Alanis Morissette
Jagged Little Pill, Live

This review is sponsored by

Details At A Glance

Category Music Theatrical Trailer(s) None
Rating Other Trailer(s) None
Year Released 1997 Commentary Tracks None
Running Time
87:07 minutes
(not 90 minutes as stated on the packaging)
Other Extras None
RSDL/Flipper No
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region 2,3,4,5,6 Director Alanis Morissette
Steve Purcell

Warner Vision Australia
Starring Alanis Morissette
Chris Chaney
Taylor Hawkins
Nick Lashley
Jessie Tobias
RRP $39.95 Music Alanis Morissette

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 (Linear PCM 48/16 2.0, 1536 Kb/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 No

Plot Synopsis

    Alanis Morissette: Jagged Little Pill, Live is best described by paraphrasing Alanis Morissette in saying that it is a snapshot of a year and a half of her touring life beginning in April 1995 and ending December 14, 1996. It is not a pure concert video as such, but rather a collection of concert performances in various parts of the world. The songs as performed are sandwiched between video bytes of her and her roadies. In fact, most of the songs themselves are pasted together from different recordings at different times and in different places!

Transfer Quality


    The transfer is extremely variable, as a number of different video sources were used to compile the disc, and ranges from very good to VHS bad (and we all know how bad that is!). However, this is by design and goes a long way in conveying the very hectic and disjointed life that must be that of a band when touring the world. It has an almost MTV look and feel to it, and indeed much of the video is sourced from "unplugged" performances.

    The presentation is Full Frame, with an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and it is not 16x9 enhanced.

    The image ranges from extremely poor and soft, to reasonably sharp and clear. Shadow detail is generally quite good. Low level noise is always apparent and appears designed to be so.

    Colours during the higher quality concert shot are vivid and oversaturated. At other times they are pale and washed out.

    There were no MPEG artefacts of any kind during this movie. A couple of quick shots did have compression artefacts, but these were from the poor quality sources and not the transfer.

    There were no film-to-video artefacts to speak of.


    The audio is as equally variable as the video.

    There are two audio tracks, a Dolby Digital 5.1 track on one side of the disc, and a Linear PCM 48KHz/16 bit track on the other. I listened to the Dolby Digital 5.1 track, and did spot comparisons with the alternate PCM track. Apart from the obvious lack of surround presence in the PCM track, to my surprise I found little difference between it and the 5.1 track in terms of quality or clarity.

    Basically, the quality falls into two distinct camps, either being excellent or poor. This is unfortunate to my mind, but in keeping with the design.

    There were no problems with audio sync during the video.

    When the music is good, it is very good. The drums have that typical live sound, being a bit thin on the snare, and deep with the kick drum, and with plenty of reverb for ambience. Bass comes across very tight and controlled. Alanis's vocals were strong and clear. At other times, the sound collapses to a single speaker and goes distinctly lo-fi. This can happen many times during a song, but some are spared this and your are allowed to enjoy the performance. A true fan of her music will not have too much of a problem with this, as the lyrics and music is strong enough to carry through any kind of reproduction. I would have much preferred less cutting and pasting, but this is personal taste.

    During the quality moments, surround presence is exceptional on the 5.1 track. The crowd roars and applauds all around, and the ambience of the live environment is reproduced with great effect. Comparing this with the PCM track at the same time is enough to convince me that all concerts should have this treatment. Dolby Digital may not be preferred for studio recordings where high-fidelity is sought, but it is well adequate for live recordings and essential in reproducing concert ambience.

    The subwoofer was given a great workout at times, and added vital punch and weight needed to simulate a live sound.


    There are no extras on this disc. Nothing.


    The static menu design is basic, and a little frustrating to navigate.

R4 vs R1

    Both versions appear to be identical. The R4 version would therefore be the preferred choice given the superiority of the PAL system.


    A curious presentation which I am sure will appeal to fans of Alanis Morissette. I enjoyed it the second time round, but repeated viewings may get tiring. Due to the choppy nature of the video and audio it is not a disc you can really play in the background as music only, which is a pity.

    The video quality is extremely variable, ranging from very poor to reasonably good.

    The audio is of the same variable quality as the video.

    No extras. Nil.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video sg.gif (100 bytes)sg.gif (100 bytes)sg.gif (100 bytes)
Audio sg.gif (100 bytes)sg.gif (100 bytes)sg.gif (100 bytes)
Plot sg.gif (100 bytes)sg.gif (100 bytes)sg.gif (100 bytes)
Overall sg.gif (100 bytes)sg.gif (100 bytes)sg.gif (100 bytes)
© Paul Cordingley
22nd November 1999
Review Equipment
DVD Panasonic A350A; S-Video output
Display Pioneer SD-T43W1 125cm Widescreen 16x9
Audio Decoder Internal Dolby Digital 5.1 (DVD Player)
Amplification Sony STRDE-525 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