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Move Me Brightly: A Documentary Concert Film Celebrating Jerry Garcia's 70th Birthday - Blu-ray Review

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Move Me Brightly - Blu-ray Review

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4 stars

It was the cult of personality that – for a long, long time – kept me away from totally embracing Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead.  It was the tie-dye worshippers; the Dead Head antics; the endless parade of freaks celebrating their stoned memories of a by-gone era and I just didn’t “get” it.  Fortunately, age and experience does a lot to the bastards we are as know-it-all teenagers.

I was in my late twenties when I finally came around and understood the reality of Garcia from the myth.  And I love that my journey with the Dead is still evolving.  Move Me Brightly: A Documentary Concert Film Celebrating Jerry Garcia's 70th Birthday will be, for some, the film that brings them into the cult.  For others, it will be a gentle groove that rolls easy more than it rocks.  Either way, Move Me Brightly is a great couple of hours in the presence of some fine live musicianship.

Garcia’s right hand man, Bob Weir is joined on stage by Donna-Jean Godchaux, Phil Lesh and Mike Gordon as they celebrate their fallen leader on the event of his 70th birthday.  While there are some nice interviews about Jerry Garcia – who passed away 18 years ago – from his brother and his daughters, the documentary is really about the joy of some of his most memorable songs.  Weir, with superb authority, tackles “The Days Between” and “Shakedown Street” and guests cover some of Garcia’s best work.

It’s a pretty solid cast of musicians that join the remaining Grateful Dead members on the stage, too.  Half of Chris Robinson Brotherhood – Adam MacDougall and Neal Casal – are there and so is Laurel Canyon revivalist Jonathan Wilson.  Cass Mccombs, Harper Simon (Paul's son) join in on some of the tunes and members of The Hold Steady, Vampire Weekend, The Cardinals, and Yellowbirds are present as well.

Other musicians like David Hidalgo, Carlos Santana, both Dead drummers, Perry Farrell, Dave Schools and Mike Campbell all spill their love for Jerry without tears and much dignity.  There are no recollections – archival or new – from Merle Saunders, though.  And no David Grisman.  That’s certainly a letdown; however, the film recovers with some fine remembrances.  Maybe you know some of the stories and maybe you are hearing them for the first time.  The interviews are conducted by Luke Wilson and his responses are perfect.

It’s hard to believe how little of Jerry Garcia is actually seen in the documentary.  He would probably want it that way anyway.  Let the music do the talking.  I do not think Garcia would be opposed to that idea as a birthday celebration at all.

{2jtab: Blu-ray Review}

Move Me Brightly - Blu-ray Review

Component Grades
Movie

Blu-ray Disc
4 stars

4 stars



Blu-ray Experience
4 stars

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - October 29, 2013
Screen Formats: 1.78:1
Subtitles
: None
Audio:
English: Dolby TrueHD 5.1; English: Dolby TrueHD 2.0
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Single disc (1 BD)

This hybrid documentary-concert feature from Eagle Vision is presented on Blu-ray with an AVC encoded 1080i transfer in 1.78:1. The concert footage is richly detailed.  The proof is in the amount of dust mites swirling around the band all throughout the performances.  Contrast is strong and black levels are inky.  Due to some sharp stage lighting, there’s an accurate-looking saturation to most of the colors.  This a great looking live concert release.  The sound is presented with two choices for delivery: a Dolby TrueHD mix in either 2.0 or 5.1.  I sampled the 2.0 and watched the movie in 5.1; both of these tracks sound fantastically clear and well detailed.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • None

Special Features:

There is only one section of supplemental material but it is worth your time.  It’s an hour of bonus performances.  The extra songs are “Dupree's Diamond Blues”, “Friend of the Devil”, “Tennessee Jed”, “Ship of Fools”, “Bird Song”, and “New Speedway Boogie”.

  • Bonus Performances (61 min)

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