The Strat Pack - Live In Concert (with David Gilmour) Bluray
Written by Matt   
Friday, 12 December 2008

strat pack bluray packshotThe Miller Strat Pack concert in September 2004 featured David Gilmour alongside a whole host of top musicians at London's Wembley Arena. The concert alone raised £175,000 (US$330,000) for the Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy charity, and this was added to by the DVD that came out in 2005.

The stunning show has just been released on Bluray disc on November 17th in the UK, and December 9th in the US. This high definition version includes previously unseen material - rehearsal and performance footage, and interviews - that had to be cut from the original DVD, being added as bonus features on the Bluray.

With nearly four hours of great music and other stuff, this is a thoroughly entertaining disc, and (in our minds) a very worthwhile upgrade to the standard definition version...

Some of you will have read our review of the DVD, and many of the comments we made relating to that, hold true for this new, high-def version, which includes everything that was on the DVD, plus a fair amount more. So, for brevity, we won't rehash all that commentary and information - instead, we'll concentrate on what is different or new on this version.

Strat Pack DVD

Visually, the Bluray is stunning. The picture is uniformly excellent, and very detailed; the colours are really punchy, as can be seen early on in the show - Hank Marvin's red Strat really zings visually in comparison to the slightly compressed, slightly dull version seen on the DVD.

There is some grain evident in a number of shots, but if anything this adds to the atmosphere, and was clearly a decision made by ex-Hipgnosis founder, Aubrey "Po" Powell, not to have the show overlit just for the benefit of the cameras.

[NB: The screengrabs here are taken from the DVD version, not the Bluray]

The sound quality, to our ears, offers a clear upgrade over an already great sounding recording, with some added depth and atmosphere, particularly from the dts-HD Master Audio soundtrack.

Turning now to the extra goodies that the Bluray has, this includes rehearsal footage of Hank Marvin and David Gilmour, an interview with David, along with a 30 minute collection of interviews with a number of the key Strat Pack performers. This includes the likes of Mike Rutherford, Joe Walsh and Brian May explaining why the Strat is such an important instrument, and demonstrating its versatility.

Strat Pack DVD

Regrettably, they have decided to limit David's rehearsal footage to just over a minute, and no longer. It features the solo at the conclusion of Sorrow, which is very nicely done but does make you wish that they've brought us the whole song from the rehearsals. His interview fares better, lasting around five minutes, and is an interesting chat with him coping admirably with some fairly hard-to-answer questions. Example: "What is the right sound for a guitar to make?". The interview has David discussing the event itself, his guitar heroes, and his life in guitars.

All the interview and rehearsal footage is presented in standard definition (with David's rehearsal footage in particular looking like it was shot on a handheld camcorder) but nevertheless, we'd rather have it in lesser quality than not at all!

Definitely a Bluray worth snapping up - whether or not you already own the 2005 DVD. With a range of good performances, even better picture and sound quality, a handful of fairly short but interesting extra features, AND benefiting a worthy charity: what more could you want?

The UK edition appeared in stores on November 17th, and are offering it at time of writing at a very tempting 45% off normal retail price... The UK edition is also available as an import from Amazon Germany, and Amazon France. The North American edition arrived in stores on December 9th, and you can save at least 30% on normal retail price by using our special links at Amazon US/International, or Amazon Canada.

Strat Pack DVD