Eagles – Farewell I Tour: Live from Melbourne (DTS) - P2
1) Life's Been Good - Walsh puts on a ridiculous helmet that looks like something I wore when I was a safety guard in 4 th grade. The helmet has a camera inside it and he walks around filming the audience as he plays. This is Walsh's opportunity to "be silly", and the song is played with no hint of seriousness. He changes up the lyrics and even does some side stepping dance moves with Frey, which cracks up Henley . There is no real need to be critical of this performance. Lead guitar is primarily in the right channel, vocals and drums centered. Synthesizers are heard in the left channel and surrounds. The performance on this track is a real departure from the stoic attitude we see in HFO .
2) Dirty Laundry - . This is Henley 's chance to get up from behind his kit and stretch his legs. Synthesizers and saxophones provide a deep soundstage. Vocals are enthusiastic. Heavy drums fill the center and swell to the mains. Guitars rock the right and left channels. Frey, Smith, and Walsh have a chance to do some sequential guitar parts which are always fun to watch. The performance is energetic and one of the better ones in the collection. From beginning to end, there is a strong bass presence.
3) Funk #49 - Like "Walk Away", I had no notion that this song would be on Farewell 1 , but I am glad it is. Walsh begins with a searing guitar riff, and then jumps into the song with Frey's dueling guitar. Background vocals are terrific on this track. Bass and drums are played with the funky flavor that makes this song work. Guitars are in sync, and even the sax players get involved. Sweet M oses, this one is really good. The audience is stunned afterward. This ain't your daddy's HFO !
4) Heartache Tonight - Frey's rocker receives a nice treatment. Though, I'd prefer it with a more conservative use of saxophones. Their periodic blaring tends to drone out the beat of the drums which I feel is the song's most endearing feature. I like the approach taken on the studio version a bit more. Still, the song provides good energy and has the Aussies up and dancing. Guitars are nice and clean up front, including a nice solo by Walsh.
5) Life in the Fast Lane - The tempo of this tune is a bit faster than the studio release. This gave me the impression it was rushed. Henley blazes through the vocals. Guitar parts help slow things down to a more realistic pace, but Henley pushes forward with his drums. The elongated Walsh solo near the end of the tune is a nice addition. Surround material is consistent with previous tracks. Guitars and vocals balanced up front with horns and synthesizers filling in the rear channels.
6) Hotel California - Everyone in the Arena knew this song was going to be played sooner or later and finally they did. Having waited this long for it, I thought it might be the finale. Like in HFO , this tune begins with an added intro that is not in the original studio recording. A jazzy, solo trumpet introduction leads into Frey's acoustic guitar, followed by Walsh's electric fingering, and finally Henley 's vocals. The song is a much more traditional treatment than the one found on HFO . Percussion, keyboards, and drums with intermittent horns are blended for surround material. Smith plays the long and familiar solo with a double neck guitar. Vocals are a little off, but since I've heard the original hundreds of times, it's nearly impossible to remain objective.
7) Rocky M ountain Way - Walsh gets front and center with another of his own songs. I like what the saxophone backing does for this tune. It adds a nice dimension that is missing otherwise. Walsh takes a slower, more grooved approach than usual. This is a refreshing change. Synthesizers highlight the surround ambience along with periodic saxophones. Walsh performs the talkbox solo with the same unique style he's known for. The vocal and solo remained nicely balanced spread out solo remain across the front three channels.
8) All She Wants to Do is Dan ce - Henley gets his chance to showcase an 80's tune. The quintessential synthesizers are prominent throughout. Vocals and drums set a tempo very similar to the original hit. Henley sing-talks through the song's unchallenging vocals. Drums provide excellent extension, and are some of the best playing on the album in my opinion. Guitars are similar in tone to what I recall from the original, and Smith provides his typical steady effort from start to end. Surrounds consist of claps, cymbals, and keyboards.
9) Take it Easy - After a brief curtain call Frey announces that they have two more songs to play and launches in. This one is played very much like the original, with its country flavor accented by violin. Frey's vocals stay inside his range and are well mixed across my front speakers. Keyboards, cymbals, and violin are the primary surround elements. Walsh's guitar solo is accurately portrayed with a center-left presence. This is an above average piece.
10) Desperado - This popular song is a fitting end to the Farewell 1 set list. It is met with a large roar by the audience. Henley 's touching vocals are filled with controlled emotion. Background vocals are gently blended to provide an even, wide stage. Piano, second keyboard, and ambient vocal parts make vital contributions to the surround material. I like that the performance is kept very simple and concentrates on Henley 's voice.
Live concerts will never sound as tightly controlled as studio performances can. With that in mind, I expected Farewell 1 to lose some of it detail, and it did. The spacious arena swallows up the most intricate moments leaving it slightly compromised. I would say it is inferior to the HFO recording in both vocal detail and dynamics. This is most noticeable during the more quiet passages and when audience participation is present. In all fairness, I do feel the recording makes the best of the situation. Compared with other concerts in arenas of similar proportions this recording's details are still better than average. I never felt like I was missing anything more than nuances, such as little breaths between words and the sound of fingers coming off the frets between notes. Farewell 1 sounds natural and captures the essence of what someone sitting a few rows from the stage would experience. Vocals and instruments sounded neutral in tone, and never bright or muddy. The DTS option I'm reviewing never sounds compressed or otherwise unnatural. The LFE channel is consistent, never anemic or overly emphasized. All levels were appropriately matched with the material that is played.
The mix has a consistent, well organized methodology throughout. The levels for lead drums (there is a second set on many tracks) and lead vocals are positioned in the center channel and blend outward to the right and left channels to create a good wide stage. The mix of secondary instruments such as the saxophone, trumpet, violin, or second drums are placed in both the center channel and surrounds, or sometimes only in one surround if multiple secondary instruments are in use, which is often the case. This technique adds a sense of depth. All guitars remain up front and are fairly well balanced between the side of the stage they are played and the center channel, with just a hint of ambience leaking into the surrounds. Background vocals are mixed the same way. When there are saxophone parts that are primary such as solos, or when someone gets outrageous on the secondary drums, sometimes there are a few minor level problems created in the surrounds, but it is very infrequent. M inor annoyances with the second drum parts on "In The City" is the best example of this. I feel the saxophone parts on "Heartache Tonight" overpowered the drum levels which are key to the song, but that is more my opinion than a matter of fact. As a whole, the set is well engineered.
Video quality throughout the disc is well above average. It helps that the concert was originally shot in high definition (16:9) as witnessed by the taped HD broadcast that appeared in June on NBC. Blacks are crisp with a precise level of contrast between the bright and dark areas of the stage. Colors are natural and appropriately saturated. Skin tones appear authentic. There are moments when the video monitors at the rear of the stage are a bit unfocused, but you soon realize that this is also the way they look in person, so it's not a fault of the production. Every once in a great while stage lights wash out some detail, but a quick transition to a different camera angle resolves this with little hesitation. Lens flare is seen on occasion, which is also caused by the stage lighting, but never distracts. Detail is sharp and well defined. This is most obvious during close-ups of instruments. All the intricacies of the saxophones and drums can be easily observed. Occasionally there are flashes from pictures being taken in the audience. These flashes reflect on metallic objects on stage from time to time. Initially they appeared to be artifacts, but careful observation debunked that misconception.
Bonus material consists of an edited 11 minute interview piece. It features Frey, Walsh, Henley and Schmit speaking on the experience of being on stage, rehearsals, the audience, the music, touring, their longevity, and even about the tongue and cheek naming of the tour. Given that the primary material on these discs consists of 29 songs and about 160 minutes of music, I'm not going to complain about not getting more extras out of this set. Yes, there could have been bios, a discography, a photo album or something else of the like, but it wouldn't have been much of a benefit to anyone who is already familiar with one of the world's most well-known bands. Also, for those who are patient enough to wait to for it, there is some great extra footage towards the end of the credits. M uch of this material is quite funny, like when Henley has a senior moment, and shouldn't be missed.
"I Can't Tell You Why", "One of These Nights", "Walk Away", "Dirty Laundry" and "Take it Easy" are all stand-out performances. "No M ore Cloudy Days" and "Funk #49" are both spectacular. Though there are some less enthusiastic portions of material, particularly early on, the entertainment value of this set remains high overall. Audio quality is above average for a live recording in such an environment. The recording realistically captures the experience of being in the audience. Vocal and instrument material are accurate, and lack only a small amount of detail. Levels in the LFE appropriately represent the use of bass and drum parts. Surround implementation is well organized, with a consistent approach to the 5.1 mix throughout. Surround material is convincing and well balanced with a few minor exceptions, and very good on the whole. The HD-sourced video quality is among the best I've seen for video concerts. It is crisp and free of artifacts. Colors have excellent levels of saturation. Blacks maintain accurate levels of contrast. One bonus feature is included which is on par with similar music collections.
If I was most concerned with owning an audiophile grade recording I would choose the Eagles' HFO over Farewell 1 for its unmatched audio fidelity, but the reverse is true if my concern is shear entertainment. There are very few collections out there that pack in nearly three hours of music and presentation, and even fewer that provide this level of quality. By all accounts, these DVDs are worthy of gracing any music collection. For those who enjoy the classic rock genre it's not a set to be without. If you are an Eagles' fan, Farewell 1 is undoubtedly a must have.