Christina Aguilera-Stripped: Live in the U.K. (2004)
Gallery-All Around The World (Montage)
Featurette-The Style Team
Featurette-One Night In Milano
|Year Of Production||2004|
|Running Time||81:58 (Case: 92)|
|RSDL / Flipper||Dual Layered||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||1,2,3,4,5,6||Directed By||Julia Knowles|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.75:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.75:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
I'm afraid this is going to be another of my infamous "truth in advertising" reviews. My admission this time around is that I knew next to nothing about Christina Aguilera before picking up this DVD for review (my teenage daughter promptly regaled me with a quick summary of all of the hit songs Ms. Aguilera has had to date). All I knew before this revelation was that she was a young female singer who had picked up a few Grammy Awards and had an album out with the provocative title of Stripped. The fact that Wembley Stadium was sold out for the concert which forms the major part of this disc testifies to her popularity, and so I was keen to see what she has to offer.
Well, the concert is full of flash, with dynamic dancing and an energetic performance from the star. There is a lot of hip gyration, and more bump and grind than in most strip clubs (and even a bit of belly dancing). All of this will be familiar to the Britney generation (and also to those of us from the Madonna age). When one of the more meaningful lyrics to a song is "I want your body, not your heart" I guess we all know what to expect.
At the relatively tender age of 22 Aguilera is an accomplished performer, though she has a habit of occasionally letting out a "ha" or "yes" on taking a breath which I found annoying, almost as if she was congratulating herself on each note. The songs were pleasant enough, though I felt that the high point was a remake (Lady Marmalade) rather than any of the originals on offer.
Fans of the star will probably lap this up; the show is well produced, with great lighting effects and some wonderful (and revealing) costume design - if you like fishnet stockings you will love this disc. The crowd at the show (interestingly, largely female) are having a great time and add to the atmosphere. The edits during the show are a little too frequent, but otherwise there is a real "being there" feel. Overall, I don't think this will win many new converts but will probably be snapped up by the fan base, to whom Ms. Aguilera says "Thank you so much for all the love and support".
2. Get Mine, Get Yours
3. The Voice Within
4. Genie In A Bottle
5. Can't Hold Us Down
6. Contigo En La Distancia/ Falsas Esp
8. Come On Over
11. At Last
12. Lady Marmalade
13. Walk Away
15. What A Girl Wants
The video transfer on this disc is quite good, given that it comes from concert footage; the lighting at these events always causes some problems in the transfer but the picture here is quite satisfying.
The picture is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.75:1, 16x9 enhanced. I must say that I am really enjoying the current generation of widescreen concert DVDs - the wider picture really suits the shape and dimensions of the stage, allowing a dynamic view of the action.
The focus on the disc is a little soft, but acceptable. Shadow detail is poor, but this appears to be mostly due to the lighting at the venue, and there is no low level noise to worry about in the dark areas.
Colours are a little subdued, there are a lot of blacks and blues around, but flesh colours are vivid when the lighting allows (as at 15:18). The costumes display the best colour in the show and provide most of the visual interest.
There are no artefacts in the image, though there is some minor edge enhancement and occasional aliasing (as on the keyboard at 16:01). Generally, though, the picture is in pretty good shape, as it should be for such a recent production.
There are no subtitles (yet again I add my plea for onscreen lyrics as an option on music DVDs).
I did not notice the layer change, so it may have come during a fade between songs.
The audio transfer on the disc is a little disappointing. While it does the job it is not as immersive as some of the other 5.1 concert DVDs on the market now (such as those from Queen and Bruce Springsteen).
There are two audio tracks on this DVD; I listened to the English Dolby Digital 5.1 track (encoded at a bitrate of 448 Kb/s) in its entirety, and to excerpts from the 192 Kb/s Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo track. The 2.0 track is fine given the lack of sound field projection in the 5.1 track, missing only the crowd activity at the rear of the sound stage. The rest of the comments in this section refer to the 5.1 track.
The vocals on the disc are clear, both during songs and in the dialogue Aguilera has with the audience. The quality of those vocals varies as she seems to be stretching in some songs. Audio sync is good (and as the star notes in one of the extras there is no lip-sync).
The music level is set a little low compared to the vocals. While this might have been a deliberate mixing decision, the balance just does not sound right.
The sound is a little on the "thin" side, and seems to be in two planes - one at the screen with the music and vocals, another with the crowd at the rear - there is little in-between. As a result there is a loss of immersion in the concert which detracts from the experience. The subwoofer adds some bass, but not enough in light of the general imbalance in the music / vocal mix.
|Surround Channel Use|
There is a fair selection of extras on the disc, though they are mostly very short snippets which could have been merged into one "making of" feature (they add up to a total of around 35-40 minutes). Most are presented at an aspect ratio of approximately 1.80:1, 16x9 enhanced.
The menu is static and from it you can Play the Concert, go to Audio Setup, Select a Song or go to the Special Features. There are 19 selections available from track selection, the 16 songs and 3 introductory segments.
This is at an aspect ratio of approximately 1.80:1, non 16x9 enhanced and gives a quick overview of the show and the cities it toured.
Christina discusses the show, the Stripped album, what she does in her (limited) spare time, and her charity interests. As I knew little about her before viewing this DVD I found this quite informative, and the star comes across as quite personable and thoughtful. She discusses some of the abuse which took place in her family while she was growing up and the effect this has had on her character since, which is quite moving.
We see some brief footage of (and comments from) the Musicians and Dancers, and go on a quick tour of the tour bus.
The Choreographer, Hair and Make-up Designer and Costume Designer take their turn. Amongst other scoops we make the amazing discovery that the diva is "not afraid of make-up". As with The Cast section each of these requires an extra menu choice off a sub menu to the Extras, which is a little irritating given their short running time.
Aguilera meets Donatello Versace and they go clubbing for 1:46.
The fans ask some questions, which are answered elsewhere by the star, who then profusely thanks said fans for their loyal support: "I Love You - KISS to camera - Hugs and Kisses" - shudder.
4 static text pages.
4 pages with song and show credits and a few pictures.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The Region 1 and Region 2 versions of this DVD are identical to the Region 4 so that there is no preference between them.
This is a reasonably well presented concert disc which will please fans of the star, who should probably add a little to my rating.
The video transfer is quite good for a concert feature.
The audio transfer is acceptable, but the flat sound field is a disappointment.
The extras are quite good, given that many music DVDs still don't include any; though the fact that there are so many of them masks their limited length. They do provide a fair overview of the concert tour and add to the enjoyment of the package as a whole.
|DVD||Toshiba SD-K350, using Component output|
|Display||SONY VPL-HS10 LCD projector, ABI 280cm 16x9 screen. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.|
|Audio Decoder||Kenwood. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|