Alejandro Sanz-El Alma Al Aire: Live (2001) (NTSC)

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Released 9-Sep-2002

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Music Main Menu Audio & Animation
Scene Selection Anim & Audio
Featurette-Interview with Santiago Segura
Biographies-Cast
Discography
Gallery-Photo
Notes-Official Tour Schedule
Gallery-Photo-Musicians
Booklet
Rating Rated E
Year Of Production 2001
Running Time 110:39 (Case: 130)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (68:08) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Carlos Sánchez
Studio
Distributor
Warner Music
Warner Vision
Starring Alejandro Sanz
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $34.95 Music Alejandro Sanz


Video (NTSC) Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame Spanish Linear PCM 48/16 2.0 (1536Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 (256Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 480i (NTSC)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, end titles over end of programme/backstage footage

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

Plot Synopsis

    I must admit that, after my very favourable experience reviewing Alejandro Sanz's MTV Unplugged DVD, I was reasonably interested to find out what this video was like. This is a live concert recorded in 28 June 2001 at the Vicente Calderón stadium in Madrid, Spain.

    The concert is part of Alejandro's worldwide (well, mainly Spain and the Americas - North and South) "El Alma Al Aire" ("Soul in the air") tour following the 2000 release of his sixth album of the same name. The album eventually won four Latin Grammys (Record of the Year, Album of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best Male Pop Vocal Performance).

    The band members accompanying Alejandro are:

    As you would expect, Alejandro sings quite a few songs from the album (by my reckoning at least 8 out of 10 songs) but he also include quite a few fan favourites from previous albums, such as Siempre es de noche, Amíga mía, and Corazón partío.

    The stadium looks pretty full, and the audience seems to almost entirely consist of screaming teenage girls (plus a few of their boyfriends). The audience are pretty enthusiastic and obviously know the lyrics of each song by heart, since on many of the songs they seem to be singing along with him with a high-pitched "chipmunk-like" sound. By the time we get to Quisiera ser, just about the entire song is sung by the audience, with Alejandro urging them along. I'm sure he must be incredibly touched by this display of fan affection, as he keeps beating his heart with his palm. As for me, I got pretty tired of the "Chipmunk Chorus" eventually.

    Alejandro invites some of his "friends" to join him singing and dancing in the last song - Corazón partío. These include:

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Track Listing

1. Tiene Que Ser Pecado
2. Aquello Que Me Diste
3. Ese Último Momento
4. Llega, Llegó Soledad
5. Cuando Nadie Me Ve
6. Me Iré
7. Hay Un Universo De Pequeñas Cosas
8. Siempre Es De Noche
9. Medley
10. Hoy Que No Estás
11. Mi Soledad Y Yo
12. El Alma Al Aire
13. Amiga Mía
14. Y, Si Fuera Ella?
15. Quisiera Ser
16. Bulería
17. Lo Ves
18. Corazón Partío

Transfer Quality

Video

    This is an NTSC full frame transfer intended for broadcast on TV. Normally I would be whinging about NTSC transfers, but given that the programme would have been originally captured in NTSC at least we are seeing it in its original video format and that can only be a Good Thing.

    Unlike the MTV Unplugged video, which has a near-reference quality transfer sourced from a polished and highly glossed production, this one is a lot rougher, as it is recorded in a live stadium environment instead of in a studio. Black levels are fairly poor, contrast is low and colours are not well captured.

    On top of that, we get a highly compressed transfer showing many compression artefacts such as Gibb's effect, pixelization and macro blocking. I also noticed aliasing in various places.

    There are no subtitle tracks.

    This is a single sided dual layered disc (RSDL). The layer change happens at the beginning of Track 13 at 68:38 and results in a slight pause.

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

Audio

    There are three audio tracks on this disc, all in Spanish: Linear PCM 48/16 2.0 (1536Kb/s), Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s), and Dolby Digital 5.1 (256Kb/s).

    The best audio track of the three is the Linear PCM 2.0 track, and even then it sounds barely listenable. Granted that you will never get acoustics from a live performance in a stadium, this track sounds over-bright with very harsh and glazed high frequencies. At least the track sounds reasonably full-bodied and dynamic, with a reasonable soundstage and a reasonably wide frequency range.

    The other two tracks are worse. The Dolby Digital 2.0 track sounds even harsher, and in addition lacks presence and dynamics. In addition, there is quite a noticeable loss of detail in the high frequencies.

    The Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track is basically unlistenable. Encoded at an extremely low rate for a 5.1 track (256Kb/s), it is extremely bit-starved and feature lots of compression artefacts, including attenuated and out of phase high frequencies, loss of detail, recessed vocals and lack of micro dynamics.

    The rear channels are mostly used for ambience and I suspect this is not a true 5.1 mix but has been artificially generated from the stereo mix. I did not notice any significant usage of the LFE channel.

    Dialogue sounded quite natural, but since it's all in Spanish I couldn't understand a single word. Unfortunately there are no subtitle tracks, but at least I did not detect any audio synchronization issues.

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

Extras

    Extras include an interview and some stills.

Menu

    The menus are full frame, but the main menu and scene selection menus include animation and background audio.

Featurette - Interview with Santiago Segura (10:07)

    This is presented in 1.67:1 letterboxed and Dolby Digital 2.0 (320Kb/s). Fortunately, an English subtitle track is included, otherwise I would not be able to understand a single word! Alejandro talks a little bit about his past, performing in different venues including in North and South America. There are some shots of the support band who played before the concert, as well as pre-concert footage of fans and band members setting up. The two even joke about Michael Jackson and Bruce Springsteen.

Biographies-Cast-Alejandro Sanz

    This is a set of seven stills providing a biography of Alejandro Sanz. It seems to be mostly focused on the albums that he has released rather than a story of his life, and includes commentary on MTV Unplugged.

Discography

    This is a submenu that leads to 1 still per album (eight albums in total). Each album still includes cover art and track listing.

Gallery-Photo

    This consists of nine stills of various photos taken during the concert.

Notes-Official Tour Schedule

    This is two stills providing a list of locations and dates of concerts in the tour.

Gallery-Photo-Musicians

    This consists of thirteen stills of the band members.

Booklet

    This is a four page colour booklet (a single page folded in half) containing musician and production credits.

R4 vs R1

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

    The Region 1 and 4 versions of this disc are identical.

Summary

    Alejandro Sanz: El Alma Al Aire Live features the Grammy Award Spanish pop star Alejandro Sanz performing songs from his album of the same name plus additional songs from previous albums live at Vicente Calderón stadium in Madrid.

    The video transfer is overly compressed and is below average in quality.

    The audio quality for the LPCM 2.0 is slightly below average, the DD2.0 track sounds lacklustre, and the DD5.1 track suffers from a bitrate that is too low to do the music justice.

    Extras include a video interview and some stills.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Christine Tham (read my biography)
Tuesday, June 24, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDPanasonic DVD-RP82, using Component output
DisplaySony VPL-VW11HT LCD Projector, ScreenTechnics 16x9 matte white screen (254cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationDenon AVC-A1SE (upgraded)
SpeakersFront and surrounds: B&W CDM7NT, front centre: B&W CDMCNT, surround backs: B&W DM601S2, subwoofer: B&W ASW2500

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