Max Merritt and the Meteors-Live in Concert (2001)

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Released 11-Oct-2002

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Music Booklet
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Introduction-Billy Thorpe
Featurette-Vintage Max
Featurette-A Day In The Life From LA
Biographies-Cast-The Musicians
Notes-Madman Propaganda
CD
CD-Bonus CD
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2001
Running Time 53:41 (Case: 93)
RSDL / Flipper No/No
Multi Disc Set (3)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Michael Jomitz
Studio
Distributor
Wal Bishop Enterprs
Umbrella Entertainment
Starring Max Merritt
Case Slip Case
RPI $49.95 Music Max Merritt


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/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

    If you are like me then you probably only know of Max Merritt and the Meteors through one famous hit song, that being 1974's Slippin' Away, a smooth easy-listening ballad that really is one of the most memorable songs to ever hail from this part of the world. What I didn't know until checking out this disc for review was that Max is actually a Kiwi, born in Christchurch in 1941 and that he has been in the music business for almost fifty years. The Meteors have always been the name of his band, formed way back in 1956, even though they have gone through several line-up changes since and Max is actually the only original member still going. And I thought he was an Aussie! Yet another Kiwi icon can be added to that growing list that we seem to have claimed over the years.

    From the early days of the mid 1950s playing the clubs and discos in his home town, to touring New Zealand, and then moving over to the larger "West Island" of Australia and filling more pubs and clubs, Max became one of the mainstays of the early rock 'n' roll scene. He enjoyed great success in the 1960s before moving to London to further his career. It was in London that Slippin' Away was recorded. He moved to Los Angeles in 1980 (where he still resides).

    Max Merritt turned 61 in 2002, and he and the Meteors were part of the Long Way To The Top series of concerts and also toured with Doug Parkinson in the Heart and Soul of Rock and Roll tour during April and May of that year. This show was recorded at Melbourne's Crown Showroom in 2002 and included a much larger eighteen piece Meteors band. Joining the usual members on stage were four backing singers, a horn section, and a string quartet. Sure it is a nostalgia style concert, but the audience (comprised predominantly of baby-boomers) got exactly what they wanted to hear. While he may not have quite the energy of his younger days, Max Merritt still knows how to put on a Rock 'n' Roll show.

    This is actually a multi-disc set even though the concert only runs for fifty-three minutes. How does it become a multi-disc set then I hear you ask? Well, there is only one DVD in the set, stored in its own gatefold style case. The other two discs are CDs and come in a dual flap style gatefold case. One CD features the entire concert again, obviously in PCM format, which means you can listen to it in the car or other places where the DVD player won't go. The other bonus CD is somewhat shorter and contains the four new songs that Max and his Meteors recorded last year. This CD only runs for sixteen minutes.

    The following songs are performed in the fifty-three minute show:

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Track Listing

1. Expectation (Overture)
2. Fannie Mae
3. Western Union Man
4. Dirty Work
5. Let It Slide
6. Giving It Up
7. A Little Easier
8. Slippin' Away
9. Slippin' Away (Chaser)
10. Try A Little Tenderness
11. Can't Turn You Loose
12. Can't Turn You Loose (Chaser)

Transfer Quality

Video

    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and thus is not 16x9 enhanced.

    Being recorded only last year (2002) using digital cameras, I was expecting this to be exceptionally sharp and vivid. I was a little disappointed with the quality of the image on offer. It is mostly sharp overall, but a couple of scenes are really quite blurry. This would appear to be the fault of the source material, and coupled with some really poor camera work makes for an occasionally frustrating viewing experience. Check out the poor focus at 18:23 and the really ordinary camera work between 13:20-13:30 where the camera pans in quite a jerky motion. There is no low level noise.

    Colours suffer from the usual afflictions brought on by intense stage lighting. In this case the blue lights are the culprits, though the intense white light also causes some trouble. When the wide angle camera from behind the audience is used, Max becomes simply a white shape with no detail visible at all. The worst example of this occurs at 5:28 and 6:03 where if you didn't know who it was on stage you would have no chance of identifying the singer.

    MPEG artefacts are limited to some background pixelization that is most noticeable when the solid blue backgrounds are on display. This doesn't become overly distracting, but it is noticeable throughout much of the show. There is a little shimmering on the odd microphone stand or stage set, but these are quite minor. There are no other artefacts of any sort.

    Unfortunately there are no subtitles available.

    This is a DVD-5 disc (Single Sided, Single Layered) so there is no layer change to content with.

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

Audio

    Despite being slightly disappointed with the video on offer, there are no such problems with the audio, which was apparently recorded with 5.1 surround in mind at the time of the show. As a result there is only one audio soundtrack on the disc. It is a Dolby Digital 5.1 surround soundtrack encoded at a bitrate of 448 Kb/s. It offers some reasonable instrument separation across all channels, though it is predominantly focused across the front speakers. Fidelity is excellent with nice deep bass. Vocals are clear and precise. While not to the standard of a full bitrate dts soundtrack, this is still a fair effort. There are no audio sync problems.

    There is plenty of surround channel use throughout. It is nothing over-the-top and is mostly dedicated to the provision of audience cheers, clapping, and the like. There is also some faint instrument separation.

    The subwoofer kicks in on several occasions, though without any real dominance and is barely noticeable.

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

Extras

Booklet

    A twenty page booklet that has comprehensive details about Max and the Meteors past and present, complete with heaps of photos of the band in action over the decades. Very nicely put together with a wealth of information contained inside.

Main Menu Audio & Animation

    Slowly moving stills with the live performance of Slippin' Away as the audio.

Introduction

    A 1:10 minute introduction by Australian Rock 'n' Roll legend Billy Thorpe. He has been a long-time mate of Max and here shares some of his thoughts on his relationship with the Kiwi legend.

Featurette - Vintage Max

    Running for 15:35 minutes, this featurette has some footage of Max and his Meteors from 1966 when they appeared on the Johnny O'Keefe Show. There is also a video for Let It Slide made in 1972 and footage of Try A Little Tenderness from the 1972 Sunbury Music Festival. Good for nostalgia value, though the quality of the source material is obviously less than perfect. It is some of the footage from the Sunbury Festival that earns the warning of Nudity on the front cover of the slipcase in case you were wondering.

Featurette - A Day In The Life

    Running for 17:51 minutes, this is a featurette that was filmed in Los Angeles, where Max has resided for the last 20 odd years. He is visited by a friend, whom he shows around his half completed home and then they both visit Men At Work legend Colin Hay at his Los Angeles studio. The video and audio quality (the latter especially) are not the best, as it would appear to have been shot using a standard camcorder complete with internal microphone.

Biographies-Cast

    Eight pages of text detailing the careers of the band members

Notes - Madman Propaganda

    Four of the other titles in Madman catalogue. One still screen per title.

CD - Bonus CD

    There are two bonus Compact Discs included in a dual gatefold style folder. The first bonus CD contains the four new tracks that Max Merritt and The Meteors recorded last year, including Say You Will, which was written for Max's daughter's wedding. Total running time is 16:10 minutes. The four tracks are:

1st Bonus CD Track Listing

1. Say You Will 
2. Tempted
3. I Don't Wanna Lose You 
4. Candy Row

CD - The Concert

    The second bonus CD contains the live concert and is track-for-track exactly the same as the DVD. Running time for this CD is 52:08 minutes. I have listed the tracks again merely for completeness.

2nd Bonus CD Track Listing

1. Expectation (Overture)
2. Fannie Mae
3. Western Union Man
4. Dirty Work
5. Let It Slide
6. Giving It Up
7. A Little Easier 
8. Slippin' Away
9. Slippin' Away (Chaser)
10. Try A Little Tenderness
11. Can't Turn You Loose
12. Can't Turn You Loose (Chaser)

R4 vs R1

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

    This title is not available in Region 1.

Summary

    Max Merritt has been one of the great stayers on the Australasian music scene. To be in the business for nearly fifty years is testament to that longevity. To have the passion to record new songs at 61 years of age also shows his commitment to the business. This disc is a decent and well put together record of the show staged last year. It is certainly a stylishly designed and well-conceived package, though whether it is worth nearly fifty dollars is debatable.

    The video is acceptable without being startling. Given the recent vintage of the source material, this was a little disappointing.

    The audio is excellent and will surely please.

    The extras are numerous, though the duplication of the concert onto a CD is really not much more than an excuse to bump up the price. The other bonus CD with the new songs is a welcome addition.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Darren Walters (It's . . . just the vibe . . . of my bio)
Thursday, January 23, 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

Other Reviews NONE
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Max Merritt and the Meteors Online -
We haven't heard the last of the 60s and Max and The Meteors quite yet.... -