Blu-ray Review: CMA Awards Live – Greatest Moments: 2008 – 2015

As a viewer, the least important part of a music award show is the presenting of awards. Unless a nominee is a relative, a high school friend, a performer who visited you in the hospital or yourself, you can’t root too hard for someone to take home the hardware. But why do you watch? When it comes to a music awards show, it’s the music. You want to see the songs performed on a big stage with a chance for something special to happen that night that might not happen when they come to your town. CMA Awards Live – Greatest Moments: 2008 – 2015 contains 25 performances from the ceremony in high definition.

Fans of will be excited to get quite a few performances from Taylor Swift from her time in Nashville. This includes “Fifteen” from 2009 when she sat on a stool in the crowd and played an acoustic guitar as big as her. She lets her fans handle to chorus. She returns in 2012 with “Begin Again.” She goes with a French cafĂ© set and a dress that’s a rather sophisticated cut compared. Strange to think that you’re watching a country music award show with a photo of the Eiffel Tower projected on the stage. 2013 has her joined on stage for a sit down session with Alison Krauss, Vince Gill, Sam Bush, Edgar Meyer and Eric Darken. It’s also a bit out of the norm since the song opens with talk of a Maserati car instead of a pick up truck. She was expanding on the imagery that you’d expect. Swift took advantage of the performance part of the CMAs by not merely playing on the stage as if it was just another gig on the tour.

Speaking of special events, there’s quite a few team ups that made people want to tune in for the night. Brooks & Dunn share space with Reba McEntire for “Cowgirls Don’t Cry.” Alan Jackson steps in with the Zac Brown Band for “As She’s Walking Away.” Jason Aldean pleads with Kelly Clarkson with “Don’t You Wanna Stay. Miranda Lambert and Sheryl Crow get the thrill of adding their voices to Loretta Lynn on “Coal Miner’s Daughter.” George Strait and Alan Jackson tackle “He Stopped Loving Her Today.” Justin Timberlake stretches his genres with Chris Stapleton on “Tennessee Whiskey/Drink You Away.”

For nearly two hours, the cream of CMA Performances are presented in 1080p. By eliminating the awards element, you get to enjoy the performances without questioning the taste of the voting body. Doesn’t that make everyone a winner when you share in a great musical moment and not merely watch a star get another piece of hardware for their cluttered trophy room? CMA Awards Live – Greatest Moments: 2008 – 2015 gives us the true special times.

The video is 1.78:1 anamorphic. Many people who didn’t have an HDTV back in 2008 can finally see the true resolution of the performances. The audio is both 5.1 DTS-HD MA and 2.0 DTS-HD MA. This is great if you didn’t have a surround sound system installed at the house for the 2010 ceremony.

Robert Deaton Interview (27:00) has the executive producer of the CMA Awards talk about how he grew up loving the ceremony as a kid. He did root for his favorite acts to win the big awards like Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton. He won two Awards for music videos before he moved into producing the show since 2007. He talks about bringing together artists for that one night to make something unique happen on stage.

Record Breakers: Female Vocalist of the Year (1:11) has Miranda Lambert talk about winning her sixth award for vocalist of the year. She gets a hug from Taylor Swift.

Entertain ‘Em, Blake! (2:05) is from when Blake Shelton won Entertainer of the Year which is the MVP of the ceremony. He speaks of the importance of the award.

Time Life presents CMA Awards Live – Greatest Moments: 2008 – 2015. Starring: Taylor Swift, Blake Shelton, Miranda Lambert and Reba McEntire. Rated: Unrated. Running Time: 139 minutes. Released: March 3, 2020.

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