Joe Jackson-Live (25th Anniversary Special) (2002)

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Released 5-May-2003

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Music Main Menu Audio & Animation
Featurette-Book Reading
Interviews-Cast-Joe Jackson
Rating Rated E
Year Of Production 2002
Running Time 58:31
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Lee Cantelon
Studio
Distributor

Warner Vision
Starring Joe Jackson
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $34.95 Music Joe Jackson


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
English dts 5.1 (1536Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
Not 16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes, In the Extras Interview
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    I've managed to see Englishman Joe Jackson a couple of times in concert. The first time was in September 1991 when he was promoting the "poking-fun at pop" album Laughter and Lust. The second time I saw him was in May 1995. This was an entirely different type of show when he was promoting the Night Music concept album. Whereas the earlier concert showcased most of his popular mainstream material, with songs such as Steppin' Out, Nineteen Forever, You Can't Get What You Want, Real Men, and Different For Girls, the latter show contained a real classical flavour and Jackson did not perform as many of his old songs. That show contained one of the most memorable concert moments I have ever seen when Jackson and his band performed the music to Real Men, while singing the lyrics to Is She Really Going Out With Him (or was it the other way around? - it was a long while ago). It was amazing stuff. I also remember him hauling out a guitar, complete with yellow electrical tape stuck on the fret and pleading with the audience to bear with him, because he only knew four chords and needed the tape to guide him. An inspiring musical talent, who really does give anything a go. He's always shifting his musical style, blending pop, rock, swing, jazz, and salsa, with instrumental and classical thrown in for good measure. He's even scored a couple of films.

    Jackson, who amazingly turns fifty next year, was virtually born a musician. He learnt the violin at 11 and then learned to play the piano. He earned a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music where he attended in the early 1970s. He then joined several bands, doing pubs and clubs. But it was his first solo album Look Sharp! released in 1978 which saw his career really take off. It contained what has become his virtual signature song - Is She Really Going Out With Him.

    Some of his follow-up albums contained some of the most recognisable songs of the 1980s. From 1979's I'm The Man and the song It's Different For Girls to 1982's Night and Day with his classics Real Men, Breaking Us In Two and Steppin' Out, and 1984's Body And Soul with the sublime Be My Number Two, Jackson has given us songs that will live for a long time.

    He ended the 80s with the 1989 album Blaze Of Glory featuring a couple of my favourites - Down To London and Nineteen Forever. Laughter and Lust was a fun album released in 1991 and included the radio-friendly Stranger Than Fiction. In between these mainstream hits, Jackson released an instrumental album, movie soundtracks, and other material that showcased just how diverse a character he was.

    He went on to release a concept album in 1994 with Night Music, and then orchestral compositions Heaven and Hell and Symphony No1, before releasing what he describes as his favourite album, Night and Day II, in 2000. Jackson and his band (under the name Joe Jackson Band) have just released a new album in March this year called Volume 4, which is apparently a full circle trip back to his band's earlier style.

    This show was recorded last year, somewhere in New York if I worked it out right. It has been released to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the release of Look Sharp! and the release of the new album. Quite a small crowd is in attendance, and while the set list is remarkably short, clocking in at only fifty eight minutes, it is true Joe Jackson in every sense. Fans wanting a complete greatest hits style performance are going to be disappointed as this is not that sort of show. There are some of the classics there, but the running time is really against it in the end. Some of the camera work is a little dodgy, with no Steadicam style shots in sight at all. There's lots of bouncing around and weird angles. There are also some brief interview segments slotted in between a few of the songs which some people will find annoying, but others will enjoy. They only run for a few seconds each.

    There are thirteen songs on the disc:

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Track Listing

1. Hell Of A Town
2. You Can't Get What You Want
3. Happyland
4. Stranger Than You
5. Another World
6. Is She Really Going Out With Him?
7. Real Men
8. Stranger Than Fiction
9. Glamour and Pain
10. Target
11. Just Because
12. Got The Time
13. A Slow Song

Transfer Quality

Video

    This isn't the greatest concert video transfer I've seen, but it's also far from the worst. It is presented in a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.78:1, but it is not 16x9 enhanced.

    Sharpness is highly variable, with some dodgy camera work and dull lighting causing the main problems. Shadow detail does suffer on occasion but as is usual for concerts, it is extremely difficult to determine if this is deliberate. Grain is mostly controlled and there is no low level noise.

    Colours are fairly dull. Some intense white lights bathe much of the stage and these tend to wash out any vibrancy from the image. Thankfully, the intense blue stage lights do not cause too many of the usual problems such as bleeding or oversaturation.

    I saw no MPEG artefacts. Video artefacts are also mostly absent, though there are a couple of bursts of aliasing. See 30:38 and 36:33-36:40 for the worst examples, the latter being a complete shimmer on Jackson, a microphone stand, and his keyboards.

    There are no subtitles present and with this being a single layered disc only, there is no layer change.

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

Audio

    There are three audio soundtracks present on this disc. There are Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 soundtracks as well as a full bitrate dts 5.1 soundtrack. I listened to both surround mixes. Those two are very similar, with little to differentiate between them. There is some separation across the front speakers, but the vocals are essentially spread across all three channels evenly with little dominance from any one channel. While I would class these as being fair to good audio soundtracks, I have heard better. There is the odd bit of background noise and some of the instruments get a little lost at times.

    The vocals are clear and precise, although the whole soundtrack is dominated by some heavily mixed percussion which at times becomes distressingly annoying.

    There is not as much surround channel usage as I was expecting. The crowd noises are pretty much it, and they are remarkably quiet most of the time.

    The subwoofer is mixed into the overall soundtrack and does not dominate in any way.

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

Extras

Main Menu Audio & Animation

Featurette - Book Reading

    Joe Jackson wrote a book in 1999 called A Cure For Gravity. He describes it as "a book about music thinly disguised as a memoir."   In this highly entertaining 22:51 featurette, Jackson stands at a podium before the concert and reads the entire first chapter. Don't be put off by that description, as this is a funny, genuine, and anecdote filled laugh-a-minute ride through Joe's early days in a pub band.

Interviews-Cast

    A 7:38 interview with Jackson as he discusses his music, his influences, and his band. Interesting.

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 that the Region 1 and Region 2 discs are identical to the Region 4 version.

Summary

    Joe Jackson is a man who has never taken a backward step, always reinventing himself and trying new things. As a result he's lost a lot of his mainstream popularity in the last ten years, but he's no doubt richer musically for the directions he has chosen to take himself in. This concert performance is fun and energetic, but at only 58 minutes is way too short for my liking. Many of my favourite Joe Jackson tracks are simply not on this disc.

    The video is average. Not the worst concert I've seen, but far from sharp and clear. The lack of 16x9 enhancement does not help.

    The audio is pretty good, though again hardly startling.

    The extras, especially the book reading are superb. A real laugh.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Darren Walters (It's . . . just the vibe . . . of my bio)
Friday, May 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

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