Pat Metheny Group – The Way Up, Live (Blu-ray) (2006)

by | Apr 13, 2007 | DVD & Blu-ray Video Reviews | 0 comments

Pat Metheny Group – The Way Up, Live (Blu-ray) (2006)

Performers: Pat Metheny, guitars; Lyle Mays, piano & keyboards; Steve Rodby, acoustic & electric bass; Antonio Sanchez, drums & electric bass; Cuong Vu, trumpet/vocals/percussion/guitar; Gregoire Maret, harmonica/guitar/vocals /percussion/electric bass; Nando Lauria, guitar/vocals/mis. percussion instruments
Studio: Eagle Vision EVBRD 33014
Video: 1.78:1 widescreen color for 16:9, 1080i
Audio: DTS HD 5.1, DD 5.1, PCM 2.0 (Extras: PCM stereo)
Subtitles: English, German, Spanish, French, Italian, Dutch, Portuguese
Extras: Interview with Pat Metheny in B&W
Length: 90 minutes
Rating: *****

Great to have a thrilling music video in Blu-ray; only seems a bit unfortunate this one doesn’t have an uncompressed six-channel audio option, which would shine even more on a music presentation than with the typical feature film.  Pat and Lyle composed for the Metheny Group this whole-evening instrumental statement, which consists of an opening and three parts. In its long form it incorporates their musical reactions to some of the pressing issues the band has come up against in its world travels to many countries. Metheny speaks about that in the excellent interview extra.  The original studio recording was a big hit in 2004. Their original intent was to create the work exclusively in the recording studio with no plans for its live performance. But eventually a six-month world tour became a reality and they had to figure out how to configure the complex work for live performance before audiences around the world.

The band found their audiences in Seoul, South Korea were so enthusiastically informed about and excited about their music that they decided to make their live video at that venue. It depicts the band performing The Way Up live.  The composition was constructed to be a showcase of what each member of the band was good at. Metheny wanted “to do a piece that was all of a piece.”  He mentions in the interview how they began to take advantage of the variety of textures and timbres offering by some of the new electronic technology. As a direct result, they found that created  need for more acoustic instrumental contributions, such as percussionist Nando Lauria. The band felt they had a line of subtle communication with their audiences, no matter the culture or language involved, because their music was entirely instrumental, with no text whatever.

While the concert was playing I switched my Samsung 56″ DLP display between 480i & p, 720p & 1080i & p. Each step up improved the resolution and image detail a noticeable amount, with the difference between 1080i and 1080p being the least due to the disc being in 1080i.  Small details such as keys on Lyle May’s many keyboards became sharper and more distinct as the line count was progressively increased. I hadn’t though Blu-ray would bring such a noticeable improvement to music videos, but it clearly does.

 – John Sunier

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