Ten Years After-Live at the Marquee (1983)

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Released 5-Aug-2002

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Music Menu Animation & Audio
Featurette
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1983
Running Time 54:04 (Case: 72)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Derek Burbidge
Studio
Distributor

Warner Vision
Starring Alvin Lee
Leo Lyons
Ric Lee
Chick Churchill
Case Click
RPI $34.95 Music Ten Years After


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
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

    Ten Years After is a legendary UK fast-paced rock/blues group of yesteryear. The group is spearheaded by highly respected guitarist Alvin Lee, who at the age of only 15 formed the core of the band with bass player Leo Lyons. With the addition of drummer Ric Lee and keyboardist Chick Churchill the band was complete and began gigging around London in 1966. In October 1967 they released their first album and by June of the next year were already touring America, wowing audiences with their innovative rock-influenced interpretation of the blues and most particularly with Lee's distinctive, rapid fire guitar playing.

    But it was TYA's performance at Woodstock in August 1969 in front of half a million people that cemented their reputation as one of the world's (then) best live bands. In particular, it was the band's performance of Lee's track Goin' Home, with its clear homage to the rock and roll and R&B greats like The King, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lewis, that was later to be named by many as one of the main highlights of the Woodstock festival, featuring in the Woodstock documentary released in 1970. Needless to say, this performance at Woodstock secured TYA's popularity in the USA, where they went on to tour extensively and reach almost supergroup status, their status in turn also securing the success of the band back home in the UK.

    Lee is a man who early on in his career was to suffer the label of "the world's fastest guitar player", a label he was understandably keen to down-play. After all, as "DVD VJ" Tommy Vance states in his commentary on this disc,  there is a huge difference between a guitar player who is simply able to achieve technical speed at the sacrifice of slurring all the notes together, and a player who is able to maintain the integrity of each individual note, whilst also increasing the speed of playing to frenetic, breakneck pace. Alvin Lee definitely falls into the latter category.

   After a hectic schedule of constant live touring and several album releases, TYA were to finally break up in 1975. Lee was to go on to other solo ventures and collaborations and is still one of the world's most respected live guitarists to this day. The concert featured on this DVD was a reunion gig recorded at London's famous Marquee Club in 1983. (The Marquee Club is one of London's most sacred live rock venues, having been established way back in the late 50s/early 60s and still going strong. This is the very same venue where not only TYA, but also such rock luminaries as Queen, The Stones and Pink Floyd, among others, were to hone their stage craft early on in their careers.)  This 1983 concert, as far as I know, was a one-off reunion gig for TYA. There were to be subsequent reunions a couple of times later in 1989 and then in 1997, but they never stuck, as Lee wanted to move on and continue pursuing his other interests.

    If you haven't heard of TYA before but you are a fan of live rock and blues, then this DVD is highly recommend; it showcases a guitar legend in blistering form and a group that, even after such a long break and with only a few days' prior rehearsal, snapped back together into place as an extremely tight outfit.

    Songs in the track listing listed below are all written by TYA, except for track 3 by Sonny Boy Williamson, track 4 by Willy Dixon/R Bass, track 5 by W Herman and track 7 written by Lee alone.

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Track Listing

1. Love Like A Man
2. I May Be Wrong But Won't Be Always
3. Good Morning Little School Girl
4. Help Me
5. Woodchoppers Ball
6. Slow Blues
7. Goin' Home

Transfer Quality

Video

    Like other recent rock music DVD releases by Sanctuary Visual Entertainment/Warner Vision Australia, the video transfer on this disc is hard to fault, given that the source material is twenty years old.

    The transfer is presented in the original source aspect ratio of 1.33:1.

    Luminance is quite superb, given the age and quality of the source material at hand. Foreground images remain mostly sharp throughout and the clarity is particularly noticeable with many close-ups, like those of Lee's guitar. The data bit rate jumps appreciably for many of these close-up shots and, with no noise marring the image, the higher amount of data makes for a very clearly defined image. Background resolution and shadow detail are also perfectly adequate throughout this transfer.

    Chrominance is also more than satisfactory. For the most part colours are reproduced well in the very harsh lighting environment imposed by a live rock concert. On closer inspection there is some evidence that the colour palette may have faded a little in parts, no doubt due to the age of the source material, but generally speaking saturation is quite sufficient.

   There are no MPEG artefacts introduced by the transfer, only nominal film-to-video artefacts (the odd instance of very minor and unobtrusive aliasing) and no real source artefacts, with the source material being well preserved over this time.

    There are no subtitles on this disc - a pity if you want the lyrics - and there is no layer change to note as the disc is single layered.

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

Audio

    There is a choice of two audio mixes on this DVD, a default Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo mix (at 224 Kb/sec) and a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix (at 448 Kb/sec). I reviewed the latter. The quality of this audio transfer is quite satisfactory.

    The vocals are clear and easy to understand. Lee has a strong voice and the vocals are prominent in the mix.

    Audio sync was slightly out on my player, with the audio arriving a smidgen before the visual. Interestingly, this was apparent both in the main feature and also in the featurette extra. The mistimed audio sync only becomes obviously and distractingly noticeable on the odd lingering tight shots of the bass player or drummer, such as featured during Lyons' frenetic bass solos, but other than this the slight timing misplacement should not really become problematic for most viewers, unless you are particularly sensitive to audio sync. Note: there are of course many close-ups of Lee's guitar solos featured throughout the concert too, but don't worry, at the pace he plays these the very slight audio mis-sync is not problematic!  The bass solos on the other hand provide a more steady and ponderous stream of notes and hence it is really only the couple of bass solos that provide a more problematic visual cue. To put this problem in context however, this concert footage involves mostly quick cuts, so for the most part the slight audio mis-sync will not be a problem at all.

    The dynamic range in this audio mix is satisfactory, although I did find the mix a little wanting at the bottom end, with the bass not overly deep and the bass in the guitar and drums tending to become a little muddied on occasion. There is some nice depth to the midrange and top end in the mix, however (see track 3 as a good example).

    As you would expect for a recording of this age, the source recording is not in surround and nor has it been extensively re-mixed as such. The sound stage is very much front-weighted, with just a little ambient effects re-directed to the rear channels to provide some balance. There are no rear directional effects and this transfer is better described as a Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround mix, rather than full-on Dolby Digital 5.1.

     The subwoofer gets only a modest amount of work to accentuate some kick drums and help the mains fill out the bass, however as mentioned above the original concert recording does not appear to have captured the bass faithfully.

 

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

Extras

    The extras on this disc are limited, but complement the feature well.

Featurette (5:57)

    This untitled featurette is a brief on-stage and behind-the-stage look at the band, focusing on interview snippets and footage involving the band's groupies, showing what life was like for the band backstage (those naughty boys and girls!). This footage is more arty in its style and was certainly not shot with clarity for DVD production in mind!  It features a fair bit of nudity (clothes were optional for the groupies backstage), lots of gain, very drained colour and film artefacts galore, but hey, this extra does provide an interesting snapshot of life for the band while touring. For the record, the video is presented in 1.33:1 and the audio is 2 channel.

VJ Track Intro Commentary (total 14:02)

    Curiously not credited on either the disc's cover or on any of the menus, this is an important extra. It is an introduction to each song by "VJ" Tommy Vance. Unlike other releases in this Sanctuary Visual Entertainment/Warner Vision Australia concert DVD series, where the song intros are accomplished by a brief voiceover as a separate commentary audio track, in this case it is done via a "follow the white rabbit" feature. At the beginning of each track, a symbol appears at the bottom left hand side of the screen (the same symbol that appears on Lee's guitar), which if selected by pressing Enter on the remote control takes the viewer out of the concert and into branched footage of Tommy Vance, reading out DJ-style a brief intro to that song. This is quite informative, providing a great context of the history of the band and the origin of each individual song.

    The "follow the white rabbit" concept for this type of extra is a great idea, as it allows for a little more in-depth commentary than is otherwise possible by doing it as an overdub onto the concert audio proper. Of course, if you don't want to have the concert interrupted by these intros, then you have the option of simply ignoring the symbols when they appear.

 

R4 vs R1

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

    This DVD is available in identical format in Region 2. From what I can see it does not appear to have received a Region 1 release as yet.

Summary

    This DVD is highly recommended for any fan of live rock and blues music. It features a great video transfer, decent audio and a limited but highly insightful couple of extras. My only complaint with the disc (a common refrain with many live concert releases) is that we do not get to see the full concert set, as is confirmed by the disc's short run time and the rather obvious edits between songs. This only leaves you wondering what other tracks we missed out on. But still, this disc certainly whets the appetite for what a great live band Ten Years After were.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Sean Abberton (read my bio)
Tuesday, January 28, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDToshiba 2109, using Component output
DisplayToshiba 117cm widescreen RPTV. Calibrated with AVIA Guide To Home Theatre. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderYamaha RXV-1000. Calibrated with AVIA Guide To Home Theatre.
AmplificationElektra Home Theatre surround power amp
SpeakersOrpheus Aurora III mains, Orpheus Centaurus 1.0 centre, Velodyne CT150 sub and B&W DM303 rears

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