|Category||Music||Main Menu Audio & Animation
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English (Dolby Digital "5.0" L-R-LS-RS,
English (DTS 4.0 L-R-LS-RS, 754Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1|
|Theatrical Aspect Ratio||1.78:1||
|Subtitles||None||Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||Yes, credits roll during the encore|
His ability to reach his audience is unsurpassed, something I had the pleasure of witnessing in person several years ago when he played at the Melbourne Concert Hall. My wife and I had an absolute ball; the infectious combination of his talent, his tuneful songs, his ability to reach the audience and his stage presence lingered with us long after the final curtain dropped.
This particular concert is a real stunner, with Barry trotting out numbers both new and old, and always keeping the crowd (and this particular reviewer) bopping along merrily. The addition of a symphony orchestra to his usual backing band was the icing on the cake, and added that little bit of lagniappe.
The tracks on this DVD are;
|1. Introduction; Could It Be Magic
2. Somewhere In The Night
3. Tryin' To Get The Feeling
4. Can't Smile Without Out
5. Bandstand Boogie
7. Even Now
9. Flight Of The Bumblebee
10. All The Time
11. New York City Rhythm
12. Every Single Day
|13. I Am Your Child
14. This One's For You
15. Sinatra Overture
16. Chicago (My Kind Of Town)
17. That's Life
18. When October Goes
19. Weekend In New England
21. I Made It Through The Rain
22. One Voice/I Write The Songs
23. Stars In The Night
24. Could It Be Magic; End Credits
It is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.
This transfer was generally very sharp, with enormous amounts of detail on offer when it was there to be seen. If the object was lit, this transfer showed the object in great detail. If it was not lit, there was simply blackness. This is by no means a reflection of poor shadow detail - this is a reflection of the fact that this stage show was captured with full-on stage lighting, which made no allowances for the fact that it was being captured for posterity. As the show progressed, more of the stage tended to be lit at the same time, decreasing the amount of total blackness in the transfer. In keeping with the recent vintage of the equipment used to record this transfer, there is no low level noise anywhere in the transfer, despite there being copious areas of blackness within which it could have been very visible.
Colours are accurately rendered according to the stage lighting. Skin tones were relatively pale, but not drastically so, and the predominantly blue lighting was accurately rendered with no chroma noise whatsoever to mar the image. Colour bleeding was also not a problem.
It is worth mentioning that I viewed this DVD on two different DVD players. On my reference player, the image was pristine: razor sharp with absolutely no chroma noise. On another DVD player, the image was diffuse and noisy. If you find this DVD to have a poor quality image, it is most likely because of limitations of your DVD player.
There were no MPEG artefacts seen in this transfer, however, there was a certain amount of motion blur seen, particularly when Barry Manilow's head was moving about rapidly in close-up. This motion blur was also apparent during the closing credits, which blurred as they scrolled up the screen. This was somewhat distracting at times, and the only disappointment of this transfer. There was a slight amount of wobble in one of the cameras used during When October Goes, and focus is periodically a transient problem.
This disc is an RSDL disc, with the layer change occurring at 53:17, between Chapters 10 and 11. As is usual for concert DVDs, the layer change comes in between songs and is noticeable by virtue of the fact that the crowd noise stops momentarily whilst the player negotiates the change.
Barry Manilow's vocals are nicely centered in the mix. He comes across as being front-and-centre on-stage, which ties in nicely with the on-screen imagery. The DTS mix sees his vocals slightly more recessed than the Dolby Digital mix, and as a consequence ever so slightly harder to make out, particularly in Copacabana.
There were no audio sync problems with the Dolby Digital track. However, the DTS track was another matter, with subtle wandering sync ruining the audio-visual experience. The DTS audio tended to frequently lag behind the visuals, but at times was also ahead of the visuals (e.g. That's Life), making for a very jarring viewing experience. I hasten to add that I am extremely sensitive to audio-visual sync problems, and it would not surprise me if other viewers of this same disc did not see this problem, but I certainly did and was profoundly disappointed with it. Mandy, in particular, had the DTS audio lagging noticeably behind the visuals, whereas the Dolby Digital track was perfectly in sync.
The surround channels were used for ambience, with the overall effect being that of being placed in the front couple of rows in the auditorium with the audience surrounding you and Barry Manilow on stage in front of you. This combined nicely with the on-screen visuals, creating a nice, congruent audio-visual experience.
The .1 channel was not specifically encoded and was silent. I felt that this presentation could have done with a little extra oomph at times from the subwoofer, but it was not greatly missed.
Ignoring the audio sync problem referred to previously in this review, the DTS soundtrack was the better listening experience from a purely aural point-of-view. Subtle instrument details and high frequency details were better rendered by the DTS soundtrack. The best way to describe this effect was that it was like a thin veil had been lifted off of the instruments, revealing extra intricate details that were absent in the Dolby Digital mix. This was most apparent with brass instruments and high-pitched percussion instruments, which had a better high-end than their Dolby Digital equivalents. The net effect of this was that instruments were more precisely placed within the soundfield in the DTS mix than in the Dolby Digital mix. Differences were also apparent during the more complex passages of music, with Barry, his band, and the symphony orchestra in full flight in the DTS mix but subtly blurred and muffled in the Dolby Digital mix. Triumphant crescendos would get to a certain level on the Dolby Digital soundtrack and then simply go no further, whereas on the DTS soundtrack they just kept building and building with no restriction on the complexity and clarity of the sound.
There is no doubt in my mind that there are audible differences between the DTS and the Dolby Digital soundtracks on this DVD, with the DTS soundtrack giving the better sonic result. Subtle? Yes. Trivial? No. However, the Dolby Digital soundtrack is still a very good soundtrack indeed, and you are certainly not grossly disadvantaged if all you can listen to is the Dolby Digital soundtrack. Indeed, given the wandering sync of the DTS track, the Dolby Digital track is in fact the preferred soundtrack if you are also watching the DVD. If you are merely listening to the DVD, then listen to the DTS track and hear Barry soar that little bit higher.
© Michael Demtschyna
(read my bio)
2nd November 2000
|DVD||Lenoxx DVD-9000/Loewe Xemix 5006DD, using S-Video/RGB output|
|Display||Loewe Art-95 95cm direct view CRT in 16:9 mode, via the S-Video/RGB inputs. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.|
|Audio Decoder||Denon AVD-2000 Dolby Digital AddOn Decoder, used as a standalone processor. Denon AVD-1000 DTS AddOn Decoder, used as a standalone processor. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.|
|Amplification||2 x EA Playmaster 100W per channel stereo amplifiers for Left, Right, Left Rear and Right Rear; Philips 360 50W per channel stereo amplifier for Centre and Subwoofer|
|Speakers||Philips S2000 speakers for Left, Right; Polk Audio CS-100 Centre Speaker; Apex AS-123 speakers for Left Rear and Right Rear; Hsu Research TN-1220HO subwoofer|