Todd Rundgren-Live in Japan (1990)

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Released 22-Oct-2002

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Music Menu Audio
Rating Rated E
Year Of Production 1990
Running Time 94:22
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Matt Minagawa
Studio
Distributor

Warner Vision
Starring Todd Rundgren
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $34.95 Music Todd Rundgren


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Todd Rundgren is quite an unusual artist. Being in the industry for many, many years, he has developed a cult-like status among his legion of fans. Yet he really hasn't hit anything that could even be slightly described as mainstream, and this would appear to be exactly how he likes it. Always at the forefront of new technology, he has dabbled in computer animated videos long before it was fashionable, experimented with interactive CDs, and was certainly among the first artists that allowed access to his music over the Internet. He dabbles in new things long before they are fashionable and then moves on to something else when the rest of the world decides it is cool. A 'maverick' is how I have heard him described in other reviews, and this would seem quite apt. He is the sort of artist that most non-fans will have heard of,  but will probably struggle to name more than three of his songs. In fact, many may have sampled his music without even knowing it because one of his songs has featured in some movie soundtrack somewhere (Can We Still Be Friends was featured in the film Vanilla Sky and It Wouldn't Have Made Any Difference was on the Almost Famous soundtrack). I have sampled one of the other Todd Rundgren releases available in Region 4 previously. You can check out the review of The Second Wind Recording Sessions / Desktop Collection if you are interested.

    This performance was filmed in Tokyo, Japan in 1990 and was part of a tour to promote his 1989 album release Nearly Human. Todd is helped out by a rather large band that includes several backing singers (both male and female) and the usual accompaniment of guitars, keyboards, drums and other percussion. The set lasts for about an hour and a half, and while most of the material is drawn from the album that Todd was promoting at the time, there are some of his older classics scattered throughout.

    The following tracks are presented during the show which features virtually no between-song banter between the band or the audience:

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Track Listing

1. Real Man
2. Unloved Children
3. Parallel Lines
4. Can't Stop Running
5. Compassion
6. Secret Society
7. Something To Fall Back On
8. Love Of The Common Man
9. Can We Still Be Friends
10. Mated
11. The Waiting Game
12. Love In Action
13. Rock Love
14. Hawking
15. The Want Of A Nail
16. Hello It's Me
17. I Love My Life

Transfer Quality

Video

    There is not a whole lot to get excited over in the video department unfortunately. The transfer on offer is presented in the old style aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and is not 16x9 enhanced.

    Only a moderate level of sharpness is attained, though this means thankfully there is no edge enhancement present. Shadow detail is only hampered by the source, but there is a significant amount of background grain present throughout. There is also some mild low level noise present on occasion, but it is not overly annoying. Colours are quite drab. The intense blue and red stage lights basically kill any other colours, so the palette is pretty much dominated by these. The red especially suffer from some severe bleeding and posterization whenever one of them is pointed in the direction of the camera.

    I saw no other MPEG artefacts. There is some distinct ringing around some of the lighter coloured objects such as the microphone and stand at 41:33. The rest of the transfer is mostly artefact free.

    There are no subtitles.

    This is a single sided and single layered disc only, so there is no layer change to contend with.

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

Audio

     There are two audio soundtracks on this disc. Thankfully, the bar has been slightly raised as we are privileged to get a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack in addition to the usual stock-standard Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.

    I've seen a review of the Region 1 disc that states that the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack blows the stereo soundtrack away. I actually preferred the simple Dolby Digital 2.0 offering. The vocals from the centre channel in the 5.1 soundtrack seemed a little dull and lifeless to me. When I switched to the Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack, this improved dramatically. Maybe those of you with larger centre speakers than me will not experience this problem. Other than the vocals, the 5.1 soundtrack really doesn't offer much in the way of separation across the other speakers and the fidelity of both soundtracks is really pretty much equal. Other than a little bit of rear channel use for audience sounds, there isn't a real compelling reason to favour the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack over the less fancied rival.

    As mentioned, the surround soundtrack does feature some surround channel use. It is mostly background and audience sounds, though these are really quite faint. There are also some minor backing vocals evident. I noticed this especially on the track Secret Society.

    The subwoofer is used a little, but it is so slight it never draws attention to itself.

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

Extras

Menu Audio

    Doesn't really qualify as an extra does it?

R4 vs R1

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

    It would appear from the couple of reviews that I was able to track down online that the Region 1 version of this title is exactly the same as this.

Summary

    This performance would be pretty much for fans only (and Todd Rundgren has plenty of them, make no mistake). It is a decent record of the occasion, but with virtually no on-stage banter and some unimaginative lighting, this is a join-the-dots style performance.

    The video is adequate, but will certainly not knock your socks off.

    Likewise, the audio, despite the inclusion of a remastered Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, only just makes the grade.

    There are no extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Darren Walters (It's . . . just the vibe . . . of my bio)
Friday, January 17, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDLoewe Xemix 5106DO, using RGB output
DisplayLoewe Calida (84cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationHarmon/Kardon AVR7000.
SpeakersFront - B&W 602S2, Centre - B&W CC6S2, Rear - B&W 601S2, Sub - Energy E:xl S10

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