Qello Brings Live Concerts into Your Home and Beyond

Qello seeks to corner the market on streaming concerts and music documentaries. Do they have enough diverse material in their coffers to satisfy our consumptive hunger for content?

The supermarket was quite the innovation when it emerged near the outset of the previous century by offering many a consumer’s favorite products in one place for relatively easy one-stop shopping. Some of our modern-day streaming services resemble that business model by purporting to present a wide variety of viewing and listening options. Qello Concerts by Stingray is but one of those companies who prefer to go big in their desire to be the toppermost digital supermarketplace for streaming concert and music documentary content.

In fact, Qello (for short) claims to house “the world’s largest collection of full-length concerts and music documentaries streamed on-demand to just about any digital device.” While I couldn’t exactly count every entry they have, I can confirm they house one of the biggest libraries I’ve seen under any one digital-access umbrella to date.

Like many services, Qello offers a seven-day free trial before asking you to choose to pay $11.99 a month, or $99.99 a year. The home page gets right down to business, with Qello Essentials and New & Noteworthy lists featuring a half-dozen initial suggestions in each category. After I began populating the My Qello library with a score of highlighted Favorites (and some Setlists too), the service’s algorithm recognized my proclivities and moved both the Progressive Rock and Classic Albums categories into leading positions on my home page after I had refreshed things — in effect, putting me closer to the edge of Solsbury Hill, right where I belong.

Site navigation was relatively intuitive as I scrolled through each menu for whatever I wanted to sample and devour, whether I cued things up via my Roku, laptop, or smartphone app. For one thing, I very much liked seeing the breadth evident in the 18 different categories stacked up on the Discover page.

Qello sitemasters should also be given their due for recognizing the shifting cultural tides to ensure their naming protocols are as up to date as possible. For example, recent socially motivated band-name changes for artists like Lady A (previously known as Lady Antebellum) and The Chicks (formerly The Dixie Chicks) garner results via the search engine as well as get listed as such underneath their respective individual entries, even as the full band names remain on the original packaging elements shown above each entry. Good call there.

Concert Time
Now it was time for me to access some fine concert action. First up, I went to Lindsey Buckingham, the onetime Fleetwood Mac sonic architect, and his Live at Soundstage performance of the quite apropos “Murrow Turning Over in His Grave.” Naturally, I chose the 1080p setting for maximum visual quality, which evidenced Buckingham’s light stubble and graying temples quite vividly whenever there was a close-up on his determined face. I also appreciated seeing the tension movements of the tautly stretched skin between Buckingham’s guitar-string-planted right thumb and string-flicking forefinger during the massive solo section that ends the song, as well as hearing the clarity of the shaker and electronic-drum detail supplied by percussionist Taku Hirano.

Shifting gears, I was happy to locate The Tragically Hip’s In Bobcaygeon: A Film by Andy Keen, and immediately cued up the acoustic-driven “Bobcaygeon” before dialing back a few chapters to marvel at vocalist Gord Downie’s on-the-spot lyrical improvs during the sinewy-smoky intro to, and furious tail end of, “Grace, Too.” Next, Sheryl Crow dazzled me with her resigned vocal defeat during “My Favorite Mistake” in Miles From Memphis Live at the Pantages Theatre, which also featured supplemental organ fills placed back in the mix as they should be, as Crow’s own occasional keyboard accents became more noticeable in the song’s back half after the bridge. Finally, I marveled at the stunning black-and-white footage of Ray Charles and the way his hands moved effortlessly over the piano keys all throughout Live in France 1961: Antibes Jazz Festival, most especially during his stripped-down take on “Georgia on My Mind.” A true musical genius at work.

Sadly, I could find no entries in the Qello coffers for personal favorite live acts like Midnight Oil, Porcupine Tree, and King Crimson. Thankfully, I was able to access Dream Theater’s Live at Luna Park in order to get a proper injection of their signature prog-metal mashup style, as witnessed by the lengthy workouts on both “Outcry” and “Metropolis — Part I: The Miracle and the Sleeper.”

The Qello documentary smorgasbord is also quite choice, going well beyond the usual suspects. Quick Tip — check out Strange Fruit: The Beatles’ Apple Records if you’re interested in wandering off the already well-beaten Fabs docu-path. If, like me, you just can’t get enough of concert and music doc content, then by all means, please wave a hale and hearty hello to Qello.

Visit qello.com for more information.

THE AUTHOR
Mike Mettler, a.k.a. The SoundBard, is the music editor of Sound & Vision.

COMMENTS
brenro's picture

But what is the audio?

afelcandy's picture

Just raising the same question: which audio codec does QELLO provide ?

Al Griffin's picture
192 Kpbs AAC stereo for high resolution (greater than 480p) and 128 Kpbs AAC stereo for low resolution (lower than 480p).
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