Styx and REO Speedwagon-Arch Allies: Live at Riverport (2000) (NTSC)

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Released 20-Aug-2002

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Music Menu Animation & Audio
Biographies-Cast
Discography
Audio-Only Track-Audio Interview
Gallery-Photo
Web Links
DVD Credits
Rating Rated E
Year Of Production 2000
Running Time 101:26 (Case: 105)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Kenneth Botelho
Studio
Distributor

Warner Vision
Starring James Young
Tommy Shaw
Glen Burtnik
Lawrence Gowan
Todd Sucherman
Chuck Panozzo
Neal Doughty
Kevin Cronin
Bruce Hall
Dave Amato
Bryan Hitt
Case Click
RPI $34.95 Music Styx
R.E.O. Speedwagon


Video (NTSC) Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 480i (NTSC)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, the credits roll next to the final song.

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    I have a confession to make: prior to taking on this review, I had never heard of Styx before, and I only knew two R.E.O. Speedwagon songs (for the curious, these were the power ballads Can't Fight This Feeling and Keep On Loving You), so I really only had a vague idea of what I was letting myself in for. What I found was a thoroughly enjoyable concert of big rock from two big bands.

    Both Styx and R.E.O. Speedwagon started out in the early seventies, but it wasn't until the end of that decade that they started to hit it big. They became the "kings of arena rock" - playing shows to big crowds in big venues across America, and around the world. While their notoriety has gradually waned over the years, both bands are still going, and are still playing to big crowds. This show links the two under the banner Arch Allies for a double-bill concert. The name was chosen as a reference to the fact that over the years the press played the two up as arch-enemies.

    While at times the similarity between the styles of the bands and the songs themselves can make the concert feel a little bland, the energy the performers put in generates more than enough interest to make the 100 minutes pass quickly. The general format of the concert has Styx performing first with 8 songs in about 40 minutes, then the entire stage is cleared, and R.E.O. Speedwagon do 9 songs. Finally, the two bands join together on stage for two songs with all 11 members playing.

    This disc is unlikely to appeal to any but fans of the two bands, which is a pity because it is a concert that is very good. This concert comes highly recommended to those who are fans of the band, or just like big, enthusiastic, "arena" rock - it may not be "cool", but it sounds good.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Track Listing

1. Blue Collar Man
2. Fooling Yourself
3. Lady
4. Brave New World
5. Edge Of The Century
6. Heavy Water
7. Too Much Time On My Hands
8. Renegade
9. Don't Let Him Go
10. Music Man
11. Take It On The Run
12. Can't Fight This Feeling
13. Time For Me To Fly
14. Back On The Road Again
15. Keep On Loving You
16. Ridin' The Storm
17. 157 Riverside Avenue
18. Blue Collar Man
19. Roll With The Changes

Transfer Quality

Video

    This disc is another video-sourced NTSC disc from Warner Vision, and the transfer could easily trade places with that of the Widespread Panic disc I looked at recently - decent quality (if not spectacular), but rife with aliasing.

    This transfer is presented at 1.33:1, not 16x9 enhanced. That would most likely be the correct aspect ratio, given the apparent video source, and the purpose of the show (made for TV in the US).

    The transfer is reasonably sharp, providing more than enough detail where necessary, allowing the fine aspects of the performers' clothes and faces to be seen. Shadow detail is not quite as good, but it is still enough that there are never any problems. It is of little importance however, as the stage is almost always well lit. There is no low level noise present.

    Colours are a little muted, although this is not helped by the source and the NTSC transfer. Other than that, they are still good enough to represent the bright nature of the concert.

    The only compression artefact is some slight pixelization on effects smoke in the background (such as at 49:02). There are no film artefacts at all in this transfer, but aliasing is a very large problem. While the NTSC nature of the transfer would not have helped, what is present here is not generally going to benefit that much from increased resolution. Severe instances occur on everything from guitars (7:48 to 7:53) to the edge of the stage (63:32 to 63:38) and the edges of the keyboard during the Styx concert (27:13). There is virtually no frame in which there is not some aliasing, and as such it is a major detriment to the transfer.

    There are no subtitles present on this disc.

    This is a single-layered disc, and as such does not contain a layer change.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    This is a very good audio transfer, and while it is not breathtaking, it is good enough to be very satisfying.

    There are two audio tracks present on this disc. Both are the original concert recording in Dolby Digital 5.1 (at 448 Kbps), and Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo (at 192 Kbps).

    Vocals are clear and easy to understand at all times. The music recording is equally as good, with excellent clarity, making it very easy to hear the individual instruments (the steel-string guitars are particularly impressive). Both the stereo and surround soundtracks are equally impressive in this regard, presenting wide soundstages that are a pleasure to listen to.

    Audio sync is good for the most part, although there is a short period (around 29:39) during the Styx concert where it does become a little suspect.

    Surround use is mostly typical of recent concert discs, where the surrounds are used primarily for crowd ambience. During the Styx portion of the concert the surrounds are additionally used for vocal harmonies, and this works to very good effect. The stereo soundtrack, obviously, misses out on these, but is still good enough that those without surround capabilities will not miss out on much.

    Subwoofer utilisation is very subtle, but still gives a good backing to the music. Both stereo and surround soundtracks carry similar amounts of bass.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    The extras present on this disc are not all that fascinating, and neither are they extensive.

Menu

    The menu is animated, not 16x9 enhanced, and features Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo audio.

Biographies and Discographies

    Contained under the individual menu for each band, the discographies list all the titles released by the bands over the years, while the biographies are rather in-depth.

Photo Gallery (25)

    This gallery contains photographs of the bands, and behind the scenes of the tour. About as interesting as most photo galleries.

Audio Interview

    This section contains two audio-only interviews. The first is with Tommy Shaw of Styx, the second with Kevin Cronin of R.E.O. Speedwagon. The interviews are interesting, and worth listening to, although Kevin Cronin is obviously reading from a script and does not come across as well as Tommy Shaw.

Web Links

    A collection of links to the band's sites. Nothing that a few minutes with a search engine could not reveal.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    From the information available it appears that this disc is identical the world over, including the NTSC formatting. Grab it where you find it cheapest.

Summary

    Arch Allies is a good concert of "soft rock", with plenty of power ballads and soaring guitar solos. It may not be "hip", but it's certainly not difficult to listen to and well worth getting for fans of either band, or the genre in general.

    The video quality is quite good apart from a large amount of severe aliasing, which serves to bring the entire transfer down.

    The audio quality is very good, providing an extremely enjoyable concert experience, regardless of which soundtrack (stereo or surround) is listened to.

    The extras are quite limited, and apart from the interviews, are not particularly interesting. The interviews however, are well worth a listen.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Nick Jardine (My bio, it's short - read it anyway)
Monday, January 13, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-535, using Component output
DisplayLoewe Xelos 5381ZW. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-DS787, THX Select
SpeakersAll matching Vifa Drivers: centre 2x6.5" + 1" tweeter (d'appolito); fronts and rears 6.5" + 1" tweeter; centre rear 5" + 1" tweeter; sub 10" (150WRMS)

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Comments (Add)
What? No "Mr Roboto"? - Cardiff Giant (Must have the word 'bio' or 'biography' in it)