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Eric Clapton - The Crossroads Guitar Festival

Dallas, Texas - June 4-6, 2004 - Reprise R2 970378 - 210 min.

Geetarz Comments:

What a waste. Whose idea was this? Granted, the idea of taking two full days (and a night) of music, and condensing them into a format that will sell to the general public is a difficult feat. But this is ridiculous. For starters, it seems as though someone from the Gen-X "ridlin generation" with the typical seven-second attention span was in charge of track arragnements, as they are in no discernable order. The rational thing to have done would have been to put them in chronological order, unless there was some compelling artistic reason to do otherwise - and there was none in this case. And, as someone who was at the festival and witnessed most of the event firsthand, I must say that the tracks chosen are far from the best available from the weekend. Compare this with the fantastic Live Aid DVD released at about the same time, and you will see that it could have been so much more.

But the real sad thing here, is the strikingly poor video quality. Granted, it's definitely not BAD. But for a high-dollar event supposedly filmed in quality, it's also surprisingly NOT good. In particular, the encoding on the discs (this text refers to the NTSC version) is poor, with lots of field bob and shimmer that could be repaired even on a low end editing station available to the public. It's almost as if the event was recorded in high quality, but the event was mixed and compressed by some cut-rate outfit, or perhaps some teenager using free software they downloaded from the internet.

Criticisms aside, this is, unfortunately, all we have of this event, and likely, all we will have. It's certainly not bad - the complaint is, that it's also not very good, when given the roster of talent both on *and* off the stage, this could have been a knockout punch. As it is, I wouldn't necessarily suggest this to be an essential purchase to any but the more devoted fans.

Is there anything really good I can say about the release? Yes, two things. Number one, although the content authoring is poor, the production design of the box and discs is nicely done and attractive. Second, tbe authoring folks *do* get bonus points as they included a bonus track on the DVD, hidden in an "Easter Egg". To access this 'secret' version of "Layla", on a settop DVD player, go to Title 2, Chapter 2, and hit the "back" button twice. This may not work for all players, and it is easier with a PC based player. If you use Windows Media Player, on the right part of the window you click on Title 2, and select Chapter 1. With PowerDvd, right click on the Play button then select the same thing (Title 2, Chapter 1), in the menu that appears. Enjoy !