One of the main takeaways about the film This Is 40 (other than how long it seemed to feel) was how the Paul Rudd character and by extension, the film's director Judd Apatow were fans of bands that had perhaps been overlooked during their contemporary period and they should be given ample attention now. And with Apatow's fondness for the band Graham Parker and The Rumour evident in the movie, the concert Apatow filmed for the movie has been released as a standalone Blu-ray disc, titled This Is Live.
For those unfamiliar with Parker, he, along with Bob Andrews, Brinsley Schwartz, Martin Belmont, Andrew Bodnar and Stephen Goulding comprised the previously named band, who released several albums in the late 1970s and 1980 before Andrews' departure from the group helped lead to the band's dissolution. Parker would continue recording and releasing albums throughout the following three decades before the Rumour decided to reunite.
Upon their reunion, they discovered that they still had some fans of some visibility in the entertainment landscape, among them Apatow and podcaster/comedian Adam Carolla. When Apatow wanted to bring them into the movie it seemed to be kismet. After all, the arc of Parker and the band's career mirrored that of Rudd's character. And in Los Angeles in September, 2011, the band went onstage for their first appearance in decades. The setlist, while short, contained a mix of songs that were both standards and songs from the band's recent album. The songs are as follows:
"Nobody Hurts You"
"Long Emotional Ride"
"She Rocks Me"
"Passion is No Ordinary Word"
"Stop Cryin' About The Rain"
"Three Chords Good"
The 55-minute set is decent, and for fans of Parker and the Rumour the show has a nice mix of the standards and new stuff and all are performed capably, as if they never left the stage. The main problem with this title is that there is a disconnect between what has been seen elsewhere and what is not included on this disc, compared to what should be. I am not entirely sure what Apatow's intent of this release is, past the fact that if folks liked Parker and the band then perhaps the disc is a no-brainer. The concert sounds good, the music is as good now as it was back then and is sorely needed in the pop-drenched music landscape.
However, one would assume that when Apatow and Shout! put this disc together, they assumed that the Venn Diagram of fans of Parker combined with fans of Apatow's would snap this disc up quicker than one could say ‘dick joke' or ‘British Springsteen.' The fact of the matter is that if one is a Parker/Rumour fan, the extras for 40 include not only almost half of this performance, but also interviews with the band members as they prepared for their new album and the show itself. That nobody thought to put those extras on this disc, or thought to record unique ones for the show, appears to be a massive error in judgment, or just a flat-out good that leaves a Graham Parker-sized hole in what is a complete enjoyment of the disc.
While This Is Live is an entertaining yet albeit brief stroll through the discography of Graham Parker and the Rumor, one seems to be forced to either watch This Is 40 or perform a "Something" search to learn more about why such a stroll was welcomes by so many people. And if one cannot even make the journey worthwhile for those unfamiliar with Apatow, the release of just a concert seems insulting to the fans of Parker, and those would appear to be the ones that would deserve it the most.
Shout! releases This Is Live with an AVC-encoded 2.35:1 widescreen presentation, and the overall high-definition results are generally as expected. Image detail is average, and the white lights of the stage burn brightly and naturally upon its subjects. Black levels in the club are fair though have a moment or two of crush and there does appear to be occasional noise in the image. Considering the cameras are shot and stay in the nightclub, the Blu-ray disc is about what I expected. There is an accompanying standard definition disc of mention as well.
Your choice of a six-channel DTS HD-MA lossless track or a two-channel PCM stereo one, either one not sounding bad in the least. There is very little dialogue between songs, so the listener gets to appreciate the material, which sounds well-balanced and immersive, with little in the way of channel panning or directional effects. The listener is put into the center of the soundstage rather nicely and makes for an encompassing experience when you hear it.
Nada. Hopefully, what was covered in the main portion of the review explains my exasperation about the disc, but for the tl;dr version of this, why not include the extras from the disc here? Because money (likely), that's why.
The thoughts behind releasing the Graham Parker and The Rumour concert as a standalone disc and calling it an Apatow-esque This Is Live are admirable, yet when one gets down to brass tacks, feels like more of a complementary piece to Judd Apatow's film rather than what it should be, which is a disc all on its own that gets into the band mythology. Technically the disc is solid and lacks anything on the supplements side. For fans of the band it is a no-brainer, and for those who saw Apatow's film and are curious about the act it is worth a spin. But for those new to either idea? Definitely rent and make your own decision.