"Michael McDonald - This Christmas Live in Chicago" Blu-ray Review
November 18, 2010 by Zach Demeter
Eager to spread some early holiday cheer, Eagle Rock Entertainment is proud to present a very special concert from Michael McDonald. Backed by a full band, multi-instrumentalist McDonald delivers his distinct soul-infused vocals in an 18-song set, complete with holiday delights and favorites from his personal catalogue. Switching from keys to guitar to accordion throughout the set, McDonald opens the show (filmed in 2009 for the PBS series Soundstage) with the Doobie Brothers classic “It Keeps You Runnin’” Two classic solo career cuts, “I Keep Forgettin’ (Every Time You’re Near)” and “Sweet Freedom,” are also part of this performance.
The festivities begin with twelve holiday classics, many of which were featured on his 2009 holiday album This Christmas. Carrying holiday cheer in his signature croon, Michael McDonald puts his magic touch on cherished tunes like “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas,” “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” and “Peace.” He wraps this musical present with three more Doobie Brothers songs and (a bonus feature on the disc) a cover of the spectacular Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.” In standard or high-def, This Christmas Live in Chicago is the perfect gift for any concert DVD collector!
Old dude playing Christmas music? Yup, just what I want to watch in September. While I’m not in the target demo for this concert and it’s not the proper time of year to be enjoying this type of music, I can still appreciate at least what Michael McDonald is trying to do here. It also helps that the concert isn’t entirely Christmas songs either; the opening presents some of his early work with the Doobie Brothers and…well, I don’t really know much more about him past that. It’s a fairly straightforward concert with McDonald sound as robust as ever with a solid band backing him up all along the way. It’s not the most astonishing concert to watch on a dreary September day, but in a few short months it will likely be something to cozy up and watch on the couch.
The full track listing includes:
1.) It Keeps You Runnin’
2.) I Keep Forgettin’ (Every Time You’re Near)
3.) Sweet Freedom
4.) Every Time Christmas Comes Around
5.) On This Night
6.) This Christmas
7.) Come, O Come Emanuel
8.) Wexford Carol
9.) Christmas On The Bayou
10.) I’ll Be Home For Christmas
11.) That’s What Christmas Means To Me
12.) Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
14.) White Christmas / Winter Wonderland
15.) Minute By Minute
16.) What A Fool Believes
17.) Takin’ It To The Streets
Bonus track: Hallelujah
Overall a Recommended disc for fans, but if you’re like me and don’t listen to the same music your parents do then you can skip this one.
Eagle Rock Entertainment brings Michael McDonald – This Christmas to Blu-ray in a standard Elite Blu-ray case. A booklet inside contains information and photos from the concert as well as information about the group and this particular production, while the menu system for the disc lays out everything in a nice and tidy fashion.
The video arrives in an AVC encoded 1080i transfer and the concert itself contains a great amount of detail. Everything from the sets to the quick cuts to different band members as well as the crowd is included here and it all looks clean and sharp, side from a few soft close-ups likely due to the lighting. As is usual with Eagle Rock releases, the concerts boasts three audio tracks as well, a DTS-HD MA, DD5.1 and a PCM track. All three have their merits, but it’s the DTS-HD that is the king of the listing here, as it has a nice spread about the room and represents the individual musical styling’s remarkably well.
Sadly there are no extras (well, the “Hallelujah” encore, but I don’t really consider that much of an extra), so you’ll just be limited to the concert. As such you may find this disc better suited as a Rental unless you plan on watching this multiple times.
Michael McDonald - This Christmas Live in Chicago is now available on DVD and Blu-ray.