Van Halen-Live Without a Net (1988) (NTSC)

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Released 28-Sep-2004

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Music Menu Animation & Audio
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1988
Running Time 92:20
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (29:42) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Daniel Kleinman

Warner Vision
Starring Eddie Van Halen
Alex Van Halen
Michael Anthony
Sammy Hagar
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $34.95 Music Van Halen

Video (NTSC) Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English dts 5.1 (768Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.29:1
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 480i (NTSC)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.29:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement Yes, Jack Daniels, anyone?
Action In or After Credits Yes, more guitar doodling.

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

Plot Synopsis

    This is a back catalogue title from Van Halen, filmed in the United States at the New Haven Colosseum in 1988. On this tour the band were promoting their recent number one album, 5150, which spawned the huge hit Why Can't This Be Love?. This incarnation of the band features Sammy Hagar as the frontman, who replaced original vocalist David Lee Roth. Hagar is an excellent musician and singer and gives the band a very different angle to that of the Roth-fronted lineup. Both have their fans, and those that prefer Hagar will certainly appreciate this DVD.

    The concert itself is surprisingly well captured, shot on film with many cameras and edited using very good quality wipes and fades. Most other concert videos of this vintage that I can remember are a cheap, slapped together affair - but that is certainly not the case here. The band are in fine form throughout the show after their extensive touring, and clearly have the majority of the performance mapped out in advance. Bass, Drum and Guitar solos are included in the setlist which features many of their hits from their previous albums. I was a little surprised to not find Jump among the songs here, but most of the music present will be recognisable to even the most casual listener. The band close their show with the classic Led Zeppelin tune Rock & Roll.

    I must admit that I'm a bit baffled in regards to the G rating this DVD has received. I noted two instances of swearing during the show, and on top of that there are two references to urination made by the band while on stage. Add to this the half bottle of whiskey sculled by bassist Michael Anthony prior to his solo and the dubious looking cigarettes that Eddie puffs on. I don't have a problem watching these things on screen personally, but then again, maybe I'm getting old and this is considered tame nowadays. Perhaps the substance abuse on stage has to extend to heroin in order to get a PG rating.

    Rating inconsistencies aside, this is an energetic live concert from one of the most enduring rock bands around. Hagar recently rejoined the band after a long break and they appear to be back in action, with a new album due late in 2004. It certainly looks like a good time to be a Van Halen fan.

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Track Listing

1. There's Only One Way To Rock
2. Summer Nights
3. Get Up
4. "5150"
5. Best Of Both Worlds
6. Panama
7. Love Walks In
8. I Can't Drive 55
9. Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love
10. Why Can't This Be Love
11. Rock And Roll

Transfer Quality


    This NTSC video transfer is decent considering its age, but certainly not perfect. The concert was shot on film, but this DVD transfer was taken from a video master. Flaws related to both formats are evident during the feature, however it's likely that this is the best we will get. There are some wobbly handheld camera moments at times, but in general this is a good looking concert film.

    The transfer was originally intended for home video and is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.29:1. Obviously, this is not enhanced for widescreen televisions.

    The level of sharpness is as good as you would expect from an analogue videotape source, and often betrays its NTSC origins. A little film grain can be seen on occasion, but this is negligible. Shadow detail and black levels are acceptable for a dark concert performance such as this. There was no low level noise evident in the transfer.

    Most colours remain consistent and don't present any major problems. The bright stage lighting is translated well to video with not much bleeding or any of the usual concert film issues.

    MPEG compression artefacts are nowhere to be seen. There are some jagged edges and aliasing here and there, consistent with the NTSC format, but I found that when I switched my display to progressive scan this cleaned most of the problems up nicely. I did notice some artefacting relating to the source material, but most were fairly minor. Videotape errors appear at 37:40, 59:54, 84:56 in the bottom of the frame, while noticeable film scratches can be seen at 59:01 and 82:37. At 87:25 some very noticeable vertical scratches appear in the frame for several seconds.

    There are no subtitle streams included on the disc.

    This disc is dual layered, with the layer transition placed during the feature at 29:42 in a silent, black fadeout between the songs 5150 and Best of Both Worlds.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    There are three soundtracks accompanying the feature on this DVD, the default soundtrack being Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo. Dolby Digital 5.1 and dts options are also included. One annoying problem I did find is that the viewer cannot change soundtracks on the fly. In order to change the audio you must return to the setup page via the main menu.

    The vocal performance and dialogue is clear throughout the show and doesn't present any major issues. Vocalist Sammy Hagar begins the show with a microphone fixed to his head and then alternates between that and a handheld microphone for the remainder of the show. Audio sync is absolutely perfect throughout. There are a few moments of slight feedback, as with most live performances, but these are rare and only mildly distracting.

    The surround channels are dominated by crowd noise and spill from the front channels, creating an overly busy surround experience for my tastes. It's clear that the mix is intended to create a stadium effect, however I found the surround effect here overly dominating and disorienting. The front soundstage is similarly confusing, with the front centre channel containing a blend of the left and right signals. In short, there is little evidence to suggest that these 6 channel soundtracks are indeed remixes - I feel that they are more likely sourced from the original stereo mix.

    There is little difference between the dts and Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtracks in this case. The Dolby Digital stereo track is markedly louder and contains a surprisingly higher degree of brightness, particularly in the cymbals and hi-hats. I also noted more separation between instruments in the stereo track, sadly making it my preferred of the three.

    The subwoofer didn't have a lot of work to do. There were some bass guitar tones evident now and then and the electronic tom drums contributed some low frequencies, however this effort was rather thin in the bass department.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    There aren't any to speak of. The menu pages are good and contain a bit of animation, with some audio clips taken from the band's studio albums.

R4 vs R1

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

    This disc is coded for all regions except Region 1. The Region 1 release appears to be identical all the same.


    This DVD shows Van Halen at the peak of their fame in the 80s, and should please fans of the Sammy Hagar lineup.

    The NTSC video transfer is acceptable and the audio is serviceable. There are no extras.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Rob Giles (readen de bio, bork, bork, bork.)
Friday, September 10, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-525, using Component output
DisplayPanasonic TX76PW10A 76cm Widescreen 100Hz. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVR-2802 Dolby EX/DTS ES Discrete
SpeakersOrpheus Aurora lll Mains (bi-wired), Rears, Centre Rear. Orpheus Centaurus .5 Front Centre. Mirage 10 inch sub.

Other Reviews NONE
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