This DVD made an un-announced arrival here in the Spring of 2005 and a welcome release it is. The title wasn't well thought out from a collector's side but I'm knit-picky anyway. My only meaning here is that the packaging art information doesn't clearly spell out what we have here, or from who!...as in, what label? The verbiage is all over the place. The important thing is that it's an EAGLES DVD from Houston 1977 - which immediately slaps us silly as being previously unavailable.
Someone else chime in below and correct me if I'm wrong but this doesn't seem to be the entire show, missing the crux of the Hotel California material along with their signature tune, "Take It Easy". What we do get is really quite stellar, though the argument could be made that just as soon as this show gets going, it is already wrapping up. It is a very mellow easing-in at the start, and like other closed-circuit videos we've been priveleged to enjoy (the Zep '77 and Stones '81 Seattle vids, Queen and Aerosmith Houston '77 vids), this one too starts out a little flat and mono-like in it's quality. However 10 minutes into it there isn't an issue and this is entirely due to tape age and wear close to the hub.
What will hook you immediately, and is the strength of this DVD is the soundboard audio. Up front and well-balanced throughout, one could make the determination that this DVD print is sourced directly from the Houston master videotape. It is really great. The downside to any audio or video document of this quality is what flaws it displays by the artist. Here it simply underscores what a lack of personality this band had. Thank god for the hiring of JOE WALSH into the line-up! Without his presence and color, they might as well be in the studio. But that is THE EAGLES strength too...while other bands may have strived to capture the excitement of a live show in a recording studio environment, THE EAGLES were the opposite and always set a high standard of musicianship and harmony onstage to replicate their achievements on record. And most, if not all, apply to this Houston '77 video. In fact, aside from an abysmal and embarrassing version of "One Of These Nights", it's a wonderful performance - aside from the lack of injected personality or rapport with the audience. Let me comment on that. These guys come off so cool in this performance that they really seem like a bunch of jerks. It is a kick to see DON HENLEY get referred to as "our drummer".
Other notable things about this performance is that we learn that this is GLENN FREY's birthday when friend and writing partner, J.D. SOUTHER joins the band for the encore of "The Best Of My Love". Other than that seemingly festive fact, JOE WALSH carries the show and apparently the producers of the vid felt the same way, perhaps it was just a twist of fate with the tape - but either way it says a lot when you've got a catalog like THE EAGLES do and 25% of a live show is JOE WALSH tunes. This makes for a more entertaining show all the way around by infusing some rock n' roll into the ballad and country-rock driven repertoire the band patented. Another nice thing about seeing new shows from this period of the band is how much RANDY MEISNER brought to the table to round out their sound. Nothing against TIMOTHY B. SCHMIDT but MEISNER has a bit more to offer.
What I don't have confirmed is a date for this show but initial digging places it somewhere in the March/April leg of the touring schedule 1977. Please comment below if you can help there.
This is a highly recommended DVD title for collectors from a pure quality standpoint, it is really good. Keep in mind this is video from the in-house cameras for the big screens that were utilized at the sides of the stage, thus you get the frozen images or the typical "fade to black" in-between songs. What I alluded to at the top of the review here is that the verbiage is all over the place in what the artwork is trying to convey. On the front it states that it's a "5.1 CH Dolby Digital Edition", while on the back it's a "Collector's Edition" - which I really don't get because there are no extras, the packaging is as generic as can be. Just the fact that it has been obtained and released to a wide audience could be slanted as being an edition for collectors I suppose. It's just funny how things like "definitive" and "special" editions are continually used to elevate the prominence of these titles.
In closing, I'm not certain who issued this title as the disc label simply says "Pink Champagne On Ice" and there is no credit to a label on the outer art...but they deserve credit for the stellar vid on silver DVD. You will enjoy this title.