DVD/CD Review: Carole King - Live at Montreux 1973

Previously-unreleased concert, King's first outside the U.S., comes to light.

By , Contributor
Ten-time Grammy winner, 75 million records sold, the subject of an award-winning biographical Broadway musical, and of course the writer and/or co-writer of dozens of pop classics. "Iconic" is an often overused word these days, but singer-songwriter Carole King truly deserves the label. King offers up a fine, multi-textured performance in Eagle Rock's new Live at Montreux 1973, available as a two-disc package that includes both DVD and CD. (Those interested in audio-only can also find a standalone CD release, as well as vinyl.)

What's extraordinary about this previously-unreleased concert video is how intitmate it feels. This is King's first non-U.S. performance, but she is strong and confident throughout. The set list features material from Tapestry, Fantasy, and Writer. Right off the bat, King tears into solo performances of classics including "I Feel the Earth Move," backing herself with keyboard. This was 1973 and the standard-def camera work can't help but feel decidedly low-budget by today's standards. Still, the unfussy presentation allows for full attention on the performer.

After five numbers alone, a large ensemble joins King and the show becomes even more lively, what with horns and a grooving rhythm section adding to the mix. After a gorgeous "It's Too Late," most of the then-new Fantasy album is worked through, with outstanding musicianship supporting King's ever-expressive vocals. Closing the show with classics "You've Got a Friend" and "(You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman" is pure icing on a very satsifying cake.

Again, Eagle Rock has issued Live at Montreux 1973 as a live album, but the value lies in the DVD/CD set, packaged neatly in a standard-sized jewel case. This performance is previously unreleased and now makes a welcome addition to the official Carole King canon.

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Chaz Lipp writes for The Morton Report.

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