The Rolling Stones-Four Flicks (2003)
Menu Animation & Audio
Featurette-Licks Around The World
Bonus Track-The Bootlegs - 7 tracks
DVD-ROM Extras-Fan Club
Audio Commentary-Street Fighting Man, Happy, It's Only Rock 'N' Roll
Featurette-Sheryl Crow and the Stones
Featurette-Making The HBO Special
Audio Commentary-Gimme Shelter,( I Can't Get No) Satisfaction,
Audio Commentary-Sympathy For The Devil
Featurette-AC/DC And The Stones
Audio Commentary-Start Me Up, HonkyTonk Women, Jumpin' Jack Flash
Featurette-Solomon 'The Rev' Burke
Featurette-Playing The Olympia
Featurette-Backstage Pass - Cut Between Performance & Backstage
|Year Of Production||2003|
|RSDL / Flipper||
Multi Disc Set (4)
|Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,3,4,5,6||Directed By||Marty Callner|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||
English Linear PCM 48/16 2.0 (1536Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||Varies|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||Varies||Miscellaneous|
|Smoking||Yes, have you met Ronnie Wood?|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
I doubt there can possibly be a rock and roll fan in the world who would not rate The Rolling Stones amongst the Top 10 bands of all time. What other band has had more commercial success over such a sustained period of time? What other current band competed on an even footing with The Beatles and has delivered hit records for over forty years? What other band can possibly have performed live to so many people around the world? There are numerous websites dedicated to them for those of you who wish to be amazed by some of the band's background and stats, but one of the better (albeit incomplete) reads is the Rolling Stone magazine bio. I am no die-hard Stones fan, but I can easily appreciate just how important they are to the history of rock and roll.
I was lucky enough to finally get around to watching the Stones perform live in 2003, at the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne. They were appearing as part of the Australian leg of their Licks World Tour. This coincided with the release of the great compilation album Forty Licks - which in turn was celebrating forty years of performances by this archetypal rock and roll band. This DVD - Four Flicks - documents the Licks tour in a truly innovative and appropriate way. The band decided that on this tour they would perform at a range of venues, representing the range of venues which they had enjoyed over their illustrious career - namely Theatres, Arenas and huge Stadia.
This DVD set is spread across a mammoth four DVDs comprising three full concerts and numerous extra features. The discs are presented in a fold out "Digipak" sheet which rolls up into a deep boxed cover which is then inserted into a cardboard slip-cover. The first disc presents a documentary entitled The Tip Of The Tongue, which runs for a substantial 50:39 and provides some background to the creation of the tour along with some nice historical footage of the band. It is highly evident that a Rolling Stones tour is not something which can be thrown together over a long weekend - these guys are the tip of a huge business empire. It forms a really great introduction to the concert discs, and makes you appreciate what a massive amount of work goes on behind the scenes to ensure that the fans get the very best of what the band has to offer.
The second disc presents an Arena show running for 114:22 - filmed at Madison Square Garden in New York City, and also broadcast live on HBO in America. This is probably the most technically proficient of the three performances in this collection. The set includes the excellent Angie and a great rendition of Honky Tonk Women with Sheryl Crow amongst the highlights of a solid concert. This reminded me of the concert I attended in Melbourne and brought back some very happy memories.
The third disc shows the band playing to a packed crowd at Twickenham Stadium in London (the home of English Rugby). This concert runs for 107:15 and was probably my favourite as the huge setting allows for some spectacular special effects and the set includes highlights in the way of personal favourites You Can't Always Get What You Want and Wild Horses. For fans of the rockier numbers this concert also features great versions of Paint It Black and Sympathy For The Devil.
Running for 101:07, the final disc displays the Stones in a more intimate environment - the Olympia Theatre in Paris. For me - as a strictly fair-weather fan - this was the weakest of the concerts, as it included numerous songs which I had not heard before and few of the popular classics. For diehard fans of the band, this disc may be the most valuable as it offers the opportunity to listen to live performances of some more obscure tracks. The supporting band seems cut-down and of course the set is fairly minimal compared to the larger venues. There is little wrong with the actual performance (other than the embarrassingly awful rendition of The Nearness Of You by Keith Richards), it's just that the set list and staging was not to my particular taste - your mileage will vary.
Mick Jagger is a living legend. He has truly become a rock icon and is arguably the most charismatic performer the rock world has ever seen. In this set we get to experience his distinctive vocals and even more distinctive sinewy dance routines as he parades around the stage with the audience in the palm of his hand. Not only that, Mick also treats us to some guitar playing and the odd piano recital, plus song introductions in several different languages - a real renaissance man. He is joined by the new band member Ronnie Wood on guitar. Ronnie has only been with the band for thirty years, but seems to be fitting in quite well - he seems to have picked up the tunes adequately. The terminally shy Charlie Watts sits at the back of the stage, tapping out his drum rhythms with barely a flicker of an expression on his face. Finally of course, representing the living dead, is that other musical genius Keith Richards. Whilst he cannot sing to save his life (making even Bob Dylan sound like an opera diva) his sublime guitar riffs and song writing skills cannot be denied.
It is always the case with live performances of seminal musical numbers - songs which have become a part of the very fabric of rock history - that they don't sound exactly like you remember them. I found at the Melbourne gig that I was disappointed with some of the songs, in that they had been "tampered with" too much for my liking. On this four DVD set, there are so many tracks that there is certain to be something to please every fan of the band. For anyone who has an interest in The Rolling Stones, this set is an absolute gem. If you only buy one Rolling Stones DVD, this should be the one - with over nine hours of features it has tremendous replayability. With the extra features it is much more than a simple concert DVD. Highly recommended for fans of the band, or for anyone looking for a well put together example of a concert DVD package. Excellent stuff that is well worth the admission price.
2. Rock Me Baby / B****
3. ICan'tTurnYouLoose/Ext.Western Grip
4. Well Well / Intro (Incl. Miss You)
5. StreetFighting Man/IfYouCan'tRockMe
6. Don't Stop / Monkey Man
7. Angie / Let It Bleed
8. Midnight Rambler/ Thru And Thru
9. Happy / You Got Me Rocking
13. Jumpin' Jack Flash / Brown Sugar
14. YouGotMeRocking / Rocks Off
15. WildHorses / You Can't Always Get
|16. Paint It Black / Tumbling Dice|
17. SlippingAway/Sympathy ForThe Devil
18. StarStar/IJustWantToMakeLoveTo You
19. Street Fighting Man / GimmeShelter
21. Jumpin' Jack Flash / Start Me Up
22. Live With Me / Neighbours
23. Hand Of Fate/ No Expectations
24. Worried About You / Doo Doo Doo Doo
25. Stray Cat Blues / Dance (Pt. 1)
27. GoingTo A Go-Go/ Nearness Of You
28. BeforeThey Make Me Run/ Love Train
29. Respectable / Honky Tonk Woman
30. Brown Sugar / Jumpin'Jack Flash
The overall video transfer on these discs is very good. Considering most of the footage is from live stage performances, this is probably as good as it gets.
One slightly frustrating aspect of this DVD set is that the material changes aspect ratio so frequently. Of the three concerts, New York and Paris are offered in a non 16x9 enhanced ratio of 1.30:1 whilst Twickenham is presented 16x9 enhanced at 1.74:1. The aspect ratios of the various bonus features are detailed below.
The transfer is generally clean and fairly sharp with no annoying grain in the main concert footage. Blacks are inky and deep with no low-level noise evident. Colour fidelity is tricky to judge accurately due to the endless use of coloured stage lighting, but the colours look vivid and vibrant enough for my taste. The cerise, gold and leopard skin shirts all come across cleanly enough with no evidence of colour bleeding. Skin tones can also be hard to judge in these circumstances, but I noticed no unusual colouration.
The transfer has no major MPEG artefacts. Film-to-video artefacts are present in the form of mild aliasing which can be noticed from time to time on guitars and drums et cetera - it is never significantly distracting however. Edge enhancement was not a notable problem.
There are film artefacts present in the archival footage which is scattered through the discs, but the new material is generally very clean indeed.
There are no subtitles available for the actual concerts but those used on the extra features serve their purpose well enough.
Each of the four DVDs is presented in a DVD9 (single sided, double sided) format. I did not detect a layer change on any of them.
The overall audio quality of this disc is adequate, but is not quite as inspiring as I had hoped for.
The audio menu allows you to select either an LPCM stereo track encoded at 1536 kbps, or a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack encoded at 448 kbps. To be honest, the LPCM track is just as good as the surround mix and many people will make this their version of choice. The various extra features sometimes take their audio set-up from your choice of concert audio, but at other times have a Dolby Digital 2.0 audio mix as detailed below.
The transfer appears to be clean enough, but some of the sound is a little muddy - I am assuming that this is due to the actual concert sound itself. Certainly when I saw the band live, I was not overly impressed by the sound mix - I found the bass far too heavy and the overall volume too loud. I suppose it is unfair to expect a studio quality mix from concert footage, but for such an elaborate set of discs, I felt the audio transfer was adequate - no more. There is little in the way of major problems - there is the occasional bit of feedback and occasional distortion but I am sure that this is inherent to the original material, and not a fault with the transfer. Audio sync was fine.
If you select the Dolby Digital 5.1 audio option then the surround speakers will see some action. To be frank this generally consists of crowd noise, ambient sounds and some leakage of music from the front soundstage. With a live concert it is probably perfectly appropriate that the vocals and music are fairly heavily anchored to the front stage - but this is certainly not a reference example of a surround mix. A much, much better example can be found on Hell Freezes Over by The Eagles.
Unsurprisingly, the subwoofer gets a fair chance to support the music - primarily the drum track - and there is a fair amount of bass present throughout the concerts. Obviously there is nothing in the way of true LFE sound.
Take my advice. Forget the technicalities of the audio transfer, crank up the volume and enjoy the music - this is The Rolling Stones!
|Surround Channel Use|
Did someone ask for a side order of extras? More like a main course in itself, the set offers the following special features:
The menus on each disc are very well put together, featuring moving video and sound and all of the obvious set-up options for subtitles and audio preferences. Each of the concert discs provide a track list of the concert, allowing selection of individual songs. There is also an option on each disc entitled "This DVD" which allows the credits for the production to be read. The menus are very easy to navigate, but do feature an almost overwhelming amount of options - I will do my best to describe them below:
The set comes with a small ten page booklet featuring some nice photographs of the band, along with quotations and a track listing for each of the concert DVDs. Not a huge addition, but welcome nonetheless.
Running for a substantial 22:18, this documentary gives a brief overview of the range of countries which the band visited during the Licks tour. Seeing the band introduced by Bill Clinton, listening to Mick speak Japanese or watching them play in Prague, Barcelona or India makes you further appreciate the sheer scale of their importance and of their endeavour with the tour. Presented in a ratio of 1.33:1 (not 16x9 enhanced) with an LPCM stereo audio track encoded at 1536 kbps, this is a worthwhile watch.
Running for 5:38, this segment covers the concert the band played in Toronto, to try and get the city back on its feet after tourism and industry was decimated by the SARS epidemic. It features snippets with other bands who appeared such as AC/DC, The Guess Who and Justin Timberlake. Presented in a ratio of 1.33:1 (not 16x9 enhanced) with a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack encoded at 224 kbps. An intriguing look behind the scenes as the stars mingle with each other.
With a choice of Dolby Digital stereo or 5.1 surround audio, a number of "bootleg" video tracks are available for your delectation:
The first five tracks are taken from concert footage and are presented 16x9 enhanced at 1.78:1. The final two clips are taken from recording studio rehearsals and are presented at 1.33:1.
The track Monkey Man is presented 16x9 enhanced at 1.78:1 with a choice of Dolby Digital stereo or 5.1 surround audio tracks. The main screen shows the edited camera shots from the concert, while a vertical stack of five smaller windows allows you to switch to a camera angle showing the other members of the band in isolation. So if you wish to watch Charlie play while you listen to the track, or watch Ronnie's chain-smoking instead, then you are at liberty to do so. A great little addition.
There is a link to the Rolling Stones Fan Club, and purchasing this DVD will allow you to have 30 days free membership of the club, with full access to presale tickets and exclusive merchandise. A thoughtful addition.
A brief discussion is provided by one or more of the band, describing some background information on the origin of the particular song, intercut with shots of the song being performed. These are often very informative anecdotes. Presented in a letterboxed ratio of 1.66:1 (not 16x9 enhanced) with the audio in the format chosen for the main concert (LPCM stereo or Dolby Digital 5.1):
An excellent feature this one. It allows you to select the songs in any order and quantity you like, to form your own customised version of the concert. Want to hear Angie fifteen times a row, followed by a quick blast of Honky Tonk Women - go ahead! You can still use the chapter search keys to move through your customised concert once it is playing too.
The old fogies letch over the bountiful beauty of Sheryl Crow and she admits to being a long time fan of the band. Intercut with footage of her performance with the band (after supporting them) at Madison Square Garden. Presented in a ratio of 1.33:1 (not 16x9 enhanced) with Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo sound encoded at 192 kbps and running for 2:26.
A behind the scenes look at the HBO live broadcast. Presented at 1.33:1 (not 16x9 enhanced) with the audio in LPCM stereo at 1536 kbps and running for 5:24. Another nice addition, albeit the video and audio quality is a little limited at times, with audio hiss and aliasing highly evident.
You are given the option to watch the concert with either or both of two extra features enabled. Firstly the Select-A-Stone feature (for a limited number of songs) and secondly the Band Commentary feature. Good stuff.
A brief discussion is provided by one or more of the band, describing some background information on the origin of the particular song, intercut with shots of the song being performed. These are often very informative anecdotes, this time presented in a 16x9 enhanced ratio of 1.75:1 with the audio in the format chosen for the main concert:
As described above.
The band talk about their on-stage antics with AC/DC in Europe. It seems a great time was had by all. The most amazing thing is just how d*** tiny Angus and Malcolm Young are! Intercut with footage of their performances together and presented in various non 16x9 enhanced ratios, with Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo sound encoded at 192 kbps and running for 4:20.
Another opportunity to watch the amazing manga-inspired graphics of the young lady riding the cartoon Jagger tongue. This is taken from the concert, but is a different video cut, focusing much more on the animation than the on-stage performances. Presented in a ratio of 1.78:1 16x9 enhanced, with Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo sound encoded at 224 kbps and running for 4:15.
You are given the option to watch the concert with either or both of two extra features enabled. Firstly the Backstage Pass feature and secondly the Band Commentary feature. The Backstage Pass allows you to watch behind the scenes footage of roadies getting guitars ready, Ronnie changing shirts et cetera, seamlessly inserted into the concert footage. The scenes can be discerned by the presence on an animated tongue in the bottom right corner of the screen - and also, more obviously, by the fairly grainy and colour-starved nature of the footage. Very nice.
A brief discussion is provided by one or more of the band, describing some background information on the origin of the particular song, intercut with shots of the song being performed. These are often very informative anecdotes. This time presented in a non 16x9 enhanced ratio of 1.66:1 with the audio in the format chosen for the main concert:
As described above.
The boys are joined on stage by Solomon Burke to sing his song (made famous in The Blues Brothers), Everybody Needs Somebody To Love. Intercut with footage of the lads talking about Solomon's not inconsiderable weight and presented in various non 16x9 enhanced ratios, with Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo sound encoded at 192 kbps and running for 3:31.
Presented in a ratio of 1.33:1 and not 16x9 enhanced, with Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo sound encoded at 224 kbps and running for 2:22, the guys discuss how the gig was used to play a lot of unusual material and how they use the smaller venues to try something a little different.
The (superb) track Angie is presented non 16x9 enhanced at 1.33:1 with a choice of Dolby Digital stereo or 5.1 surround audio tracks. As described above, the main screen shows the edited camera shots from the concert, while a vertical stack of five smaller windows allows you to switch to a camera angle showing the other members of the band in isolation.
Once again you are given the option to watch the concert with either or both of two extra features enabled. Firstly the Backstage Pass feature and secondly the Band Commentary feature.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
This DVD appears to be have been released with identical content in Region 1 and in Region 2. Buy whichever is cheapest.
Four Flicks is described on the cover as being "the ultimate Rolling Stones Live 4 DVD set..." and I would find it very difficult to argue with that proposition. This is heaven for fans of the band with endless hours of fun to be had by all who love the music of this seminal rock group. Very good video, a choice of audio formats and a lot of value adding extras make this package very highly recommended indeed.
The video quality is generally very good for live rock concert footage.
The audio transfer is good for a live concert but is by no means outstanding. Crank it up and she'll be right.
The extra features are fairly extensive and round out this substantial package rather well.
|DVD||Harmony DVD Video/Audio PAL Progressive, using Component output|
|Display||Sanyo PLV-Z2 WXGA projector. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 720p.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.|
|Amplification||Onkyo TX-SR600 with DD-EX and DTS-ES|
|Speakers||JensenSPX-9 fronts, Jensen SPX-13 Centre, Jensen SPX-5 surrounds, Jensen SPX-17 subwoofer|