Let the rejoicing begin! A live Carpenters release in the U.S.!.
But don't get too excited - this isn't a "real" release. Yes, it's a DVD of a live performance, but it's not a legitimate release, and it wasn't made from the broadcast masters. It's a version taken from a Japanese television broadcast, and the quality is moderate, at best.
The concert itself is a 1971 broadcast from the BBC in the UK. Most of the "live-in-the-studio" performance is actually performed live, but a couple of tracks ("Help" and the "Bacharach/David Medley") are just lip-synched. Still, it's lovely to hear the live performances, especially "And When He Smiles," for which no studio recording was ever made (the version from this very concert was enhanced and used as the closing track of As Time Goes By).
The last song on the DVD, "Superstar," is from a different televised concert; it is from approximately the same time period, but the video quality is extremely poor for this one clip.
My biggest complaint about the release is the audio. Rather than use the original monophonic broadcast soundtrack, the DVD contains an artificially-enhanced stereo soundtrack, giving the audio a hollow, unfocused sound. It's very much like the "electronically rechanneled for stereo" sound used to update monophonic albums in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Not a good sound.
I do not support the production or purchase of "bootleg" materials, but we Carpenters fans have to take what we can get. If Richard Carpenter would authorize a legitimate release of this (or any) concert, using the unedited original broadcast masters as the source, we would all happily buy it...
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