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|Category||Music||Menu Audio and Animation
Featurette - In Conversation
(not 132 minutes as per packaging)
Warner Vision Australia
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||English (Linear PCM 48/16 2.0, 1536 Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||No|
|Theatrical Aspect Ratio||1.33:1||
|Subtitles||English (featurette only)
German (featurette only)
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||Yes, partly during credits|
This DVD brings together two rather interesting book ends of their career. The first concert was recorded in New York on 18th November, 1981 not long after the band formed from the ashes of Joy Division. As such it shows a band very much in a raw form, trying to find its musical footing. The second concert was recorded in Reading on 30th August, 1998 after the band came back together. As such it shows an older, and more musically mature band, comfortable with their music and appearing in front of a largish audience. This is no better illustrated by the single song common to both concerts - Temptation: virtually unrecognizable in the 1981 concert, brilliant in the 1998 concert.
The tracks on offer in the concerts are:
|1.||Chosen Time (not ICB as per the packaging)||1.||Regret|
|2.||Dreams Never End||2.||Touched By The Hand Of God|
|3.||Everything's Gone Green||3.||Isolation|
|5.||Senses||5.||Heart And Soul|
|7.||Ceremony||7.||Bizarre Love Triangle|
|11.||World In Motion|
Since I never expected to see New Order gaining a DVD release ever, it hardly bothers me at all what the contents are - but it would be nice if they were actually correctly listed. I am fairly certain that the opening track to the 1981 concert is not ICB as listed, but rather is Chosen Time. Simply being able to see this band in concert on video is good enough for me, though. In fact it almost brings great regret to me for when I heard that the band were to perform at Reading in 1998 I very nearly hoofed off over to see them play as I had never had the chance to see them live, and I always regretted it. Now I really do regret not having gone to Reading! Whilst their song book contains plenty of gems, it would be unreasonable to expect them all to make an appearance here. Whilst there are regrettable omissions from the concerts, especially the 1998 concert, in broad terms this is an excellent collection of tracks. The song selection is noteworthy for including three Joy Division songs in 1998: for many years the band did not play Joy Division songs and to finally hear them play at least a few is a joy. There really are no highlights here, for the 1998 concert is an absolute gem. The 1981 concert is not so memorable but that is to be expected as this was a vastly different band at that time. Still sounding more Joy Divisionish than New Orderish, there are nonetheless some indications (not many though) of where this band could go.
Basically the 1981 concert is a terrific historical retrospective look at a pivotal band in its very infancy, but the 1998 concert is a gem that would bring enjoyment to anyone. Fans of this great band will need no prodding to indulge in this effort but even though I would love to wholeheartedly recommend this to everyone, I seriously doubt that non-fans would be too appreciative of the first concert. Still, it is more than worthwhile for you to check this one out as a rental if you get the chance.
Both transfers are presented in the same basic format - Full Frame that is not 16x9 enhanced.
The 1981 concert transfer is pretty typical of what I would have expected from this era. It has a softish, grainy look that is befitting of not only the age of the source material but also the way it was filmed it seems. There is not much in the way of overall detail and shadow detail at times descends to pretty poor indeed. There are plenty of lapses in focus thrown in to ensure that the whole thing has a suitably amateurish look to it. The overall presentation is not aided at all by the minimalist and generally dark stage lighting. Clarity is not exactly up to the standards of fine crystal, but then again I doubt anyone would expect it to be. The grainy look of the transfer does not exactly do the concert any favours, either. There did not appear to be any low level noise issues in the transfer.
The 1998 concert transfer is a whole different ball game, but still with problems. It is a much sharper and better defined transfer, but suffers more from the intense and anything but minimalist stage lighting. At times the lighting gets overly intense (and blue) and washes out a lot of the detail on offer. It is by no means the best I have ever seen but most of the problems lie in the source material. Shadow detail does get a little impoverished at times but these are much rarer occurrences. There are far fewer quibbles about the grainy look here and the overall transfer is a lot freer from this issue. The result is a much clearer transfer, with no issues with low level noise either.
The earlier concert suffers from some rather poor colours, but this is really a reflection of its age and the way it was shot. However, it never demonstrates anything close to a natural look and I would suggest that not even the real live event looked quite this dark. It certainly does not suffer from oversaturation at all and in order for there to be real problems with colour bleed, you need to have colour - which really is not prevalent here in this rather bleak-looking palette.
The later concert on the other hand is a much more vibrant affair with plenty of colour in evidence. However, a lot of the stage lighting is blue and we all know what that does to transfers, don't we? Yes, there is distinct flaring and indications of colour bleed under the intense blue lighting. However, within the context of the stage lighting, this is a far more natural looking transfer that is extremely evocative of the sort of palette I would expect to see from such a concert.
There did not appear to be any MPEG artefacts in the transfer. There were a couple of instances of aliasing in the transfer, with the most notable efforts being demonstrated at 28:10 in the 1981 concert and 22:26 in the 1998 concert. Within the context of some of the concert videos I have seen, it hardly ranks amongst the worst and to be honest if it were not for the fact that reviewing demands that I look for these things, I would really not have noticed them that much. Film artefacts were not much of any issue in either concert.
In the absence of noting any layer change it is presumed
that this is a Dual Layer DVD with
one concert on each layer.
It has to be said that at times the 1981 concert was really a pain as far as listening is concerned. The music comes up well enough but the lead vocals are occasionally quite indistinct and hard to hear. I would really have appreciated lyric subtitles on the DVD because of this. The 1998 concert offers no such problems and the vocals come up well in the soundtrack. It should be remembered that the 1981 problems are inherent in the source material and are not mastering problems. There did not appear to be any audio sync problems in the transfer.
In general there is not much to complain about with the
overall sound. The 1981 concert seemed on occasions to be just a little
murky in the mix, but this is possibly inherent in the source material.
It also seemed to be afflicted with just a little background noise at times,
but nothing major, as well as the odd minor dropout. The 1998 concert was
far better obviously and presented no problems at all. You can pretty well
forget your bass and surround channels here, and that is perhaps the one
regret about the 1998 concert in particular - I would really have loved
to have a bass channel here! Both transfers are a reflection of the circumstances
of their recording - the 1981 concert in a smallish hall is reflected in
the slightly close, congested sound whilst the 1998 concert has a nice
bright, open sounding soundtrack reflecting the outdoor venue.
|Surround Channel Use|
© Ian Morris (have
a laugh, check out the bio)
24th May, 2001.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-515; S-video output|
|Display||Sony Trinitron Wega 80cm. 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 C-2; rears EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL|