|Year Released||1997||Commentary Tracks||None|
|Running Time||123:57||Other Extras||Menu Audio & Animation|
|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 , 1536Kb/s)|
|Theatrical Aspect Ratio||1.33:1||
English for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||Yes, credits roll during the encore|
Bette Midler is a unique talent. Her talent spans a wide array of styles, beautifully showcased on this DVD of her 1997 live show, Diva Las Vegas. I am totally unaware of anyone else that could sing Macarthur Park whilst dressed in a mermaid suit and be taken seriously. A very large range of styles is on offer here, from the loud, bold, and brassy numbers that Bette Midler belts out as only she can, to her trademark ballads. From A Distance is absolutely stunning here, as is The Rose. The Rose, in particular, stunned me. It's a great song, but it has been done to death by virtually every female vocalist on the planet. Remarkably, Bette makes it sound fresh and vibrant again, something which I did not think was possible.
If you have any interest in Bette Midler at
all, I can highly recommend this performance to you - you won't be disappointed.
The tracklisting is as follows;
|1. Viva Las Vegas
2. Opening Fanfare
4. I Look Good
5. Miss Otis Regrets
6. Las Vegas
7. Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most
8. Bed Of Roses
9. The First Wive's Club
10. You Don't Own Me
11. The 70's
12. The Rose
13. Burlesque - Pretty Legs (& Great Big Knockers)
14. Burlesque - Rose's Turn
|15. Las Vegas Interlude
16. Drinkin' Again/MacArthur Park/Infomercial/Call Me
17. Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy
18. Bigotry/Bridge Over Troubled Waters/In The Navy/The Greatest Love Of All
19. New York. New York
20. Ukelele Lady
21. From A Distance
22. Do You Wanna Dance
23. To Comfort You
24. Stay With Me
25. Wind Beneath My Winds
26. Cast Introductions
27. The Story Of Us
and Closing Credits
This transfer was generally quite sharp and nicely defined, particularly in close-up. Some of the distant shots were marginally lacking in detail, but this really was a minor problem. On occasion, this transfer had some minor problems with blacks, with blacks often not being deeply black, but rather a very dark grey. It was unclear whether or not this was a lighting issue or a transfer issue, but I was inclined to blame a specific camera for this as it seemed to come and go, often quite abruptly. Because of this minor black level issue, shadow detail was subsequently not quite as good as it could have been. There was, fortunately, no low level noise in the transfer to mar the blacks and the not-quite-blacks.
The colours were typical of a live production; vibrant and highly saturated at times, and muted at other times. As with many live productions, there are a number of heavily blue-lit sequences which fortunately exhibit no chroma noise at all, and there is certainly no colour bleeding marring the image at all.
There were no MPEG artefacts seen in this transfer, as you would rightly expect given that only around 60 minutes of programming is encoded onto each layer of this DVD. This is a music DVD done properly, with no signs of overcompression at all. There were no video artefacts seen at any stage.
This disc is an RSDL disc, with the layer change occurring at 59:37, which is in Chapter 14. This is mid-sequence, and is quite noticeable. It is actually quite a surprising placement, as the end of Act One of the show is a bare few minutes after this point, and would have been a much better place for the layer change to be placed.
The sound was a tad problematic for the first few songs, but quickly settled down to be a superb, fundamentally stereo, soundtrack. There were a few minor audio dropouts between 66:14 and 66:15, and the occasional pop was heard from the soundtrack due to the live nature of the recording.
Early on, Bette Midler's vocals were very up-front and disconnected from the musical accompaniment. This may sound strange, but they sounded both too loud and too soft at the same time. They were also very slightly distorted. Fortunately, the overall mix improved substantially as this DVD progressed, and the sound was superb from Track 8, Bed Of Roses, onwards with Bette's vocals being far more distinct and well-integrated into the overall sound mix by this point in the programme.
There were no audio sync problems with this disc.
The surround channel had very little to do. Compared with the strong front channel information, there was little signal presented to the surrounds. The only noticeable surround activity occurred whilst Bette was chatting with the crowd, when some subtle vocal reverberation could be heard in the rears. I listened directly to the rear speakers during one of the full-on vocal numbers, and can verify that there was some signal emanating from the rears, but this was at such a low level that nothing was audible in the central listening position.
The .1 channel was not specifically encoded. However, signal was diverted to the subwoofer by my processor when appropriate. The first few numbers were a tad bass-light, but this improved as the programme went on.
The video quality is very good, with only some minor black level lapses.
The audio quality is good, apart from the early numbers.
There were virtually no extras.
© Michael Demtschyna
(read my bio)
8th July 2000
|DVD||Toshiba 1200, using S-Video output|
|Display||Loewe Art-95 95cm direct view CRT in 4:3 mode, via the S-Video input. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.|
|Audio Decoder||Denon AVD-2000 Dolby Digital 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|