One Night Only Live in this case denotes an outdoor formal charity rock concert given by "Band Du Lac" at the Winterhall Estate in the Surrey countryside. Staged every so often- similar events have taken place in 1998 and 2001- for one cause or another, in this case the cause benefitted HASTE, or Heart and Stroke Trust Endeavor and more specifically a HASTE wing at the Royal Surrey County Hospital. Band Du Lac is an all-star supergroup band brought together solely for these endeavors, and in this case the band is indeed a super one, the backbone being Gary Brooker, Andy Fairweather-Low and Mike Rutherford on guitars; Paul Carrack on keyboards and Henry Spinetti on drums, with several additional musicians brought in to front and supplement these core players for portions of the show. Guests for this particular night are stellar performers- Eric Clapton, Roger Taylor, Ringo Starr, Chris Barber, Katie Melua and the Drifters. From the opening shots of the stage setting and the audience, it isn't hard to find proof that this was indeed a gala affair, as a scan of the sizable standing room only audience reveals a sea of tuxes and evening gowns.
The band itself is indeed an impressive one; with a loose enjoyable
style and sound that one would expect to hear in a studio rehearsal just
hanging about and jamming. Indeed, with the musicians onstage one can
easily liken the Band Du Lac to most any of Ringo's All-Starr Band
lineups, and I say that in the complimentary way; Ringo's lineups always
come to entertain the fans with both their wide range of songs from a
myriad of classic bands, and this is the kind of conglomerate Band Du
Lac is. Not coincidentally, one can see several of those same All-Starr
members on this stage as well, as Carrack and Brooker have both gone on
tour with Starr in the past.
Listed here is the set list of songs played during the show-
2. Paul Carrack - Over My Shoulder
3. Eric Clapton - Reconsider Baby
4. Eric Clapton - Lay Down Sally
5. Paul Carrack - How Long
6. Eric Clapton - Willie & The Hand Jive
7. Katie Melua - Crawling Up a Hill
8. Katie Melua - My Aphrodisiac Is You
9. Katie Melua - The Closest Thing to Crazy
10. Andy Fairweather~Low - Lay My Burden Down
11. Roger Taylor - Say It's Not True
12. Roger Taylor - These Are the Days of Our Lives
13. Roger Taylor - I Want to Break Free
14. Gary Brooker - This World is Rich
15. Ringo Starr - Act Naturally
16. Ringo Starr - Photograph
17. Ringo Starr - With A Little Help From My Friends
18. Gary Brooker - A Whiter Shade of Pale
19. Eric Clapton & Chris Barber - Stormy Monday
20. The Drifters - Under the Boardwalk
21. The Drifters - Stand By Me
22. Eric Clapton - Cocaine
23. I Can't Dance
While I really enjoyed the lineup here, I can't honestly say the same
for the choice of material; Tequila was rousing and fun. Carrack doing
his old standards from the days as a member of Mike and the Mechanics (
fellow MM band member Mike Rutherford here as well) and Ace shine; Over
My Shoulder and How Long are standards Carrack can seemingly do justice
to any day of the year. Clapton being Clapton, his numbers at the
forefront are listenable, if a bit on the relaxed side for Eric. Katie
Melua is an artist I am unfamiliar with; while she certainly has a
vibrant style and pleasant voice, the three songs she performed just
didn't have much appeal for me.
Although I'm a fan of Queen from way back, Roger Taylor's three takes here
weren't as listenable as I had hoped. The Mendela tribute song, "Say
It's Not True " was somewhat generic and his singing on "The Best
Days Of Our Lives" seemed strained; his best showing was the more upbeat
"I Want to Break Free", given fine support by the background band.
Gary Brooker of Procol Harum gave a warm, spirited take on
a new song dedicated to the African plight, "This World is Rich" and as
always he does justice to the classic "A Whiter Shade of Pale".
Ringo is ever Ringo these days, regardless of the platform on which one
sees him; yes, he comes across as a bit of a Holiday Inn lounge singer
with his delivery, mannerisms and on this occasion his attire, but
that's Ringo, and I'm a fan till the end. The former Beatle must have
performed "Act Naturally", "Photographs" and-what else?- "A Little Help
From My Friends" thousands upon thousands of times, but the man knows
what people expect from him and that's what he brings to the party.
Behind the drums he's still a monstrous force; in front of a mic he's a
showman, a good sport- and a Beatle. Clapton and Chris Barber do a solid
take on "Stormy Monday", and it would be hard to fault any Drifters
appearance doing their classic-as-it-gets material.
It isn't that I didn't enjoy watching this disc and taking in the many
fine musicians on this single stage, because I did. Perhaps I've become
spoiled over the last few years, with so many all star music benefit
discs and having seen several different variations of Ringo and His
All-Starr Band doing just this sort of thing year after year. While
there are notable songs and fine performances given throughout the show,
there are also some flat, lackluster takes on good material as well as
some rather bland new music offered here. It could be that this show would have done well to infuse a bit more youth in its lineup; Melua is certainly young, but her material wasn't particularly noteworthy nor does she tout the sort of name recognition the elite players around her bring to mind. All in all this is a good disc that could very easily have been a great one, and for me that's the biggest disappointment.
The back cover lists the disc as being 16x9 screen format, so I am presuming this is presented in 1.78:1 widescreen. The video here is very good- colors are bright and natural, blacks are
deep and images are quite sharp.
There are three audio tracks to choose from here- PCM Stereo, DTS Digital Surround Sound and Dolby Digital 5.1 Sourround. I took a listen to both the DD 5.1 and DTS tracks and they were almost
identical; I had hoped for a bit more spaciousness, and expected the DTS
track to better fill the listening area but such is not the case. The
music is mostly front driven. Its a crisp clean track that has a decent
degree of fullness but is just a bit lacking for my tastes.
Interviews with the key performers- Clocking in at 10 minutes,
this is a nice piece dealing with band rehearsals, the musicians having
fun before the show, and members such as Gary Brooker discussing the
beginnings and formation of the Band Du Lac, drawing most of the
performers from the local area and keeping the core players together for
each charity show since 1988. Among those also interviewed are Ringo
Starr, Paul Carrack, Mike Rutherford, Partly a tribute to the cause and
partly a light look at the band.
Frankly, while this is a fun disc to watch, these days there are more
and more stellar concert DVDs available on the store shelves for one to add to one's
library. In the vein of this one, the Ringo All-Starr tour DVDs do this
better; while there are a number of famous names on the stage here, the
song selection could have been better, especially given that this is a
two hour performance. I realize that this is to benefit charity but I
still have to recommend that you rent it.