Pat Benatar-Live in New Haven (1983) (NTSC)

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Released 22-Sep-2003

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Music Main Menu Audio & Animation
Scene Selection Anim & Audio
Trailer-Rhino DVD Catalog
Rating Rated E
Year Of Production 1983
Running Time 59:33
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Marty Callner
Studio
Distributor
Rhino Home Video
Warner Vision
Starring Pat Benatar
Neil Giraldo
Myron Grombacher
Roger Capps
Charlie Giordano
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $34.95 Music None Given


Video (NTSC) Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/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 No

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

Plot Synopsis

    For the acoustic rock fans there was Ann and Nancy Wilson, for the slightly rockier crowd there was Pat Benatar. I have to confess to devouring just about everything they did musically, and was not averse to the visual side of things either. Whilst their music was a bit different, there was some commonality between Ann Wilson and Pat Benatar: both were d*** good looking women and both had d*** fine voices. On the balance though, Pat Benatar had the better vocal instrument, probably due to her training.

    Blessed with a genuine mezzo-soprano voice, she had many years of formal music training, including a flirtation with opera. She actually turned down the opportunity to study at the famed Julliard School because of economics. Their loss, our gain I reckon. Eventually discovered in New York, Pat Benatar managed to produce a string of hit albums and hit singles in the 1970's and 1980's. She garnered a strong fan base and this is reflected in this programme recorded in 1983 in New Haven.

    With a vast collection of material to delve into, the gorgeously voiced Pat Benatar struts around in her trademark black mini skirt (with a slit that goes right up to...), belting out most of her familiar tunes: Fire And Ice, You Better Run, We Live For Love, In The Heat Of The Night and Shadows Of The Night, amongst others. Despite the familiarity that many of these songs hold, there seems to be a freshness about them when she sings them on stage. There would probably be more of a freshness to them if the soundtrack were up to the task (of which more anon).

    I was much looking forward to this DVD, but in the final analysis 60 minutes of Pat Benatar is nowhere near enough to do her justice and as a fan this just left me wishing for a whole lot more. When coupled with the rather poor transfers, this is not the sort of debut that fans would have liked for the lady on DVD. Somewhere out there is surely a better live video than this? In the absence of anything better, I suppose that fans should indulge in this effort. Just be aware that it is not a great DVD in any real way.

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Track Listing

1. Anxiety
2. Fire And Ice
3. You Better Run
4. Little Too Late
5. Fight It Out
6. Looking For A Stranger
7. I Want Out
8. We Live For Love
9. In The Heat Of The Night
10. Shadows Of The Night
11. Heartbreaker
12. Hit Me With Your Best Shot
13. Hell Is For Children

Transfer Quality

Video

    This is an NTSC formatted DVD so unless your system can cope with the format, you might as well not bother reading further. If it is any consolation, you will not be missing much in any case.

    The show is presented in a Full Frame format and it is not 16x9 enhanced.

    Whilst the transfer is in fairly good condition given its twenty years of age, it is not an impressive effort. In broad terms, the transfer suffers from softish definition, an indistinct appearance and poor shadow detail. There is a degree of grain present in the transfer but nothing really noticeable in the overall presentation. Clarity is poor and you really have a hard time believing that this is not a one dimensional presentation. The foreground and background at times certainly manage to almost merge. There is a degree of flaring in the transfer that does not help the situation in any way at all. This really does look all of its twenty years barring a couple of very brief sections - around 29:40 and again around 56:55, where the detail and definition approach a far better standard.

    Like so many concert videos, the presentation is affected by the stage lighting. In something of a perverse way, this one suffers because the lighting simply does not give the show any sort of visual lift at all. The colours are very flat in appearance, offering little in the way of visual delight, and lack any real definition. It perhaps does not help that Pat Benatar wears her trademark short black mini skirt - rather than having some depth to it, it constantly blends into the background. At least there is so little saturation of colour here that oversaturation was never going to be any sort of issue at all. Colour bleed would also require some actual tonal depth to become an issue...

    The quality of the transfer at least means that artefacts of any kind are barely an issue. Indeed, about the only thing that I noted were a couple of mild instances of aliasing on the keyboards - at 22:41 and 45:56.

    This is a single sided, single layered DVD so we don't have to worry about a layer change.

    There are no lyric subtitles on the DVD, which is always an annoyance - especially when the vocals are not exactly strong in the sound mix as here.

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

Audio

    There are two soundtracks on this DVD, being an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack and an English Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack. That might sound inviting but believe me it is not.

    The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is rather poor, being quite muddied at times and with some raucous overemphasis of bass, too. The mix is rather flat sounding in other respects and Pat Benatar's glorious voice can at times be barely heard above the indistinct instrumentals. There are certainly times where you may have difficulty understanding the lyrics - making the lack of lyric subtitles all the more galling. There are no apparent audio sync issues with the transfer.

    The words Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack tend to suggest a surround sound experience right? Well, I suppose it is an experience, but not a very good one in any respect. As indicated, the overall mix is quite muddied and congested and whilst it has body, it lacks definition. There is frontal sound congestion - I cannot in all honesty call it surround activity - but there is virtually nothing intelligible in the rear channels. At best there might be some audience ambience but that would be about it. Certainly there is nothing inviting about the soundscape and you have no feeling of actually being at the concert. Rather, the effect is one of watching a poorly mastered stereo soundtrack with the low frequency channel at times overpowering just about everything in the muddied mix. Whoever was responsible for this surround mix has not one iota of any understanding of music or sound in general. Some pointed definition of the various instruments would certainly have not gone astray here.

    The Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack is a slightly better effort overall, but not by much. It too is a little muddied and indistinct and certainly lacks the clarity that we tend to expect from this sort of soundtrack. At least it appeared to be free of any background problems.

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

Extras

    Nothing at any value whatsoever is the sad to report fact. This represents a sadly wasted opportunity in every respect. No discography? No notes? No biography? No interview? No bonus tracks? Good grief...

Menu

    Some audio and animation is contained in the menus which are otherwise not great.

Trailer - Rhino DVD Catalog

    Yes, the spelling is correct - indicating the American source of the master. Pointless advertising.

Censorship

    There is censorship information available for this title. Click here to read it (a new window will open). WARNING: Often these entries contain MAJOR plot spoilers.

R4 vs R1

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

    The equivalent Region 1 DVD by the single account found is identical to the Region 4 release - hardly surprising given the fact that the Region 4 release is an NTSC DVD.

Summary

    Whilst the programme itself is pretty good, albeit woefully inadequate in length, the transfers are anything but. The video transfer is perhaps no worse than we should expect for an unrestored twenty year old video, but the audio transfer is extremely poor. Added into the equation is a non-existent extras package, further diminishing the value of the package overall. All-in-all, Pat Benatar - Live In New Haven is a sadly wasted opportunity in every respect. I would suggest even fans would be hard-pressed to find kind things to say about the DVD other than the fact that it is at least something from Pat Benatar.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ian Morris (Biological imperfection run amok)
Sunday, September 28, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDDenon DVD-1600, using RGB output
DisplayLoewe Aconda 9381ZW. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationYamaha RXV-795
SpeakersEnergy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right C-2; rears EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL

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