.

Rhino Entertainment (a division of Warner Music) presents the HD DVD of 'Eagles: Farewell 1 Tour Live in Melbourne' in a breathtaking high definition widescreen transfer. Seeing a live recording of a beloved band in full wide screen is a real treat, considering the fact that many concert performances are still being released in the crammed 4:3 aspect ratio.

Exhibiting a clean and crisp image with brilliant color saturation, you would honestly swear that The Eagles themselves are in your living room! The picture quality is that stunning! Magnificent blacks help to enhance the smallest of details. Take for example Don Henley's plaid shirt that features a subtle imprint of a horseshoe on either side of his chest, something that was not nearly as noticeable on the Standard-Definition DVD. There is no visible dust, dirt or grain of any kind. Just a purely flawless image to enjoy in the home theater environment.

Although I would have expected a Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 or Dolby True HD presentation, this HD DVD comes with the option of a DTS 5.1 or PCM sound track (no Dolby Digital sound track is present). Skeptical at first, my fears were instantly suppressed once I popped this HD DVD into my player. Now, I am not too sure whether the sound mix is the same from the previous DVD version or not, but I will tell you that in comparison, the HD DVD provides a definite improvement of an already stellar concert performance.

Interpreting every minute "high" present in vocals from songs like "Sunset Grill" to the humble, yet deep "lows", I was thoroughly impressed. From the September the 11th inspired "Hole in the World" to the twangy and almost country melody of "Take it Easy", I was in complete awe throughout the entire performance. The Standard DVD represented a stand-out reference quality sound in amongst concert DVDs everywhere. Now the HD DVD release has surpassed that to become a true gold standard of concert performances to usher in the new High-Definition format. Once again The Eagles have set the bar rather high for all of those that will eventually follow.

Special features are limited to a short, behind the scenes style band interview that comes with a running time of just under 10 minutes.

Always classy without excessiveness, The Eagles showcase a stellar concert that is packaged quite nicely on this HD DVD edition. If you're looking for pyrotechnics and on-stage antics, you won't find them here, just a great execution of some of the best written and performed songs that make The Eagles a truly classic band. Bravo!