Todd Rundgren-Live in San Francisco (2002)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 5-Aug-2002

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Music None
Rating Rated E
Year Of Production 2002
Running Time 81:05
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Jesse Block

Warner Vision
Starring Todd Rundgren
Kasim Sulton
Trey Sabatelli
Case Click
RPI $34.95 Music Todd Rundgren

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
English dts 5.1 (768Kb/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 an interesting character. Touted by many as a musical genius, he is nothing if not prolific and multi-talented. Having released and produced across many different mediums, including software and computer animation, Rundgren has carried a legion of fans for three decades.

     DarrenW has reviewed two previous Rundgren titles, namely - Todd Rundgren-2nd Wind Live Recording Sessions/The Desktop Collection and Todd Rundgren-Live In Japan (Nearly Human) and provides a good background to Rundgren's music therein.

    This concert, recorded in the summer of 2000, takes place at the Maritime Hall in San Francisco. While the opening scene of the feature shows different various sound checks from other venues, the actual concert material is only from this one concert.

    A relatively small and intimate venue, Rundgren pounds out a good mix of past hits (but notably missing possibly his most famous - Can We Still Be Friends) and new material with a lot of passion. Assisted by renowned bassist Kasim Sulton and Trey Sabatelli, the crowd is treated to a good, honest stinkin' rock show.

    There are some really good tracks on this DVD, such as the opening track I Hate My Frikin' ISP.

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

Track Listing

1. I Hate My Frikin ISP
2. Yer Fast (And I Like It)
3. Black And White
4. Number 1 Lowest Common Denominator
5. Open My Eyes
6. Trapped
7. Love In Action
8. Bang The Drum All Day
9. Temporary Sanity
10. Mystified/Broke Down And Busted
11. Buffalo Grass
12. One World
13. The Ikon
14. Hammer In My Heart
15. World Wide Epiphany

Transfer Quality


    Unfortunately the video quality of this disc is totally and utterly abysmal. Looking like a badly dubbed VHS cassette, Rundgren fans should be crying foul.

    Shot on video, this transfer is presented in the original 1.33:1 aspect ratio and not 16x9 enhanced.

    This transfer is difficult to be specifically critical of, as it is just so bad overall. Several cameras are used in the concert, but there are two main ones that proliferate the shot selection; one jib camera that runs across the front of the stage, and one to the left of the stage. The camera on the jib is the most used, and it appears from the video it produces that it is a low end consumer grade camera. Sharpness is dismal. There are many instances where it is impossible to make out the detail on Rundgren's face, and not fine detail, I mean things such as a nose and mouth! Shadow detail is equally bad, with very little graduation between light and dark. Grain wasn't immediately noticeable, however some low level noise was present.

    The second main camera was slightly better, with better sharpness and shadow detail. It did not exhibit noticeable grain or much low level noise. It probably sounds like I'm saying that this camera produced a great picture. It didn't. Only in comparison to the other shots was I capable of watching it. In any other review where it was the main source I would have been unhappy with the level of sharpness and aliasing it displayed.

    Colour on this DVD was equally problematic. Riddled with chroma noise and colour bleeding, it is difficult to watch at most times. To put it in some perspective I suppose, with the proliferation of red lighting on the stage it would be difficult to get a perfect transfer with regard to colour bleed, but no real attempt seems to have been made to pay consideration to it.

    There was some of what appeared to be macro blocking artefacts, such as on Rundgren's arms at 0:28, but its hard to tell whether these are as a result of some artefact introduced by the poor cameras in use, or whether it is a result of MPEG encoding. There is some aliasing in this transfer, on all the cameras in use. It appears mostly on guitar strings and clothing such as at 24:27.

    This disc has no subtitles.

    This transfer is presented on a single layered DVD-5, so no layer change is applicable.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    This is a difficult audio transfer to review. I'm going to have to presume that Rundgren, who produced this DVD, was going for the kind of live sound that would have been present on the night. Good or bad, it means that the sound isn't very high fidelity, and it ain't going to be one of your 'demo' audio DVDs. It does accurately convey what a live gig is like however, and when I listened to it in my home theatre, all I needed was the smell of stale beer and cigarettes to complete the immersion process.

    This DVD comes with three audio tracks: a 2.0 Dolby Digital Stereo track, a 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround Sound track, and a 5.1 DTS track. I listened to the Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1 track, and sampled the Dolby Stereo 2.0 track.

    There were some problems with audio sync early in the transfer, during the soundchecks, but the actual concert seemed to be free from audio sync issues. The soundchecks have some distortion and generally poor audio, but this is acceptable - they are soundchecks after all!

    The Dolby Stereo mix was probably as recorded on the night, and is pretty average. It lacks the punch of the other two tracks, which were obviously mixed to try and spice up the product for the DVD market.

     The Dolby Digital track makes use of the rear channels for some surround immersion, but as noted above, it is a pretty grungy, live style of audio, and when the soundstage is expanded some of the vocals become lost (which admittedly is exactly what usually happens at a live performance).

    The DTS 5.1 track suffers from the same problem to a degree, however, I found that this track exhibited a little more fluidity and separation than the other two tracks. Vocals were more localised and distinct, and individual instruments were slightly easier to localise. Notably, the DTS track was mastered 5dB lower than the Dolby Digital 5.1 track, which is the opposite than has seemingly become the norm for DTS mastering.

    Subwoofer usage on this DVD was quite good. Both the Dolby Digital 5.1 and the DTS 5.1 made good use of the LFE channel, and the drum beat nicely reverberated in my chest, as is common at a live performance. The DTS track was slightly more defined in this area as mentioned above, but both tracks were pleasing enough.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    This disc has no extras whatsoever.

R4 vs R1

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

    This disc appears identical across Region 1 and 4, save for the usual PAL/NTSC argument. I see no real reason to choose one over the other.


    Todd Rundgren-Live in San Francisco is a good concert with some interesting songs. I'm giving it a low overall score for its poor presentation on DVD, not its musical merit.

    The video is abysmal - I expect more of even lowly VHS.

    The audio is true to the performance, but is not a reference level recording.

    There are no extras.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Adam Pase (I hated bio - dome, but loved Jack Black)
Wednesday, March 26, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDSonken DV-2600 Progressive Scan, using RGB output
DisplaySony VPH-1251QM CRT Projector, 100" 4:3 screen, 2.2 gain. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver.
AmplificationDenon AVR-3801
SpeakersMordaunt Short MS95 mains, JBL center and 4 x surrounds, JBL sub

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE