On the heels of their holiday album of the same name comes Lady Antebellum's Blu-ray special, Live: On This Winter's Night. This concert by the country superstars was filmed at Nashville's Schermerhorn Symphony Center and showcases the band delivering several holiday classics, as well as their own original material, all while accompanied by a 40-piece orchestra.
The Blu-ray opens with vintage family photos and Christmas videos from the band and has its members reminiscing about past holiday seasons in between songs. The musical portion opens with "A Holly Jolly Christmas" that has a jazzy, big band arrangement while featuring strong, country-tinged harmonies from the band. It is through these harmonies that the band makes an otherwise traditional arrangement their own.
An original number, "On This Winter's Night," follows. A pretty track, it features guitarist Dave Haywood on ukulele. Strings and lush orchestration back the classic track, "I'll Be Home For Christmas," while the band takes more liberties with "Silver Bells," changing the tempo and adding ringing electric guitar over orchestral and band swells, making for one of the more interesting performances of the evening.
Hillary Scott takes lead vocals on a jazzy version of "Let It Snow" that features more of the band's trademark harmonies while co-lead singer, Charles Kelley, does his best to channel his inner Elvis, leading a blues rock rendition of "Blue Christmas." Kelley also takes the lead on a strong "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)." While Lady Antebellum is a country group, they aren't afraid to delve into rock or blues on occasion and this number is no exception.
Droning strings and guitar set the stage for the show-closing "Silent Night (Lord Of My Life)." Scott sings lead with Kelley offering counterpoint vocals in this fine arrangement. The crowd gets a chance to sing along at the end and participates in full, making for a great show closer.
The video is presented in 1080i High Definition Widescreen 16:9 (1.78:1) and looks great. Audio options include DTS HD Master Audio and LPCM Stereo. Bonus features include acoustic versions of several tracks, the video for "A Holly Jolly Christmas" and behind the scenes footage.
Live: On This Winter's Night is a fine companion piece to the band's holiday album of the same name, but also an excellent standalone release for fans of holiday music. The group seems to relish the opportunity to play these songs with the orchestral accompaniment and that joy comes through in their performance.