Janet Jackson

The Velvet Rope Tour

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Details At A Glance

Category Music Theatrical Trailer(s) None
Rating Other Trailer(s) None
Year Released 1998 Commentary Tracks None
Running Time 121:13 minutes Other Extras Menu Audio & Animation
RSDL/Flipper RSDL (75:21)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region 0 Director David Mallet

Warner Vision Australia
Starring Janet Jackson
Case Amaray
RRP $39.95 Music Janet Jackson

Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame MPEG None
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None Dolby Digital 5.1
16x9 Enhancement No Soundtrack Languages English (Dolby Digital 5.1, 448 Kb/s)
English (Dolby Digital 2.0, 192 Kb/s)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio 1.33:1
Macrovision ? Smoking No
Subtitles None Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes

Plot Synopsis

    I suppose that when your surname is Jackson and your brothers had one of the more noticeable music groups of the seventies and eighties, it is inevitable that show business is where you seek fame and fortune. It is also inevitable that you forever try to step out of the shadow created by one of those brothers. To some extent, Janet Jackson has suffered the problems, overcome them and is now a major name in her own right. On the evidence of this concert, personally I have to question why. She is certainly not the most magnetic personality on the evidence of this and indeed this does not hold up as well as her recorded legacy. Which naturally begs the question as to whether she is made better than she really is by the recording process, or whether her music does not translate especially well to the live arena. That is not to say that she does not put on a good show. As far as concerts go, this is a very good example of the highly structured, highly choreographed modern live concert. It is just a pity that they all forget that music is an emotive medium, and a bit a real emotion on stage would go a long way towards elevating this sort of concert out of the good category and into the truly memorable category.

    Recorded live at Madison Square Garden, New York (one of the great arenas of the world), this brings together a collection of Janet Jackson's more recent work, which I admit that I am not too familiar with.

Transfer Quality


    Well, this is one damn fine video transfer that clearly has had some effort put into it.

    The transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1.

    The transfer is in general wonderfully clear, with great definition and as sharp as a tack. Some of the shadow detail, especially of the audience, is quite superb. The only time when the transfer falters even marginally is during some of the more intensely lighted sections of the concert, and judging by the enormous amount of lighting equipment around the auditorium, it is hardly surprising. I would doubt that too many transfers would cope as well as this has with the intense change of lighting.

    This is a quite vibrant transfer and the colours come up very nicely indeed. Apart from the odd over bright light, there did not appear to be any oversaturation in the colour, which is pleasing given the wide variety of colour on display. The whole colour palette is consistently rendered and very believable.

    There did not appear to be any MPEG artefacts in the transfer, nor were film-to-video artefacts a problem. There did not appear to be any film artefacts present in the transfer.


    A pity then that the audio transfer is so problematic.

    There are two audio tracks on the DVD, an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack and an English Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack. I endured the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, and endured is definitely the right word, believe me.

    Whilst I know that I am very bass sensitive, this soundtrack is far, far too aggressive in the bass channel, coupled with the vocal track being a little too recessed in the overall mix, making this a very difficult soundtrack to get any sort of pleasantly listenable balance to. The vocals seem to be mixed very front and central at a much softer level than I would expect, whilst the music seems to be mixed predominantly to the surround channels at a reasonably normal level. I was simply unable to screw the subwoofer down enough and boost the surround speakers enough to get what I would call a decent balance in the soundtrack overall. In the end I just reset everything to the normal levels and just turned the overall volume down.

    As a result, the music comes up quite well in the soundtrack, but the vocals are quite soft in the soundtrack and a little difficult to follow at times.

    At times it did almost look like audio sync may be a problem with the soundtrack, but this is difficult to confirm as at times it also appeared that Janet Jackson was lip-synching some of the concert. This is merely an impression that I got whilst listening to certain portions of the concert, and even then it was not especially bothersome or distracting.

    The soundtrack makes some fine use of the rear surround channels for music and audience participation.


    The only extras are some quite extensive biographical details about Janet Jackson, which was an unexpected bonus compared to other music releases I have seen.


    Themed around the symbol for the concert tour, these are very nicely enhanced with music and animation.

Biographical Information

R4 vs R1

    The Region 1 and Region 4 releases appear to be identical, therefore Region 4 would have to be the marginally better choice, owing to the inherently superior PAL system.


    Whilst I cannot admit to being a great fan of Janet Jackson, this is actually a good concert, if lacking a little in emotion or spontaneity. Janet Jackson fans will have no need to hesitate, but I would urge you to be wary of the problematic soundtrack if you do not like bass. Suffice to say, if you absolutely love bass and love to annoy the neighbours, this is going to transport you to seventh heaven (and drive the neighbours insane in the process).

    A very good video transfer indeed.

    A problematic audio transfer, especially if you have a dislike for huge amounts of bass.

    A limited range of extras.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Ian Morris
12th November 1999

Review Equipment
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