Hell Freezes Over

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Details At A Glance

Category Music / Concert Theatrical Trailer(s) No
Rating Other Trailer(s) No
Year Released 1994 Commentary Tracks No
Running Time 98:46 minutes Other Extras Main Menu Animation
Featurette - Behind The Scenes
Audio Only (DTS) Track - Seven Bridges Road
RSDL/Flipper Dual Layered
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region 2,4 Director Beth McCarthy
Warner Vision
Starring Glen Frey
Don Henley
Don Felder
Joe Walsh
Timothy B. Schmit
RPI $39.95 Music The Eagles

Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame MPEG None
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None Dolby Digital None
16x9 Enhancement No Soundtrack Languages English (Linear PCM 48/16 2.0, 1536 Kb/s)
English (DTS 5.1)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio 1.33:1
Macrovision ? Smoking Yes
Subtitles German
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes

Plot Synopsis

   The Eagles were relatively short-lived as far as big groups go, but boy has their music stood the test of time. I have always been passively interested in them, in that whilst I never bought any of their albums I have always loved when one of their songs such as Hotel California or I Can't Tell You Why came on the radio - that kind of thing. So, when the much praised Hell Freezes Over concert performance was announced for release locally, I jumped at the opportunity to finally get to hear them more closely, and to also see what the fuss was all about, since the R1 DTS release has been lavished with praise.

    Let me say that this is the best concert recording I have every heard by a long, long, long way. I can comfortably say that this actually beats being there in person. This group of ageing rockers know how to put on a concert, and I tell you I was stunned. Multi-skilled musicians and vocalists, never was there a missed beat, or flat vocal, or a misplaced piano key. This concert just seriously rocks. Starting off relatively conservatively with the band members sitting in a row at the front of the stage, before midway through they have an entire philharmonic orchestra at their disposal.  An absolute wall of sound from start to finish, I can promise you that you will be tapping your feet and singing along like you have never done before. Watching Joe Walsh getting down with his guitar like no other, or Don Henley expertly pounding on the drums whilst singing a song is just amazingly impressive.

    The disc starts with a short 11 minute behind-the-scenes look at the band, which got together after a fourteen year hiatus back in 1994. It would appear that they put any ill feelings they felt which split them up in 1980 behind them, and just did this whole reunion thing properly. To justify the reunion, they even belt out a whole raft of new, instantly classic material every bit as good as the old stuff, which is refreshing in this day of absolute garbage played incessantly on the radio.

    The tracklisting is as follows: Hotel California, Tequila Sunrise, Help Me Through The Night, The Heart Of The Matter, Love Will Keep Us Together, Learn To Be Still, Pretty Maids All In A Row, The Girl From Yesterday, Wasted Time, I Can't Tell You Why, New York Minute, The Last Resort, Take It Easy, Life In The Fast Lane, In The City, Get Over It, Desperado and a bonus Seven Bridges Road, although this last track is DTS audio only with no vision save for a still publicity shot of the band. Every one of these songs agreed with me, and I am now an instant Eagles fan. If you like the Eagles even fleetingly, this disc is an absolute must-have like no other. If you have DTS capability, you will definitely want this puppy.

Transfer Quality


    The concert, filmed in 1994, is most definitely for television and was shot on video. Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and non-16x9 enhanced, the picture is very good indeed.

    The image is generally sharp and detailed, though not as sharp as it could be since this is not strictly speaking a native PAL transfer. Whilst this disc is presented locally in PAL, the image has been upconverted from NTSC, and has subtle tell-tale jaggies now and then and a slight softness, although this is being extremely picky. There is no low-level noise in the picture, and the shadow detail is perfectly good. The exception to this is the documentary at the start, which is quite grainy, giving it a realistic look compared with the smooth concert appearance. There was little to no edge enhancement, allowing for a healthy amount of horizontal resolution.

    Colours are natural, with the stage lighting coming across boldly with strong primary colours handled very well. Some shots exhibit chroma noise, usually from long shots from more distant cameras, but on the whole the colour is very clean and certainly as good as I have seen for a video concert.

    There are no MPEG artefacts of any kind throughout, giving this transfer a solid look to it. Aliasing was under strict control, with only the slightest hint now and then from the front of the stage.


    This is a real treat for the audiophile. Two of the highest quality audio formats currently available are on offer, the first being full-rate 48kHz 16-bit two channel Linear PCM, and the second being God's own DTS. I listened to this concert predominantly in DTS, only briefly switching to the PCM track for comparison. The LPCM mix is certainly very good, being at least as good if not slightly better than CD. However, this concert comes into its own if you are fortunate enough to have DTS capability. It is only recently that I have gained this, and I can tell you the difference is night and day.

    Dialogue, or in this case vocal presence, was exceptional. Crystal clear at all times in both mixes, though more forward in the DTS track, you will hear every word. It's also nice when a band can sing, and these guys are pros in every respect. Joe Walsh has a quality to his voice that I found breathtaking, such as Pretty Girls All In A Row, and Help Me Through The Night.

    This is one the highest fidelity recording I have heard to date (the other being The Police: Every Breath You Take DTS CD), with a quality of sound a modern studio recording would die for. The entire 360 degree soundfield is used to the full at all times, with vocals and instruments spread around the entire room seamlessly. Instruments are placed discretely, with pin-point imaging whether it be directly in front of you, directly centre behind you, or around the room. The audience is spread across the rear stage, not left and right, but spread across the rears, with different people heard in different places. There were many times I found myself clapping with them, forgetting myself, and then saying "what the hey" and clapping louder. When a song started, and the audience kicked in, chills went down my back, and I kept nudging the volume up. The quality of the sound is stunning, with a great weight to the kick drum and toms, and a sweet clarity to the percussion, wherever in the room those particular sounds might be. The guitars, especially Don Felder's, had a warmth and a tone that was just outstanding. Timothy B. Schmit's bass playing was sublime. Every DTS recording I have listened to has left me completely satisfied, and this recording cements that experience. This represent the pinnacle of concert reproduction in the home, it's that simple, and it's not exaggeration.



    The disc starts with an animated menu, which is quite nice but is missing some audio I feel. No matter, it doesn't stay on for long!

Chapter Stops (22)

R4 vs R1

    We have an identical release to R1, though kindly we have a nice PAL image, so no visible scan lines for us!


    Stunning is only a word, and this concert has to be heard to be believed. I have watched this three times in as many days, and I don't want to give this disc back. No, Michael, you can't make me return it. It's mine I tell you, mine...

    The video is very good, almost reference for a concert, only perhaps let down by a slight softness due to upconversion to PAL.

    The PCM mix is perfect. The DTS mix is mind-blowing, and I want to give it six out of five, but I can't. If anyone wanted to be convinced of the merits of DTS, this is the demo.

    The little peek into the making of this concert is a nice touch.

Ratings (out of 5)

© Paul Cordingley
3rd July, 2000 (read my bio)
Review Equipment
DVD Panasonic A360 (S-Video output)
Display Rear-Projection Pioneer SD-T43W1 125cm Widescreen 16x9
Audio Decoder d t s 5.1 & Dolby Digital 5.1 (DVD Player internal decoder)
Amplification Sony STRDE-525 5x100 watts Dolby Pro-Logic / 5.1 Ready Receiver; 4 x Optimus 10-band Graphic EQ
Speakers Centre: Sony SS-CN35 100 watt; Main & Surrounds: Pioneer CS-R390-K 150-watt floorstanders; Subwoofer: Optimus 100-watt passive