Elton John

Live In Barcelona

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Details At A Glance

Category Concert Main Menu Audio & Animation
Featurette - untitled Documentary
Year Released 1992
Running Time 173:35 minutes
RSDL/Flipper RSDL (83:53)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region 2,3,4,5,6 Director  

Warner Music Vision
Starring Elton John et al
Case Super Jewel
RPI $39.95 Music Elton John / Taupin

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, 384Kb/s) 
English (Linear PCM 2.0 , 1536Kb/s) 
Theatrical Aspect Ratio 1.33:1
Macrovision Yes Smoking No
Subtitles English 
English for the Hearing Impaired
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes

Plot Synopsis

    This is a cracking concert performance by the consummate performer Elton John, performed in Barcelona back in 1992 when the world gave its complete attention to the 1992 Olympics. Here, he has the time of his life, and really belts out the songs with all his might. There are some classic songs on this disc, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. This is one that I will definitely come back to many times, and if you like the man then it is quite simple - you will like this disc. I could listen to "Song For Guy" indefinitely...
1. Barcelona Introduction 11. Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word
2. Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me 12. Daniel
3. I'm Still Standing 13. Blue Avenue
4. I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues 14. The Last Song
5. Tiny Dancer 15. Funeral For A Friend / Love Lies Bleeding
6. Philadelphia Freedom 16. Sad Songs Say So Much
7. Burn Down The Mission 17. The Show Must Go On
8. Simple Life 18. Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting
9. The One 19. Sacrifice
10. Mona Lisa And Mad Hatters 1&2 20. Song For Guy / Your Song

Transfer Quality


    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, and is not 16x9 enhanced. Being filmed on video back in 1992, this is naturally a Full Frame transfer.

    This is not a particularly good transfer in the sharpness department, with the image being quite soft and somewhat blurred. Long shots suffered the most, while close-ups were less affected. Detail is quite poor, and objects appear to have a halo around them, as though slightly overexposed. There is also rather more edge enhancement that I would like. The is no low-level noise, and shadow detail is quite good.

    Colours consist of the usual strong primary blues, reds and yellows typically associated with big live productions like this one. There is no chroma noise, but the colours were just not quite right for some reason, probably a result of the lack of detail mentioned above. Colour bleeding was rife, which also added to the mess.

    There were no significant MPEG artefacts. Film-to-video artefacts consisted of some aliasing now and then, but never to the point of distraction.

    Finally, I can solve some niggling lyrical issues I have had for much of these songs thanks to the subtitles! I won't tell you what words I have been singing in lieu of the correct ones, but suffice it to say that "Tiny Dancer" now makes much less sense when sung correctly!

    This is an RSDL disc, with the layer change occurring somewhat abruptly between chapters 15 & 16 at 83:53 minutes. However, it is between songs so it does not really break any flow.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    I have watched and listened to this disc three times now, and I am glad I did so before submitting my review. The sound certainly is different, and I find myself more appreciative of the style as a result of familiarity.

    There are two audio tracks present. The first is Dolby Digital 5.0 running at the lower 384 kilobits per second data rate, and the second is Linear PCM 2.0, surround-encoded running at 1.5 megabits per second. As time and experience progress, I am finding that bit-rate alone does dictate the quality of a given sound source. In every way, the 5.0 track is significantly superior to the LPCM track, from detail and clarity to surround envelopment. The packaging incorrectly lists a 5.1 mix - there is in fact no dedicated LFE channel present.

    Elton John has not got what one would call a classically good singing voice, but he certainly gives it his all, and imparts such emotion and force in his voice that his songs are quite compelling. The Dolby Digital 5.0 mix gave his voice much more prominence and clarity than the LPCM track, which was quite wanting by comparison. At all times, lip sync was perfect in both tracks.

    The first time I listened to this concert, I was disappointed. Recently I have become used to the sound of Eagles: Hell Freezes Over and Steely Dan: Two Against Nature. Both of those are much more intimate recordings. The sound on this disc is very different, being much more diffuse, and much less direct and clear. For instance, backing keyboards were omnipresent in the mix, and not localizable. The same goes for backing singers, who seem to come from all corners of the room. There is reverb-a-plenty, which also tends to drown out fine detail. Middle frequencies are slightly boomy, and all in all the mix is just not as refined as I have become recently used to. However, all this is not automatically a bad thing. Crank this concert up, and you will find yourself in with the audience, who are always cheering and screaming in the background. You do not have front-row seats to this concert, you are somewhere in the middle, mixing it with the ordinaries, and the sound is quite faithful to that concept. Drums are full and satisfying, Elton John's voice seems to be in front of you somewhere in the distance, the keyboards are creating a nice wash of sound and the three backing singers are warbling away, and I'll be damned if the crowd could possibly be any happier. This wonderful effect goes away completely, by the way, when switching to the LPCM track, which sounds as dead as a door nail, and collapses to a near-mono presentation.

    The rears are in constant use in the 5.1 mix, providing that live feel. As I mentioned, there is a lot of reverb and crowd noise along with spill from the keyboards and backing vocals, all of which is wonderful. The LPCM mix also has a similar usage of the surround channel, but to markedly reduced effect.

    Whilst there is no specific .1 channel, there is quite a decent amount of bass in the mix, providing some nice weight to the kick drum. My subwoofer was quite happy, and quite a nice balance was struck between a live sound and a bass-heavy one.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    It has been my experience to find little to no extras on concert DVDs, so I was pleasantly surprised to find a documentary tucked away on this disc, along with some context-based audio accompaniment depending on whereabouts you are on the disc, which is a nice touch.


Featurette - untitled documentary

    This is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0, and an aspect ratio of 1.33:1. I am always interested in behind the scenes looks at concerts, probably because of my limited dabbling in such ventures on a much smaller scale, and this one is not a bad one. Thrown in are a couple of full songs, old video clips and some outrageous wigs. It ends with the first song of the first show of the world tour from which this disc springs, being "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me", which is in the concert proper also. The only troubling aspect of this most welcome documentary is the video presentation, which is quite variable. It is clearly low bitrate, but curiously it switches between quite okay to MPEG compression artefact-riddled, and back again all the way through, which was a bit disturbing. However, I am glad that it has been included, and in this case a poor extra is better than none.

R4 vs R1

    This title is not currently available in R1, so guess who wins this time?!


    This is a great concert, well performed and with classic songs. I like it more each time I watch it.

    The video quality leaves something to be desired, but it is watchable.

    The 5.0 mix is tremendously spacious and sounds very live. Turn it up and enjoy. The same cannot be said for the LPCM track unfortunately.

    The documentary is a most welcome inclusion.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Paul Cordingley (bio)
26th August, 2000. 

Review Equipment
DVD Panasonic A360 (S-Video connected)
Display Pioneer SD-T43W1 125cm rear-projection 16:9 Widescreen
Amplification Sony STRDB-930 (Optically connected)
Speakers Sony SS-CN35 100-watt (centre) , Pioneer CS-R390-K 150-watt floorstanders x 4 ( main & surrounds), Optimus 100-watt passive subwoofer