Dead or Alive-Evolution: The Videos (2003)

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Released 11-Sep-2003

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Music Main Menu Audio & Animation
Scene Selection Animation
Short Film-Rip It Up - Live In Japan Concert (53:00)
Music Video-TV Performance - Lover Come Back (2:59)
Music Video-TV Performance - Misty Circles (2:47)
Music Video-TV Performance - Flowers (5:28)
Music Video-TV Performance - It's Been Hours Now (2:35)
Music Video-Rebel Rebel (4:04)
Discography
Booklet
Web Links
Rating Rated E
Year Of Production 2003
Running Time 59:35 (Case: 110)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By None Given
Studio
Distributor

Sony Music
Starring Pete Burns
Case Brackley-Opaque-No Lip
RPI $34.95 Music Dead Or Alive


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (256Kb/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 Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Way back when - well, probably the 1980's - it seemed that to succeed in the music industry you needed to be able to knock the establishment a tad. So it was that seemingly the entire music industry was dominated by homosexuals, bisexuals, transsexuals, asexuals, trisexuals, sadosexuals, masosexuals and just about any other sort of sexual bent you could imagine (or invent).

    And then there was Pete Burns...

    Even by the standards that had been established by the punk era and subsequently, Pete Burns was pretty much in a league of his own in the mainstream music business. The band he headed was Dead Or Alive and at least for one album they were one of the top bands around. Whilst their debut album, Sophisticated Boom Boom, was a pretty unmemorable effort, their second album was an entirely different kettle of fish altogether. Youthquake featured four of the biggest songs the band was ever going to have: You Spin Me Round (basically the song for which they will always be remembered), In Too Deep, Lover Come Back To Me and My Heart Goes Bang. After the album was released, no one at the time could ever say they had not heard of Dead Or Alive for they were everywhere. It did not last and much of their subsequent output was eminently forgettable.

    Still, as a blast from the past, this programme certainly shows that at their best the band had some really danceable and enjoyable music. I had not listened to Youthquake for probably a decade before sitting down for this review session, but straight away I was back into that dance beat and really enjoying the music.

    And that of course is precisely the point of a programme like this - to recall some portion of your musical past and enjoy it. On that score, this programme succeeds admirably and is well worth checking out. It is not something that you could watch every day but I certainly can see myself returning to this again in the not-too-distant future. At the price that I have seen this available for - as low as $15 - it is hard to give it a miss.

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

Track Listing

1. You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)
2. Brand New Lover 12"
3. Something In My House
4. Turn Around & Count 2 Ten 12"
5. Come Home With Me Baby 12"
6. Lover Come Back
7. In Too Deep
8. I'll Save You All My Kisses
9. Your Sweetness Is Your Weakness
10. Hooked On Love
11. My Heart Goes Bang
12. That's The Way
13. I'd Do Anything
14. You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)

Transfer Quality

Video

    The transfer is notionally presented in a Full Frame format that is not 16x9 enhanced. I say notionally as some of the videos are presented in widescreen format, either 1.85:1 or 2.35:1.

    With the range in age of the material included here, there is naturally some variability in the look of the transfer. The best bits are very sharp, well defined, well detailed and with nary any issue to quibble over. Shadow detail is of course irrelevant here as "artistic" choices abound. The worst bits are just about the exact opposite, although it is difficult to distinguish whether or not the impoverished nature of the transfer is genuine choice or age related.

    The colours are naturally rather inconsistent as the material does range over a period of nearly twenty years. At its best you would be hard-pressed to fault them - bright, vibrant, very well saturated and just plain lovely to look at (and if you know Pete Burns, you know how important high quality colour is to the programme). However, some of the material - deliberately or not - is a little lacking in quality, being undersaturated and not too well defined. Overall, I thought the colours were good and better than I was anticipating.

    There is no real indication of any MPEG artefacting in the transfer. Film-to-video artefacts are confined to some rather modest aliasing that is certainly better than average for music programmes. Most of the aliasing is not that noticeable and certainly not distracting. There are no real issues with film artefacts either, although some of the material is apparently from video sources and there are some inherent problems in that material.

    This is a dual layered, single sided DVD. It would seem that the videos are mastered on one layer and the extras on the other so there is no layer change to worry about.

    There are no subtitle options on the DVD, severely limiting the enjoyment for hearing impaired viewers.

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

Audio

    There are two soundtracks on the disc, being an English Dolby Digital 5.1 effort and an English Dolby Digital 2.0 effort (not a PCM Stereo soundtrack as stated on the slick cover). I know that I am usually very anti-bass in my reviews but in this instance the engineers have done a good job in providing a thumping bass track that this music really needs.

    The vocals are just a little overpowered by the bass track but otherwise there are no problems with hearing everything. There are just the usual problems associated with lip-synching that is part of the whole music video thing.

    About the only real issue with the soundtrack is that the surround encoding is not especially terrific. Sure the bass channel gets a really good workout and you will be bouncing along (quite literally at higher listening volumes) really happily with it, but you will be hard-pressed to find anything in the way of rear surround channel use at all. The front surrounds are used to flesh out the body of the sound quite well but it is still nothing terrific in the main. The sound is quite open and quite clear but is limited slightly by the age of some of the source material.

    I only sampled the Dolby Digital 2.0 effort but that sampling would indicate that there is nothing awry with it, other than the natural wimpishness in comparison to the six channel soundtrack.

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

Extras

    Quite a decent bunch of extras, at least in quantity, has been included in this package. The quality, however, does leave something to be desired.

Menu

    Pretty well done, although only the main menu has audio enhancement. There is some animation enhancement on some menus and when moving between menus. Just for the record, the response of the DVD to the commands from your remote is rather dilatory (or if you want to be a little less couth - bloody slow).

Short Film - Rip It Up: Live In Concert (53:00)

    It certainly is not often that an independent extra runs to almost the length of the feature presentation, and rarely is such an extra probably better in (content) quality than the main feature. That is what we have here. Recorded in late 1987 over two concerts - one at the legendary Budokan in Tokyo and the other at Jo Hall in Osaka - the video is actually an obvious combination of both (it is a bit difficult to miss the constant changes in the clothing or lack thereof). Presumably the audio is from the one concert (it is staggeringly consistent if not, or more likely the whole show was lip-synched). I actually quite enjoyed the show, which I am presuming is not complete, which is hardly surprising as this was probably at the height of popularity of the band. The video is rather mediocre, again not entirely unexpected, but nonetheless quite watchable and it is presented in a Full Frame format that is not 16x9 enhanced. The sound is Dolby Digital 5.1 and is pretty fair.

Music Video - TV Performance: Lover Come Back (2:59)

    From the British music show Razzamataz, a badly lip-synched and rather bland effort that is entirely reminiscent of the sort of stuff we used to see on the Australian equivalent, Countdown. Obviously material of this age is Full Frame and not 16x9 enhanced. The sound is surprisingly decent Dolby Digital 2.0 surround. Technical quality is quite decent considering the source.

Music Video - TV Performance: Misty Circles (2:47)

    Also from the British music show Razzamataz, the one standout about it is that it is a crap song in comparison to the previous effort - not surprising I suppose since it came from the band's debut album that was quite unremarkable and generally avoided by the music buying public. It too is Full Frame and not 16x9 enhanced. The sound is reasonably decent Dolby Digital 2.0 surround. The technical quality is not quite as good as the previous effort but still okay all things considered.

Music Video - TV Performance: Flowers (5:28)

    Someone at Sony Music obviously has a perverted sense of humour as the songs are getting progressively worse... The presentation is Full Frame and it is not 16x9 enhanced. The sound is decent Dolby Digital 2.0 surround that only serves to highlight the excruciating lyrics and performance. The technical quality is at times quite ropey as it suffers noticeably from flaring.

Music Video - TV Performance: It's Been Hours Now (2:35)

    And we finish off the TV performances with a truly crappy song that is truly woefully performed. Indeed, it is so bad that the highlight is the fact that the credits for whatever television programme start to run whilst the song is still playing. Once again the presentation is Full Frame and not 16x9 enhanced. The sound is reasonably decent Dolby Digital 2.0 surround. Unfortunately, the technical quality is again not quite as good as it also suffers from flaring.

Music Video - Rebel Rebel (4:04)

    Many would say that the song is one of the classics of the rock and roll era. The song might be a classic for the right reasons, but this performance of it is a classic in bad taste and lousy production values. Its difficult to know whether the technical quality is poor due to the source material or the mastering but either way this is not a great piece of viewing. The presentation is Full Frame, it is not 16x9 enhanced and the sound is Dolby Digital 2.0. Eminently avoidable and a very poor way to finish off the disc.

Discography

    Each album the band has done is listed (at least as far as I can remember) with the presentation being a copy of the album cover and a track listing over which plays one of the songs from the album. Most of it serves to remind you that the band was really only remembered for the one album - their second, the staggeringly listenable Youthquake.

Booklet

    Including some notes from the man himself.

Web Link

    Just points you in the direction of www.deadoralive.net.

R4 vs R1

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

    As far as I can ascertain, there appears to be nothing substantially different between the various region releases of this DVD.

Summary

    Dead Or Alive - Evolution: The Videos is a serious blast from the past that I was to some extent dreading. I was a huge fan of the band's Youthquake album but most of their other stuff was nowhere near the same quality, and since that album only had nine tracks (with four classics), obviously the DVD was going to have some of that other stuff. Having delayed the review as much as possible, the plunge was taken and I ended up thoroughly enjoying the show. The video transfer is pretty good all things considered with no major issues and the audio is surprisingly good (the bass really belts out in support of the music). If the extras had been limited to just the excellent concert then this would have been a great package but unfortunately it had to be demeaned somewhat by the music videos, which really add nothing at all to proceedings.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ian Morris (Biological imperfection run amok)
Wednesday, May 05, 2004
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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