Pet Shop Boys

Somewhere In Concert

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Details At A Glance

Category Music Theatrical Trailer(s) None
Rating Other Trailer(s) None
Year Released 1997 Commentary Tracks None
Running Time 66:31 minutes Other Extras Featurette (24:35)
RSDL/Flipper No/No
Cast & Crew
Start Up Movie
Region 1,2,3,4,5,6 Director Annie Griffin

Warner Vision Australia
Starring Neil Tennant
Chris Lowe
a.k.a. Pet Shop Boys
Case Amaray
RRP $39.95 Music Pet Shop Boys

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)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio 1.33:1
Macrovision Yes Smoking No
Subtitles None Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

Plot Synopsis

    One of the more original musical troupes to come out of the eighties, the Pet Shop Boys were never afraid to do things slightly differently. And this concert is a fitting example of that originality. When you are a major act capable of packing out major stadia around the world, it is somewhat risky to embark upon a two week run of gigs at a small, intimate theatre in London's West End in June, 1997. On the evidence of this video though, it was a roaring success.

    Most of the highlights of their recording career are covered during the concert, which is most unusually presented and most unusually recorded.

Transfer Quality


    Okay, so we have a concert video. What does that usually mean? Some problems with the relatively intense stage lighting and the odd lapse in focus, which we do get. But other than that, and a very noticeable video glitch, this is a good video transfer.

    The transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1.

    Bearing in mind that the concert has been presented and recorded in a specific way that does create some problems for the transfer, this is a generally quite sharp transfer with some rather nice definition. There are however some minor problems with grain during the transfer, although overall it is a clear transfer. The only real problem was the intense stage lighting that a couple of times washed out the colours and created a small loss of detail, but this seems to be an inherent problem with concert videos and I am not finding it too much of a distraction. There did not seem to be any problems with low level noise. However, there is one very noticeable video glitch during the transfer: at 50:10 the bottom half of the picture briefly breaks out into severe pixelization, very similar to the original issue of The Fugitive. This really is not acceptable if this is an inherent fault with all discs, and it occurred on the two discs that I tried out. [Ed. I tried this DVD on a series of DVD players; both a Toshiba SD-2109 and a Palsonic DVD-2000 played this section without fault, a Start SD-2001 briefly paused and skipped a few seconds before continuing, and a Pioneer DV-505 exhibited the same severe pixelization as described above.]

    The colours come up very nicely indeed, with a nice vibrancy to them, apart from the inevitable washing out of the colour under the intense stage lighting. There is no hint of oversaturation in the transfer at all.

    There did not appear to be any significant MPEG artefacts in the transfer, and film-to-video artefacts were also noticeably absent. There were a few film artefacts in the transfer - and these do not include the deliberate ones - that were a little distracting, especially early on in the concert.


    And if the video transfer is very good, it is coupled with an appallingly bad audio transfer. For the life of me I do not understand how the heck this passed any sort of quality control check it is so bad.

    There is only the one English Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track on the DVD.

    Where do you begin with the problems with this soundtrack? How about the appallingly bad balance which has the entire vocal track so recessed in the overall mix, that it virtually cannot be heard early on in the transfer beneath a very aggressive bass channel? How about the shockingly bad separation that has the crowd noise very forward in the front channels, although slightly more naturally balanced in the rear channels. How about excruciatingly bad mixing such that parts of the keyboard channel are heard out of the rear channel with the crowd noise. How about frequent audio drop outs, especially between 25:10 and 25:25 when the bass channel drops out completely, although it does return... at least until the 31:00 mark when the bass channel drops out for good, never to return. The soundtrack starts off with a very aggressive bass channel that overwhelms everything else a little, although judicious boosting of the front and centre speakers can result in a more naturally balanced effort. Which is a pity for a couple of reasons: firstly, the bass channel drops out completely as I said, which means all the work you do to get a better balance goes right out of the window for the second half of the concert basically and you have to reset everything; and secondly, the bass channel really gets the old body moving along with the music - which also disappears when the bass channel drops out. This really makes you want to sit down and cry, it is so bad. An excellent concert ruined by some of the sloppiest sound engineering that I have ever heard.

    Audio sync did not appear to be a problem with the transfers.

    And that is about all that needs to be said about this appalling effort.


    And unusually for a concert video, we get an extra too!


Featurette (24:35)

    A nice little documentary if you prefer about the reasoning behind the concert series at the Savoy Theatre, and the work needed to bring the whole thing to life. Nicely presented (predominantly) in black and white in an aspect ratio of 1.66:1, with a nice Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack that sounds somewhat better than the main feature. Overall I found this an interesting look at the Pet Shop Boys and the hows and whys behind the concerts. A nice addition to the package, although it too displays a brief pixelization problem at 18:54.

R4 vs R1

    There would appear to be no difference between the Region 1 and Region 4 releases on paper: however, if there are no problems with the soundtrack on the Region 1 release, that would definitely be the way to go.


    A damn fine concert from one of the most original bands of its time, completely and utterly ruined by a seriously and grossly flawed soundtrack that should not in a fit of madness have passed quality control. Avoid this sucker like the plague until we get a remastered version with the audio problems eliminated.

    A very good video transfer, hampered by the brief pixelization problem.

    A absolutely shocking attempt at an audio transfer.

    A decent extras package.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Ian Morris
21st February 2000

Review Equipment
DVD Pioneer DV-515; S-video output
Display Sony Trinitron Wega 84cm. 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 EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL