|Year Released||1988||Commentary Tracks||None|
|Running Time||59:54 minutes||Other Extras||None|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||MPEG||None|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||No||Dolby Digital||5.1|
|16x9 Enhancement||No||Soundtrack Languages||English (Dolby Digital 5.1, 448 Kb/s)
English (Linear PCM 48/16 2.0, 1536 Kb/s)
|Theatrical Aspect Ratio||1.33:1||
|Subtitles||English||Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Recorded live at the Aquarius Theatre in Los Angeles, this is basically a put together effort especially for the video and to be blunt does not include all of his greatest hits, which is a pity because there is plenty of space for a lot more than what we got here. The tracks on offer here are: America, September Morn, I'm Alive, Cherry Cherry, Sweet Caroline, I Am I Said, Headed For The Future, Hello Again, Heartlight, Jungletime, You Don't Bring Me Flowers, Forever In Blue Jeans, Teach Me Tonight, Golden Slumber/Carry That Weight/The End (medley) and Brother Love's Travelling Salvation Show, together with the bonus video This Time.
Overall, this is an okay concert experience, but really fairly limited in its scope.
The concert is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and of course it is not 16x9 enhanced.
Well, the source material is over ten years old so that we have to accept that sharpness and detail is not going to match more recent efforts, and the fact that this is presented in the inferior resolution of NTSC guarantees to compound the situation. The main problem is the extremely intense stage lighting which highlights Neil Diamond, to the detriment of everything else. This creates a very ghostly background that is anything but natural - and really diminishes the detail. In many respects this captures the very worst of this sort of event. Still, even though sharpness and definition can best be described as reasonable, this comes up quite well for its age. Shadow detail is respectable enough although obviously not in the same league as more recent efforts. There did not appear to be any low level noise in the transfer and this is another clear transfer.
The colours have come up fairly poorly in the transfer, as a result of the extreme lighting that really creates a wishy washy effect across the backgrounds. Still, when the lighting subdues slightly, what we are left with is decent enough if not exactly the most vibrant transfer you have ever seen. The saturation was reasonably well handled throughout, although there were a couple of instances where the intense stage lighting really worked against the transfer and the red and blue colours started to flare a little.
There was no hint of MPEG artefacts in the transfer. There was a very minor and barely noticeable problem with aliasing during the transfer, but I would suspect most will find no complaint here at all. There was no problem with film artefacts in the transfer.
There are two English audio tracks on the DVD, a Dolby Digital 5.1 track and a Linear PCM 48/16 2.0 track. I listened to (nay, endured under sufferance) the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack whilst briefly sampling the Linear PCM track, which is actually the default track on the DVD.
The music and vocals came up pretty well in the Linear PCM soundtrack, but the Dolby Digital soundtrack is an entirely different matter. Whilst you can certainly hear the vocals, there is something terribly awry when you are watching a DVD and the main lead vocal track is blaring into your ears from the rear speakers! Yes folks, the vocal track plays out of the centre channel and the rear surround channels, with absolutely no vocals out of the front surround channels. The result is a terribly weird sound balance that I found almost unlistenable, it was that unnatural. I am no expert, but it would seem to me that either the front and rear surround channels have somehow been reversed in the mix or, more likely, the vocal track has been completely omitted from the front surround channels. The problem is that no matter how it arose, it is so readily apparent that I would have thought anyone barring a profoundly deaf person would be able to notice it. There is no way that this should have managed to get through even the most cursory of quality control inspections.
Audio sync did not appear to be a problem with either of the soundtracks.
Since the surround channels of the Dolby Digital soundtrack appear to have been reversed or are otherwise somewhat deficient, resulting in a completely unnatural and unrealistic sound picture, further comment seems pointless. About the only thing of value in the soundtrack is the rather decent bass channel which rocks along quite nicely. Other than that, this is a Dolby Digital soundtrack that should be avoided at all costs. The Linear PCM soundtrack is nice and bright, a little too forward in the vocal track perhaps, but infinitely more listenable overall. Obviously lacking any sort of surround or bass channel usage, after listening to the Dolby Digital soundtrack, it is a pleasure to listen to this CD-like soundtrack.
A reasonable video transfer for its age.
A poorly mastered audio transfer.
Nothing in the extras package at all.
© Ian Morris (have a
laugh, check out the bio)
21st April 2000
|DVD||Pioneer DV-515; S-video output|
|Display||Sony Trinitron Wega 84cm. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in|
|Amplification||Yamaha RXV-795. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Energy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL|