9 holiday concert DVDs that will make the season sparkle
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With live concerts still out of the holiday picture this season due to the continued threat of COVID-19 people are looking for any way they can to spark a festive feeling. If you’re cooped up at home, a live concert on DVD may be the best replacement for the usual holiday Christmas concerts and caroling. Whether you’re a rock and roll fan, someone who enjoys classic holiday tunes or even opera, there’s a holiday concert DVD that’s perfect for you.
Here are nine of our favorite holiday concert performances. While we’re recommending the DVD version so you can watch at home while you trim the tree, most of these concerts are also available on CD or as a digital download.
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‘CHRISTMAS ROCKS! LIVE’ BY BRIAN SETZER ORCHESTRA
In this Blu-Ray DVD, Brian Setzer — of Stray Cats fame — and his band, the Brian Setzer Orchestra, will have you swinging and jumping in time with their lively performance of holiday classics, such as “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” “Jingle Bells” and “Here Comes Santa Claus.”
Featuring 18 songs, including the hits “Stray Cat Strut,” “Jump, Jive An’ Wail” and “Rock This Town,” this is the closest experience you can get to seeing the band perform live. The video, which really captures the band’s concert at the historic Granada Theatre in Santa Barbara, is a great way to celebrate the holidays and even become one of your new Christmas traditions.
Who will enjoy this concert: Fans of Brian Setzer, the Stray Cats and rockabilly music
‘CHRISTMAS LIVE’ BY MANNHEIM STEAMROLLER
Featuring favorites from Mannheim Steamroller’s best-selling Christmas albums, fans will be hooked on the group’s “classical meets rock and roll” rendition of holiday tunes. Filmed live in 1997, this classic DVD includes “Joy to the World” from their “Christmas in the Aire” album and Renaissance-inspired songs, such as “Wassail, Wassail” and “In Dulci Jubilo.” On the screen, you’ll see fireworks and a Renaissance feast adding a visual dimension to the songs. And, as a Mannheim Steamroller tradition, the concert ends with the fan-favorite “Going to Another Place.”
Who will enjoy this concert: Fans of Mannheim Steamroller or anyone who appreciates neoclassical and rock music
‘HOME FOR CHRISTMAS: LIVE FROM DUBLIN’ BY CELTIC WOMAN
With timeless holiday favorites sung by angelic voices in the group’s unmistakable signature sound, “Home for Christmas: Live from Dublin” won’t disappoint Celtic Woman fans. The DVD showcases their concert at Dublin’s Helix Theatre, which was directed by Russell Thomas and accompanied by a 36-piece orchestra and the Philharmonic Choir.
Emmy-nominated music director David Downes also adds his flair to the performances. Highlights include “Joy to the World,” “Silent Night,” “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear” and “I’ll Be Home for Christmas.” There’s even a bonus of acoustic performances included in the DVD.
Who will enjoy this concert: Anyone who’s intrigued by Irish musical ensembles and loves all-women bands
‘A CARNEGIE HALL CHRISTMAS CONCERT’ BY VARIOUS ARTISTS
Classic opera-lovers will be blown away by this DVD, featuring conductor Andre Previn, opera singers Frederica von Stade and Kathleen Battle, and jazz trumpeter Wynton Marsalis. It comprises 30 musical pieces, including “American Songs” by Battle and von Stade, along with other classic Christmas songs in English and some other languages. “A Carnegie Hall Christmas Concert” was part of the “Great Performances” series that first aired on PBS in 1991.
Who will enjoy this concert: Aficionados of opera and traditional Christmas songs
‘THE JOHNNY CASH CHRISTMAS SPECIALS’
Originally aired on CBS, this collection of Christmas specials from the late 1970s will make a perfect addition to your Johnny Cash collection. The DVDs feature a nice mix of Christmas classics and country-western music, such as “Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree” with June Cash and Tony Orlando, “Blue Suede Shoes” by Carl Perkins, and “Pretty Woman” by Roy Orbison.
Who will enjoy this concert: Johnny Cash fans, or those looking for a little country music nostalgia
Buy here: “The Johnny Cash Christmas Specials”
‘ANDREA BOCELLI AND DAVID FOSTER: MY CHRISTMAS’
A fun concert that’s set to become a holiday classic, “Andrea Bocelli and David Foster: My Christmas” brings together two of the biggest names in the music industry for the first time ever. You’ll enjoy Bocelli’s voice and Foster’s arrangement in a variety of songs, which range from the traditional Christmas carols, such as “Silent Night,” to the more modern Christmas songs, like “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town.”
Of course, Bocelli’s operatic voice is the main draw in songs such as “Adeste Fidelis” and “Angels We Have Heard on High.” Plus, guest stars blend their own voices nicely with Bocelli’s in songs such as “What Child Is This” with Mary J. Blige. The Muppets even make a special appearance singing “Jingle Bells.” The concert was recorded live at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles.
Who will enjoy this concert: Andrea Bocelli and David Foster fans as well as those who enjoy old-fashioned Christmas music
‘CHRISTMAS GLORY FROM WESTMINSTER’ WITH ANDREA BOCELLI AND CHARLOTTE CHURCH
A DVD that will be replayed over and over again, “Christmas Glory from Westminster” will easily become your new Christmas Eve tradition. Set in Westminster Abbey, the DVD features British singer-songwriter Charlotte Church, the Westminster Abbey Choir and more.
Highlights include Andrea Bocelli’s moving performance of “Mille Cherubini in Coro,” Charlotte Church and Bryn Terfel’s rendition of “Silent Night,” and poetic readings from Greta Sacchi and Joan Plowright. Lots of good songs and delightful performances make this DVD such a memorable experience.
Who will enjoy this concert: Fans of Andrea Bocelli, Charlotte Church and the other artists featured here; also recommended for those who enjoy traditional Christmas songs
‘A LAWRENCE WELK FAMILY CHRISTMAS’
Hosted by “Champagne Lady” Norma Zimmer, this special holiday reunion will lift your spirits and get you into the right mood for the holiday celebrations. The special was filmed live at the Champagne Theatre in Branson, Missouri, and features more than 30 songs, including “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” performed by The Lennon Sisters, “Christmas Waltz” by Bobby and Elaine, “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear” by Anacani, “The Skater’s Waltz” by Jo Ann Castle and more. This DVD provides a taste of the old days with lots of traditional Christmas carols and scenic holiday sets.
Who will enjoy this concert: Old-timers who remember “The Lawrence Welk Show” and the various artists he featured
Buy here: “A Lawrence Welk Family Christmas”
‘THE MANHATTAN TRANSFER: THE CHRISTMAS CONCERT”’
Released in 2006, The Manhattan Transfer’s “The Christmas Concert” features 11 songs, including solos by each member, recorded in Dolby 5.1 surround sound. The DVD contains songs from the group’s two Christmas albums, such as “Goodnight” (written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney), “Christmas Is Coming,” “Good King Wenceslas” and more. The DVD also includes a bonus feature — a rare interview of the group.
Who will enjoy this concert: Fans of the award-winning jazz vocal quartet and those who enjoy jazzy Christmas tunes
Featured photo courtesy of Amazon.
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