The Beach Boys-Good Timin: Live at Knebworth England 1980 (2002)

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Released 10-Sep-2001

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Music Menu Animation & Audio
Notes-The Beach Boys on The Beach Boys Songs
Rating Rated E
Year Of Production 2002
Running Time 70:52
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Alan Boyd
Studio
Distributor

Warner Vision
Starring Brian Wilson
Carl Wilson
Dennis Wilson
Mike Love
Al Jardine
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $39.95 Music Brian Wilson


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/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

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Plot Synopsis

    Who couldn't love The Beach Boys? This disc presents us with a (not quite full) set they played in 1980 at the stately home Knebworth House in Hertfordshire, England about thirty miles north of London. The Beach Boys were the headline act at the huge outdoor festival which had become a major event since it was established in the grounds of the house in 1974. The crowd of 43,000 fans enjoyed Mike Oldfield, Santana, Elkie Brooks, The Blues Band and Lindisfarne before the lads took to the stage.

    A light rain was falling, and it certainly doesn't look like a warm night, as the breath of the band members can be seen frequently against the stage lights. Despite the inclement weather, The Beach Boys go hell-for-leather and deliver a rousing and musical set.

    The costumes are fairly cringe-worthy, with the band looking like a bunch of ABBA rejects or pimps with bushy beards. The initial couple of tunes are a little disappointing as they play them at such a fast pace that they veer in and out of caricaturing them. Things soon settle down however, and by the time God Only Knows rocks around, the band hit their straps and deliver a very competent live set. The odd cover version creeps in, which is a little strange considering the vast library of original classics which the band spawned - do not fear however, most of the set consists of pure Beach Boys gold.

    One element of this footage brought a tear to my eye, as Brian Wilson is clearly not the full quid mentally. At the side of the stage, in large lettering is a sign which would only be seen by the band - pointing toward Brian at the piano, it says simply "DON'T PANIC". Brian has not dressed up for the event and looks obese and a million miles from the audience. He almost seems to be in pain much of the time, and I cannot help feeling that he was struggling to keep himself on stage. There is a point in the concert, just before they play Help Me Rhonda, where Al Jardine approaches Brian and double-checks that he is "alright" - this is done sotto voce, but it is clear that he is genuinely concerned about Brian's state of mind.

    Brian Wilson is a musical genius. Unfortunately, he has had a somewhat troubled life, suffering from stage fright, a fear of water, near-deafness in one ear, manic depression and the legacy of drug abuse (LSD, cocaine and alcohol) - he clearly appears to be in less than the best of health during this concert. Around the period in which this concert took place, Brian was a virtual hostage of his psychotherapist, who was prescribing him psychotropic drugs, whilst bleeding him dry financially. He plays a very minor role in the stage show, generally sitting on the sidelines and vacantly playing his piano. He does actually sing in a couple of numbers (including my favourite Surfer Girl), but these instances are few and far between. There are a couple of occasions where the other band members are doing their very best to bolster Brian's fragile self-esteem and this is genuinely touching - these guys honestly adore Brian Wilson. The other band members try gamely to fill in for his missing vocals and generally do a great job of maintaining the happy vibe, but the dialogue between numbers is occasionally syrupy and Mike Love is really corny at times. These shortcomings will be forgiven by fans however as the set is generally very good and it looks like everyone (except Brian) had a great time. There appears to be one track missing, which was a solo version of I Write The Songs performed by Bruce Johnston - this does not appear on any version of this disc, but can be found on a bootleg recording of the concert.

    This concert is famous for being the final performance from the Beach Boys in the UK where all six original band members were present. Three years later, Dennis Wilson would drown in a diving accident and in 1998 Carl Wilson died from cancer after years of terrible acrimony within the band including Brian's sacking and numerous court cases to gain control of his finances. This is a rare opportunity for fans to see the boys in happier days, and whilst not at their absolute best, they deliver a rocking set which reminds us all of what sheer magic their harmonies could create.

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Track Listing

1. Intro (Good Timin')
2. California Girls
3. Sloop John B
4. Darlin'
5. School Days
6. God Only Knows
7. Be True To Your School
8. Do It Again
9. Little Deuce Coupe
10. Cotton Fields
11. Heroes And Villains
12. Keepin' The Summer Alive
13. Lady Lynda
14. Surfer Girl
15. Help Me Rhonda
16. Rock & Roll Music
17. I Get Around
18. Surfin' USA
19. You Are So Beautiful
20. Good Vibrations
21. Barbara Ann
22. Fun, Fun, Fun

Transfer Quality

Video

    The overall video transfer of this disc is fairly good. Considering the footage is now heading towards twenty five years old it shapes up remarkably well for an outdoor concert.

    The footage is presented full frame at 1.33:1 which, given the age of the original source material, is likely to be the original aspect ratio. It is not therefore 16x9 enhanced.

    The transfer is generally clean and fairly sharp. Shadow detail is alright and blacks are solid with no low-level noise evident. Colour fidelity is harder to judge due to the use of numerous coloured stage lights, but they are generally vivid and appear to have survived well.

    The transfer has no major MPEG artefacts. Film-to-video artefacts appear in the form of occasional mild aliasing, for example on Brian's microphone or Jardine's hat. Edge enhancement was not a notable problem. Wobble is present in parts of the image, but this most likely due to the use of hand-held cameras rather than the transfer process.

    There are no subtitles available.

    This is a single-sided single-layered disc (DVD 5) and does not have a layer change.

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

Audio

    The overall audio quality of this disc is fairly good, but is not quite as enveloping as I expected.

    The audio menu allows you to select either a dts or Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. There is also a lesser Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo track available for those without surround capability. The two surround tracks are very similar and either does the job fairly well.

    The sound is generally clear but there is some distortion present on occasion and the mix occasionally sounds a little harsh. There are no major drop-outs and little hiss but feedback crops up from time to time. Audio sync was fine.

    The audio is about decent CD standard, and any limitations are generally associated with the live recording rather than the transfer. Whilst the surrounds and subwoofer are used throughout, they are used to provide a fairly simple surround presence which is rather light on bass. There is little in the way of instrument separation or panning effects with the instruments all tending to blend and it feels generally pretty frontal - this is not a top-notch surround transfer.

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

Extras

    There are very few extras on this disc:

Menu

    The menu is animated and accompanied by a snippet of Surfin' USA. It allows the selection of audio track, individual song access and the following extras:

The Beach Boys On The Beach Boys Songs

    This is a series of eleven text screens with brief snippets from some of the band members on some of the songs on the disc. Lightweight stuff which adds little value.

Booklet

    The disc comes with a small foldout booklet containing three pages of tiny text, a track listing and a couple of photos of the Knebworth crowds. Again pretty lightweight.

R4 vs R1

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

    This Region 1 disc is titled The Beach Boys - Good Timin' (Live at Knebworth, England 1980) but otherwise appears to be the same as the Region 4 release. Other than the PAL transfer, there is no reason to prefer one version over the other.

Summary

    The Beach Boys - Live at Knebworth 1980 is a reasonable purchase for serious fans of the band. The audio is of reasonable quality but is nothing special and the video is generally good. The set is a good one, and it serves as a useful reminder of what a talented bunch of guys the Beach Boys really were. The sad footage of Brian will bring a tear to many a fan's eye.

    The video quality is generally good given the age and nature of the footage.

    The audio quality is reasonably good for a live concert but is not as enveloping as I would have expected from a 5.1 surround track.

    The extra features are minimal.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel O'Donoghue (You think my bio is funny? Funny how?)
Monday, July 14, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDHarmony DVD Video/Audio PAL Progressive, using Component output
DisplayPanasonic TX-47P500H 47" Widescreen RPTV. 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.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-SR600 with DD-EX and DTS-ES
SpeakersJensenSPX-9 fronts, Jensen SPX-13 Centre, Jensen SPX-5 surrounds, Jensen SPX-17 subwoofer

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