George Harrisons Live in Japan Arrives in SACD Surround Sound [HFR]

Capitol Records released a new 2 disc, Single Inventory Surround Sound SACD edition of Harrison’s Live in Japan album earlier today. The new version of the album features newly remastered SACD Surround Sound, SACD Stereo and CD Stereo versions of the music on the disc. The Super Audio CD serves as both the SACD and CD edition of the album.

The disc features Harrison performing favorites from both his time with The Beatles as well from his solo career. On the disc, he is accompanied by his band and an all star cast of guests including Eric Clapton, Andy Fairweather Low, Ray Cooper and Greg Phillinganes.

Album Musicians
George Harrison – Guitar & Vocals
Steve Ferrone – Drums
Ray Cooper – Percussion
Greg Phillinganes – Keyboards & Backup Vocals
Chuck Leavell – Keyboards & Backup Vocals
Nathan East – Bass & Backup Vocals
Andy Fairweather Low – Guitar & Backup Vocals
Eric Clapton – Guitar & Backup Vocals
Tessa Niles – Vocals
Katie Kissoon – Vocals

Album Selections
Disc 1
1. Want To Tell You
2. Old Brown Shoe
3. Taxman
4. Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Earth)
5. If I Needed Someone
6. Something
7. What Is Life
8. Dark Horse
9. Piggies
10. Got My Mind Set On You

Disc 2
1. Cloud 9
2. Here Comes The Sun
3. My Sweet Lord
4. All Those Years Ago
5. Cheer Down
6. Devil’s Radio
7. Isn’t It A Pity
8. While My Guitar Gently Weeps
9. Roll Over Beethoven

The album’s Surround Sound mix features Harrison and the band in the front channels with the surround channels used for audience applause and hall ambience. In short, a fairly standard approach to a live concert album in Surround Sound.

Live in Japan features a 5.1 Surround Sound mix by John Etchells and Damon Iddins at The Astoria in London. The SACD Mastering was done by Doug Sax and the SACD Authoring was handled by Gus Skinas of Sony’s SACD Project Team in Boulder, Colorado.

Packaging Notes
The new Live in Japan album comes in the familiar Super Jewel Box with rounded corners that houses most SACD releases. On the cover of the disc in the upper left hand corner is a yellow sticker noting “Double Disc Super Audio CD. Digitally re-mastered for both SACD and CD players. 12-page collector’s booklet, 5.1 surround sound and stereo hybrid.” On the back you’ll see the familiar Super Audio CD, DSD and Multi-Ch/Stereo logos.

Inside you will find a spindle that stacks both of the SACD discs, very similar to the packaging of the Allison Krauss Live set on Rounder Records. Looking at the discs, they indicate in the inner ring that they were made by Sony’s DADC replication plant.

Harrison’s Box Set
Also worth a mention is that Capitol is reissuing the balance of George Harrison’s Dark Horse catalog today. These discs will appear individually as Stereo CDs as well as in a box set that includes the 2-disc SACD Set of Live in Japan as well as the individual albums recorded in the studio. The boxed set is called George Harrison : The Dark Horse Years 1976-1992 (Capitol Records CDP 7243-5-97051).

A 2-Disc SACD Set for $9.99?
On its release day, several retailers offered the new Live in Japan album for a sale price. But no one will beat the pricing at Best Buy, a high volume Home Entertainment retailer based in Minneapolis. Their price for the 2-Disc Super Audio CD was only $9.99 today. I suspect this was a pricing error made at their headquarters since it appeared in stores throughout the chain. But it is a lucky break for fans of the singer who may get quite a deal on this new release – that is until Best Buy realizes their error.

Besides Best Buy, the Live in Japan SACD is widely available – both at retail stores like Tower Records (where it is on sale for $24.99 through March 3rd) and at web sites that carry Super Audio CD discs including Acoustic Sounds, Elusive Disc, Music Direct and Red Trumpet.