I am one of those people that love concert DVD’s. If I have guests over I love having them rather than standard CD’s providing the background music. Concert DVD’s, by offering unfamiliar takes on popular songs, showing artists in performance, can be a catalyst to great conversations about music. Now that many concert DVD’s are becoming available in Blu-ray, they can showcase a host’s HD system better than almost any other subject matter.

Concert disc’s aren’t for everyone, but for those who love and collect them, you might want to check out Eagle Rock Entertainment’s A Concert by the Lake. It provides a terrific recording of a 2006 benefit concert that features a coterie of British rock royalty including Eric Clapton, Mike Rutherford, and Ringo Starr.

The setting is the very lush Wintershall Estate in Surrey. It looks so properly English, and the Blu-ray transfer is terrific. So is the sound – which is available in a number of formats on the DVD.

What is most notable about this performance of familiar backing faces is how Clapton gets to play sideman. He really shines once the spotlight is off him. Clapton has commented how enjoyable it was to tour with Delaney and Bonnie, and Roger Waters where all he had to do was play guitar. He still has some front man duties here, but primarily Clapton is in a supporting role as guitar player for bandleader Gary Brooker. He seems to really be enjoying himself.

Clapton and the band, which also feature Genesis’s Mike Rutherford really come together when everyone’s favorite unknown singer Paul Carrack sings his classic How Long from his days with Ace. Clapton is in heaven doing tasty fills, and the Mike and Mechanics and Squeeze singer sounds fresh singing along with his beautifully mixed Hammond work. This performance is the best on the disc and I would want to have the disc for this one performance. It’s great to see musicians having fun together like this. The mutual respect the musicians have for each other jumps off the screen.

A Concert by the Lake slows a bit with a set from Queen’s drummer Roger Taylor, but overall is a lovely concert and one to put on next time you have some friends over. You could see who could name three other hits Paul Carrack sang on…(Tempted, Silent Running, The Living Years).

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