Toto-Now See Hear (Greatest Hits Live & More/Past to Present 1977-1990 CD) (1991)

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Released 20-Oct-2003

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Music Menu Animation & Audio
Interviews-Cast-Toto Interview, by Jan Douwe Kroeske -1988 (10:34)
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Toto 'Behind The Scenes'....And More - 1995 (11:44)
CD-Past To Present 1977-1990
Booklet-Past To Present 1977-1990
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1991
Running Time 62:59 (Case: 86)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By None Given
Studio
Distributor

Sony Music
Starring Jeff Porcaro
Steve Lukather
David Paich
Michael Porcaro
John Jessel
Chris Trujillo
Case Amaray-Transparent-S/C-Dual
RPI $34.95 Music Toto


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles Dutch
German
French
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, partly during credits

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

Plot Synopsis

    The Sony Now See Hear series turns its attention to one of the biggest bands of the late 1970's and early 1980's in Toto. The coupling is the previously released DVD Greatest Hits Live ... And More with the greatest hits compact disc release of Past To Present 1977-1990.

    Now if you did not know, Toto had a few hits in their prime as one of the biggest AOR bands and even today you will hear those few highlights on the radio. Basically, their career can be boiled down to predominantly three hit singles - Africa, Rosanna and Hold The Line - and those are the songs you can hear on the radio today. The rest of their output? On the evidence here it is basically forgettable, which pretty much accords with my CD collection over the years. The only album to appear is Toto IV, by far and away their biggest contribution to popular music.

    The rest of their career output is hardly worthwhile mentioning, in my view, and by the time 1990 rocked around and this concert was recorded in Paris, they really were the typical has-beens still searching for that elusive something to validate their continuation. In some way they get it here with an audience clamouring for more. Well, what more can a band with little output that could be considered worthwhile give than the big hits from those earlier days? They try, but the newer stuff just pales against the few big hits, and no amount of enthusiasm and over-the-top lighting is going to disguise that fact. when the concert time runs just over the hour you know that there is not much to give.

    Okay, I will have offended every Toto fan out there, and for that I apologise, but truly in the lexicon of rock and roll, they are but a minor blip on the radar who for one great album could honestly say they were on top of the world. The rest of the time... The DVD component of this package has hitherto avoided being reviewed, and on the evidence here, we have not missed a whole heap. This really is strictly for fans of the band only, and even they might be better served digging out some of the band's CDs, which can be found in some of the cheaper price ranges nowadays.

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Track Listing

1. Intro (Child's Anthem)
2. Africa
3. Georgy Porgy
4. I'll Be Over You
5. David Paich Solo Spot
6. I Won't Hold You Back
7. Little Wing
8. Without Your Love
9. English Eyes
10. Rosanna
11. Afraid Of Love
12. Hold The Line

Transfer Quality

Video

    The concert is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and naturally is not 16x9 enhanced.

    There is nothing special about this transfer, being generally quite average in definition and detail. Contrast is a little off at times and shadow detail can be very, very average. Thankfully there is nothing much in the way of grain, other than in some black and white footage which is very much part of the source material. Despite the lack of grain overall, clarity is nothing much to rave about. The presentation has a milky, filmy look to it at times, no doubt the result of the stage lighting. It seems that everything about this transfer gets back to one unavoidable word: average.

    The colours really suffer from this being a live concert performance: the stage lighting washes a lot of depth out of the colours and means that there is an inconsistency to the palette as the lighting varies. I was not that impressed by what we have, but most of the problem lies in the source material. There is some over-saturation, most especially during the intense red lighting around 23:00. All in all, an average effort reflecting source and age of the material.

    There were no apparent MPEG artefacts in the transfer. There was a very minor and barely noticeable problem with aliasing during the transfer (such as at 6:56 in the top of the speaker). There was no problem with film artefacts in the transfer.

    This is a single sided, single layer DVD, meaning no layer change.

    There are three subtitle options on the DVD, but not an English one. So we have another music DVD where we cannot follow the song lyrics.

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

Audio

    There are two English soundtracks on the DVD, being a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack and a Dolby Digital 2.0 track. You should be well acquainted with my views on the nature of earlier Sony six channel soundtracks, so you will not be surprised to see me making negative comments on another one yet again. The two channel soundtrack is definitely surround encoded and offers a fair deal of bass contribution that was unexpected. Thankfully it was far better handled than the six channel soundtrack...

    Audio sync is not a problem with either of the soundtracks.

    The music and vocals came up quite well in the two channel soundtrack, but the six channel is an entirely different matter. The problem with the six channel soundtrack is that yet again the sound mixer obviously was unable to work out that the bass does not have to drown out everything else, most especially the vocals. Those who love bass may be able to enjoy this terribly unbalanced soundtrack, but I am afraid that I am not up to the task of getting anything remotely listenable out of it. The surround encoding is nothing too subtle, thanks to bass, but ignoring that problem would indicate that perhaps it is not too shabby overall.

    The two channel soundtrack is significantly better, and while it is a little bit congested at at times, the overall effect is very good. There is a decent surround encoding in the soundtrack and a sizeable dollop of bass. Well handled in the overall mix, it certainly adds a degree of presence to a two channel soundtrack that is normally not present. This soundtrack is by far and away the better on the DVD, a depressingly all-too-common occurrence on earlier Sony DVDs in my opinion.

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

Extras

    The DVD itself features a few extras so the added CD rounds out what on face value is a very decent package.

Menu

    This is one of the more unusual setups you will find. The main menu has two options: start and subtitles. On the face of it a bit odd, but start does not exactly mean start - it takes you to another menu where you can select play all, select song or play the extras. Now it makes more sense! Otherwise, the look of the menus is quite excellent, albeit out of quality-character with the actual presentations.

Interview - Toto by Jan Douwe Kroeske (10:34)

    Recorded in 1988 in Holland, this is hardly the best effort you will ever see. Mainly involving Jeff Porcaro and Steve Lukather, the bulk of the "interview" is actually made up of music clips. The interview material is of excellent quality but the music clips are rather less so; nothing really unwatchable. Presented in a Full Frame format with the last music clip in 1.85:1, all of which is not 16x9 enhanced and with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound. Nothing wrong with the sound but this is average at best and not exactly a worthwhile contribution to the package.

Featurette - Behind The Scenes ... And More (11:44)

    Recorded in 1995, this is perhaps even less of a worthwhile addition to the package than the interview. Almost an EPK style presentation presenting a whole collection of bits of interview material and live performance material. Everyone is really nice and says nice things about everyone else but frankly the whole thing is a bit boring as it really does not have much focus. Presented in a Full Frame format that is not 16x9 enhanced and comes with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound. The video is generally better than adequate although some of the source material (live footage mainly) is not great. There is a crackle in the soundtrack at 5:27 but this is the only real issue with the sound.

CD - Past To Present 1977-1990 (65:04)

    With a reasonable overlap with the DVD in terms of songs, the one thing the CD proves for absolute certain is that the sound is miles better than the Dolby Digital 5.1 sound on the DVD. Not a good thing for the DVD. The other thing that the CD might prove is that the band really did not have a whole lot to offer outside of the big hits. For the record, the track listing on the CD is:

    While there is filler here, the album does a decent job of encapsulating the band's career and that is after all what it is supposed to do. Listening to the music after some absence (I don't get to listen to the radio much these days) certainly meant that there was a degree more freshness to the overall compilation than might otherwise have been the case.

Booklet

    The extremely minimalist booklet from the CD release, designed to fit a CD jewel case, and even by CD standards pretty d*** poor.

R4 vs R1

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

    I am having difficulty tracking down whether or not the DVD component of this release has actually been released in Region 1. Certainly the major online retailers do not list the title.

Summary

    This is definitely one for the fans only as far as the DVD is concerned, but if you choose to look at this as a CD with a DVD bonus, then perhaps it might be worthy of consideration by non-fans. The DVD is not the best you will ever see, and the hearing definitely leaves a lot to be desired in six-channel mode. On the whole I cannot really say that the package enthralls me enough to recommend it, but if the band or their music is more to your taste then perhaps you will find more to enjoy than I. I still have a problem with the price point though.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ian Morris (Biological imperfection run amok)
Wednesday, November 12, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDDenon DVD-1600, using RGB output
DisplayLoewe Aconda 9381ZW. Calibrated with Video Essentials. 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

Other Reviews NONE
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