Plot: What’s it about?
A concert like this doesn’t happen often, as three of country music’s true legends unite on stage to prove that even as the elder statesmen, they can still deliver. Willie Nelson, Ray Price, Merle Haggard are icons of country music, part of the same brethren as Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings. In Last of the Breed, the trio performed to a lively and appreciative crowd, to create a concert that is one of a kind. Price opens the show and even at 81 years old, commands the crowd and shows impressive presence. Haggard then takes the stage and puts in a fine performance, followed by Willie Nelson for some duets. And of course, before the curtain falls, all three team up to bring home a memorable finale. If you’re a fan of country music, Last of the Breed is a unique, must see concert, it is simply that good.
I am not much on concert videos and I am also not a country music fan, but Last of the Breed still entertained me. To see such master craftsmen in action was inspiring at times, as their performances were so powerful. These might be country music’s elder statesmen, but I’d rather listen to this trio than any of the current crop of country performers. The songs performed weren’t always ones I was familiar with, but I did recognize quite a few. This is old school country to the core, so expect songs like Route 66, On the Road Again, Always on My Mind, Crazy, and similar tunes. The soulful music is brought to life by the trio of legends, but the backing musicians are also impressive. A&E’s DVD looks and sounds terrific, so as I mentioned before, even casual fans of country music will want to make sure not to miss Last of the Breed.
Video: How does it look?
The concert is presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. As expected, the image looks a little rough at times, but this is common on live performance recordings, so no real reason for concern here. The show features a lot of colorful lights and such, which this transfer handles with ease, so hues remain vivid and bright. No issues in terms of contrast, as the black levels are accurate, even in this rather dark setting. The main problems are minor ones and due to the nature of the feature, so I can’t blame it all on this transfer. I saw no compression flaws or the like either, leaving me to score this one quite well.
Audio: How does it sound?
This is a concert, so the audio is crucial and this Dolby Digital 5.1 option sounds quite good. The sound design here is impressive, I couldn’t believe how well crafted the audio was at times. While the video was close to the live experience, I have to think this sounds even better than being at the show in person. The surround use is beyond great, thanks to directional presence and just superb movement. The instruments really shine in this mix, but the vocals also sound terrific. This is just great stuff and you’ll feel like you’re at the show in person.
Supplements: What are the extras?
A half hour interview with Price, Nelson, and Haggard is the main supplement here. The three discuss country music of course, with time spent on their own influences and personal favorites. A relaxed, laid back session filmed on Nelson’s tour bus, this is a candid chat with three of country’s true legends. There is also a brief tour of Nelson’s impressive tour bus, as well as some still photos.