Long Way to the Top-Live in Concert! (2002)

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Released 4-Dec-2002

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Music Main Menu Audio & Animation
Gallery-Photo
Biographies-Cast
Interviews-Cast
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2002
Running Time 205:04 (Case: 204)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (0:00)
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Various
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Col Joye
Judy Stone
Lonnie Lee
Lucky Starr
Little Pattie
Ray Columbus and the Invaders
Dinah Lee
The Twilights
Max Merritt and the Meteors
Kevin Borich
Normie Rowe
Billy Thorpe and the Original Aztecs
The Atlantics
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $59.95 Music Various


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Auto Pan & Scan Encoded English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 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

    You've watched the series, now you can enjoy the music, as performed by most of the original artists (some have unfortunately passed on) live in concert. The series, A Long Way To The Top, was probably the most comprehensive and exhaustive look at the history of rock and roll in its early days in this country. From the small venues in Sydney to the first Sunbury rock concert, through to the modern day artists, this covers those artists and bands that made up so much of what became our musical landscape. Filmed at the Sydney Entertainment Centre in 2002 it is the showpiece concert of the original mini-series.

    Before each artist (or band) appears there is usually an introduction from someone who was a friend, a mentor or helped the band to prominence. Disc one (114:32) has luminaries such as Brian Henderson, who hosted the original Bandstand doing an introduction for one of the best known old time rockers, Col Joye. He in turn does a tribute for those that have passed on like Peter Allen, Michael Hutchence, Shirley Strachan, Ted Mulry, Marc Hunter, Bon Scott and Johnny O'Keefe. He is followed by other great old time 50's rockers like Judy Stone, Lonnie Lee, Lucky Starr, Little Patti, Normie Rowe and the original Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs strutting their stuff to an attentive and captivated audience. Disc Two contains artists from the next big phase, the 60's and 70's like Axiom, Spectrum, Chain, Masters Apprentices, John Paul Young, Marcia Hines, Ross Wilson and of course Billy Thorpe and the Sunbury Aztecs. As with the first disc each act is preceded by an introduction by some luminary, manager or former artist.

    There are plenty of others who take turns on centre stage performing their most famous hit (or hits) in between those listed and it makes for a rather wide and varied collection of stellar hits from yesteryear. I must admit that some of the 50's artists were unknown to me and probably more for my parents, but it's patently obvious that everyone was enjoying themselves and it was wonderfully well presented. This would make a very nice present for someone of the older generation who has roots in the 50's and 60's (when most of this music was made) and the music on both discs certainly hasn't lost much of its appeal. One thing that amazed me was the number of artists who crossed over so many bands, especially people like Glenn Shorrock who was with the Twilights, Axiom, The Little River Band and even managed a solo career. It was also amazing to see how old everyone has gotten (now I don't feel so bad). It seems that age does eventually catch up with all of us (not to mention the booze and drugs, as in the case of Stevie Wright).

    The series was a defining one of early Australian music and bands. This is the complement to that excellent documentary series and completes the deal by presenting the music that shaped our lives during those halcyon days of the 50's, 60's and the 70's when it is said all the great music was made. The music, even though so much time has passed, certainly hasn't lost much of its magic and appeal. The concert series was such a raging success that it toured for quite a while and some of the artists are still appearing as headline acts in smaller venues around the country. I guess that says something for the longevity of good music in general.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Track Listing

1. Bye Bye Baby Goodbye/Oh Yeah
2. Yes Sir/Rock 'n' Roll Heaven
3. Sing Sing Sing/Be Bop a Lula
4. 4,003,221 Tears/Hasta Manana
5. Ain't it So/Starlight Starbright
6. I Found a New Love/Yes Indeed I Do
7. I've Been Everywhere
8. He's My Blonde Haired Stompie...
9. Stompin' at Maroubra/Til We Kissed
10. She's a Mod/Don't You Know Yokomo
11. Reel Petite/What's Wrong With...
12. Needle in a Haystack/Try a Little..
13. Gonna See My Baby Tonight
14. It Ain't Necessarily So
15. Que Sera Sera/Shakin' All Over
16. Sick and Tired/Over the Rainbow
17. Poison Ivy/Bombora/Morning of the..
18. Sea the Swells/The Real Thing
19. Wings of an Eagle/Sweet Sweet Love
20. Arkansas Grass/Little Ray of Sun...
21. Gingerman/Because I Love You
22. Turn Up Your Radio/Come Back Again
23. Hi Honey Ho/Eagle Rock/You
24. Fire and Rain
25. Your Love Still Brings Me To My...
26. Evie Parts 1/2/3/I Hate the Music
27. I'll Be Gone/God/Human Being
28. Liberate Rock/I Remember When I...
29. Black and Blue/Most People I Know..
30. Oop Oop a Doo

Transfer Quality

Video

    Concert footage is usually pretty consistent. There isn't a lot happening in the background so any flaws are front and centre and easily discernable. This has the advantage of being relatively new and therefore suffers none of the problems of older footage. Clean and clear is the order of the day with only minor problems noted.

    Both discs are presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and are 16x9 enhanced, as originally shot.

    The sharpness is excellent with very little problems making out the sequins and rhinestones adorning various costumes or with the faces of the artists. Grain was light, even through the various smoky sections, which was very pleasing in maintaining a very high quality picture. Shadow detail is mostly irrelevant since everything happens on a single stage, but where necessary it was clearly delineated with good sharply defined backgrounds and fine detail aplenty. No low level noise was noted on either disc.

    The colour was excellent from start to finish, as you'd expect of a concert. Skin tones looked perfect given the unnatural lighting conditions in effect and the use of multicoloured filtered lights on the stage. Overall, no colour bleed or chroma noise was visible.

    There were no MPEG, film or video artefacts to note at all on either disc. Obviously taken from a pristine quality master, this is a truly memorable transfer.

    There were no subtitles on these discs.

    There were no noticeable pauses indicating a layer change noted on either disc. Given the plethora of extras though, and the myriad of opportunities to hide a layer change, it has probably been hidden between features and extras.

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

Audio

    There are two soundtracks on these discs. The first is a Dolby Digital 5.1 track at 448 kilobits per second and the alternate is a Dolby Digital 2.0 track at a bitrate of 224 kilobits per second. I sampled both equally on certain tracks for veracity and I can safely say that the differences are minimal. The 5.1 track has a much fuller and enveloping sound to it, but the 2.0 track loses only a little in the surround area and lacks none of the punch of the 5.1 track. Personally I preferred 5.1 track (so I'm a philistine, I don't care) for its fuller sound. There is plenty of separation across the front speakers on both discs.

    There were no problems with either the dialogue or the syncing on either disc.

    The 5.1 soundtrack offers a fair amount of surround activity. The most noticeable is the applause and crowd interaction but it also adds a nice element to the music as well filling it out quite nicely and placing you in the centre of the soundfield.

    Minimal subwoofer activity was noted which was a little disappointing, but given the otherwise excellent soundtrack it wasn't totally necessary. To be fair many of the songs simply wouldn't have sounded right with a deep bass track.

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

Extras

Main Menu Audio & Animation

    A static picture backgrounded by a rotating star and the various options with a star that pulses in and out comprises the menu. The audio is a snippet from the AC/DC track A Long Way to the Top which repeats every 30 seconds or so.

Gallery-Photo

    Each disc contains a photo gallery of each of the artists performing on that disc (2 photos each) plus a couple of makeup shots to bring the number to 30 on each.

Biographies-Cast

    Varying from a single page up to 4 pages, these offer some of the more memorable details of each act and their history in Australian rock and roll. Some interesting facts but strictly research material.

Interviews-Cast

    Each disc contains an interview with the artist or band after they have just performed. To be honest, this was probably the weakest part of the whole with some inane questions being asked and even lamer answers. Occasionally it rises about the mundane to be worthwhile, but for the most part it is quite forgettable.

    Disc 1: Col Joye (2:25), Judy Stone (2:05), Lonnie Lee (2:23), Lucky Starr (2:13), Little Pattie (1:21), Ray Columbus (1:34), Dinah Lee (2:43), The Twilights (2:10), Max Merritt (2:19), Kevin Borich (1:58), Normie Rowe (2:56), Billy Thorpe (3:30), The Atlantics (2:20)

    Disc2: Taman Shud (2:38), Russell Morris (2:01), Axiom (2:49), Masters Apprentices (2:34), Ross Wilson (4:26), Marcia Hines (1:25), Stevie Wright (2:46), John Paul Young (2:08), Spectrum (1:28), Lobby Loyd (2:54), Chain (3:28), Billy Thorpe (4:30)

R4 vs R1

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

    There is no Region 1 release of this series at this time (and probably never will be). Therefore, the Region 4 version is the release of choice.

Summary

    You saw the series, now relive the concert of so many acts that made rock and roll in Australia way back when. Beautifully filmed with solid sound and an interesting extras package which allows you to quickly play the songs of your favourite act from the concert series.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Carl Berry (read my bio)
Tuesday, December 02, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDSony NS-305, using RGB output
DisplayLoewe Xelos (81cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderRotel RSP-976. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationRotel RB 985 MkII
SpeakersJBL TLX16s Front Speakers, Polk Audio LS fx di/bipole Rear Speakers, Polk Audio CS350-LS Centre Speaker, M&KV-75 Subwoofer

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