Thunder-Live (1997)

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Released 18-Nov-2002

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Music Menu Animation & Audio
Discography
DVD Credits
Rating Rated E
Year Of Production 1997
Running Time 97:58 (Case: 90)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Nick Morris
Studio
Distributor

Warner Vision
Starring Luke Morley
Danny Bowes
Chris Childs
Ben Matthews
Harry James
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $34.95 Music Thunder


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.66:1
16x9 Enhancement
Not 16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio Unknown Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, the credits roll as the band leavs the stage.

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

Plot Synopsis

    Have you heard of Thunder? No? Well, I suppose you could be forgiven - the band do not exactly have an huge following, or a high profile, here in Australia. For the uninitiated, Thunder are a solid, traditional-style rock band, whose sound is good honest guitar-rock. Of course, up until a few days ago, I too had as little idea about Thunder as most other Australians. Having now watched a live performance of theirs, they may not have made a new fan, but they certainly earned my respect.

    This concert is probably more for pleasing the existing fans than for making new fans. The band put in an excellent performance, but there is a bit too much in the way of audience interaction to make non-fans warm to the idea of repeat viewings. While their music is good, the fact that many of the songs are paused part way through for crowd sing-alongs does become annoying. As someone who doesn't know their music, I would have appreciated simply hearing the songs all the way through.

    The song selection presented is a good one, containing a nice balance of original Thunder songs, peppered with a few covers, including Gimme Some Lovin', Lazy Sunday Afternoon, and an ill-advised, Londonised, version of New York, New York (Thunder drummer Harry James essentially does a karaoke version of the song to start the concert, and fails to impress with either his singing, or his comedic act - luckily, his skills with the drumsticks are considerably greater).

    Thunder are a traditional rock band - lead and rhythm guitars, bass and drums - and it is evident in their musical style. There is nothing here of the experimental variety, no attempt at strings, and only the occasional use of keyboards or percussion. This actually works in their favour, because it goes to show that they are talented producers of good quality, honest, music. There is no trickery going on here, no slick production to hide any lack of talent - what you see is what they've got. In some ways this is a shame, as it means that they are less likely to have a break-out international hit, and from what is evident on this disc, that would not be a bad thing. However, one suspects that their devoted UK fans (fans who know all the words to all their songs - enough to sing along with no prompting to songs we here in Australia have never even heard), would have it no other way. Fans should rush out and grab this disc at the first opportunity, while those who like good, solid rock are advised to check it out.

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Track Listing

1. New York, New York
2. Welcome To The Party
3. Higher Ground
4. I'll Be Waiting
5. Util My Dying Day
6. Gimmer Some Lovin'
7. A Better Man
8. Living For Today
9. Lazy Sunday Afternoon
10. Stand Up
11. Love Walked In
12. River Of Pain
13. She's So Fine
14. Low Life In High Places
15. The Only One
16. Dirty Love

Transfer Quality

Video

    The video transfer presented here is not particularly good. While it is not to the point of being poor, it is certainly on the lower side of average.

    Presented at 1.66:1, this transfer is not 16x9 enhanced. It is impossible to tell if this was the intended aspect ratio (unfortunately framing is of no assistance here), but as it was produced in the late 90s in the UK - during their transition period to digital TV - chances are that it is either correct, or cut down from a 1.85:1 aspect ratio.

    Sharpness is poor, as the image displays little in the way of fine detail. This is not aided by the constant presence of a medium level of background grain. The grain is virtually uniform throughout, but when it does alter (such as at 21:05), it is only for the worse. Shadow detail is the only thing that is not disappointing about this transfer. It is serviceable, allowing a good view of the periphery of the stage, and of the audience. There is no low-level noise present.

    Colours are generally alright, although they do not take on the brilliance often associated with live concert recordings. Whether this is because the light show was simply not as colourful, or because the house lights were left up to ensure the band was properly illuminated for filming purposes, or even if it is a transfer problem, is impossible to say.

    There is a little bit of pixelisation from time to time on the areas of higher grain, but no other compression artefacts. Aliasing is a constant problem, which is all the more annoying for the fact that the transfer is quite soft - aliasing could at least have been done away with. Most straight lines on the screen suffer from some degree of aliasing, but there are instances, such as at 23:05 where virtually the entire screen breaks out into jagged lines and shimmering. There are no film artefacts present although whether this was because the concert was shot on video, or because the print was completely clean, is hard to say.

    There are no sub-titles present on this disc. Once again, singing along to the lyrics is left to fans alone. An additional problem is that some of the on-stage dialogue is difficult to make out, and it would have been handy to have subtitles to refer to if desired.

    This is a single-layered disc, and as such does not contain a layer-change.

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

Audio

    The audio fares better than the video, but even then can only really be called adequate. It is not without its problems, and is by no means spectacular.

    This disc contains a solitary audio track, being a Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo track (at 192 Kbps).

    The music is noise and interference free, and the lyrics generally stand out from the music. Unfortunately, the soundtrack often takes on a "muddy" sound overall, considerably reducing the clarity of the music. It is often difficult to make out the different instruments being used, and the vocals do tend to sound "flat". This sound quality comes and goes, but is quite annoying when present. Whether the problems would have been rectified by having a higher bit-rate soundtrack is hard to say. I suspect that the poor quality comes from the original master.

    On the upside, audio sync is spot on and never causes a problem.

    The sound stage is not particularly wide, and has a "dual-mono" feel on many occasions. There are times when the stereo sound stage is used to nice effect to carry the rhythm guitar in one channel and the lead in the other, but these moments are few and far between, leaving the sound stage feeling decidedly unenthusiastic.

    As this is a stereo soundtrack, subwoofer use will be governed by the bass re-direction capabilities of your amplifier, but there is enough bass there to make re-direction worthwhile. It is well controlled and never enough to bring the house down, but it certainly adds punch to the kick-drum, and gives some feeling to the bass guitar.

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

Extras

    The paltry extras included on this disc will not please anyone - even fans.

Menu

    The menu is animated, not 16x9 enhanced, themed around the band and concert, and features Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo audio.

Discography

    The solitary extra on this disc, is a solitary page, listing all albums released to date by Thunder. Useless to fans, and of little interest to non-fans.

Disc Credits

    The other "extra" is a single page of credits listing the production companies behind this disc.

R4 vs R1

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

    This disc is not available in Region 1. It is available in Region 2, and appears to be identical to ours, so get it where you find the best price.

Summary

    Thunder - Live presents a good, solid, concert from a good, solid, traditional rock band. There is a little too much in the way of audience interaction for my tastes, but that does not dull the quality of the performance. It is presented on a a DVD that is ultimately disappointing, but will still make fans happy, with almost 100 minutes of their favourites.

    The video quality is average, and sometimes worse than that. It is soft, has constant high grain levels, and many aliasing issues. It is watchable, but only that.

    The audio quality is a little better than the video, but the sound is still somewhat muddy, with quite a narrow sound stage.

    The extra(s) are pitiful. A discography and a DVD credits page do not make interesting viewing, or add any compelling reasons (in fact any reasons at all) to get this disc.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Nick Jardine (My bio, it's short - read it anyway)
Wednesday, July 09, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-555K, using Component output
DisplayLoewe Xelos 5381ZW. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-DS787, THX Select
SpeakersRochester Audio Animato Series (2xSAF-02, SAC-02, 3xSAB-01) + 12" Sub (150WRMS)

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