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PLEASE NOTE: Michael D's is currently in READ ONLY MODE. Anything submitted will simply not be written to the database.
Lots of stuff is still broken, but at least reviews can now be looked up and read.
Lightning in a Bottle (2004)

Lightning in a Bottle (2004)

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Released 5-Oct-2005

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Documentary Main Menu Introduction
Dolby Digital Trailer
Interviews-Crew-Antoine Fuqua (Director)
Bonus Track-5
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2004
Running Time 105:27 (Case: 109)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Antoine Fuqua

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Aerosmith
Gregg Allman
James Blood Ulmer
Clarence 'Gatemouth' Brown
Ruth Brown
Solomon Burke
Natalie Cole
Shemekia Copeland
Bill Cosby
Robert Cray
Chuck D.
Dr. John
Honeyboy Edwards
Case ?
RPI $14.95 Music Steve Jordan

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/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 English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, Watch right to the end...

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

Plot Synopsis

    As a big fan of blues music for many years, I was very keen to see and review this recently made documentary/concert film. It was directed by Antoine Fuqua and executive produced by Martin Scorsese. It was filmed mostly at Radio City Music Hall in 2004. The occasion was a celebration concert for the 100th anniversary of the blues as a musical form. The show is mostly concert footage recorded on the night interspersed with some vintage footage of blues stars, contemporary interviews with performers on the show and some old news style footage of the deep south. These are mostly between songs but sometimes they annoyingly interrupt the music, but this is a minor gripe considering the very impressive quality of the line-up and performances.

    The approach taken was to have modern performers do songs which represent the long history of the blues, mostly in a similar style to the original recordings, with some exceptions. Some of these deviations worked and others did not. The tracks and performers are as follows:

  1. Buddy Guy - First Time I Met The Blues - Plays over the credits
  2. Angelique Kidjo - Zelie - An African influenced chant representing the basically African origins of blues. Nice opening
  3. Mavis Staples - See That My Grave is Kept Clean - Originally by Blind Lemon Jefferson
  4. David 'Honeyboy' Edwards Gamblin' Man - Classy acoustic blues
  5. Keb Mo & Danny Kortchmar - Love In Vain - Originally by Robert Johnson
  6. Odetta Jim Crow Blues - Fiery version of the Leadbelly tune
  7. Natalie Cole - St Louis Blues - Cover of the W C Handy tune
  8. James Blood Ulmer & Alison Krauss Sittin' On Top of the World - Includes footage of Son House. Interesting take on the Mississippi Sheiks song.
  9. Ruth Brown - Mama (He Treats Your Daughter Mean) - Recorded in rehearsal
  10. Ruth Brown, Mavis Staples, Natalie Cole & Bill Cosby Men are like Streetcars - Very nice trio version of the song but I really don't understand what Bill Cosby's role was supposed to be.
  11. Buddy Guy - Can't Be Satisfied - Excellent version of the Muddy Waters tune featuring some stunning guitar work. One of the highlights of the show.
  12. india.arie Strange Fruit - Stunning version of the Billie Holiday tune.
  13. Macy Gray - Hound Dog - Excellent version of the Big Mama Thornton tune
  14. Larry Johnson Hear the Angels Singing
  15. John Fogerty - Midnight Special - Rocking version of Leadbelly classic
  16. Clarence 'Gatemouth' Brown Okie Dokie Swamp 
  17. Bonnie Raitt - Coming Home - Elmore James number featuring some nice slide guitar from Bonnie.
  18. Steve Tyler / Joe Perry I'm A King Bee - Top version of the Slim Harpo tune.
  19. Hubert Sumlin w/ David Johansen - Killin' Floor - Some stunning guitar from Howlin' Wolf's original guitarist on this very good number
  20. Shemekia Copeland - In rehearsal
  21. Shemekia Copeland and Robert Cray - I Pity The Fool - Young lady with a big voice and Robert Cray carry off this Bobby Bland classic.
  22. Neville Brothers Big Chief - Fitting version of the Professor Longhair mardi-gras hit.
  23. Solomon Burke - Turn on Your Love Light & Down in the Valley - Great performances from the master of soul
  24. Buddy Guy Red House - Another excellent track from Buddy with Vernon Reid
  25. Buddy Guy, Vernon Reid and Angelique Kidjo - Voodoo Chile - Frankly, a fairly rubbish version of this classic, not helped by an ordinary mix.
  26. Chuck D & Fine Arts Militia Boom Boom - A hip-hop version of John Lee Hooker including anti-Bush invective. Give me a break...
  27. B B King - Sweet Sixteen - After a couple of ordinary tracks the arrival of a Blues master brings the show back on track.
  28. B B King, Robert Cray & Bonnie Raitt Paying the Cost to be the Boss - The finale which is unfortunately spoilt by having interviews and the credits run over it.

    This is generally a wonderful concert with just a couple of missteps towards the end. The first 50 minutes of so are excellent and most of the rest very good indeed. Even the backing band includes great names like Levon Helm (The Band), Jim Horn, Dr John, Keb Mo, Ivan Neville & Kim Wilson (Fabulous Thunderbirds). The lighting excellently evokes the atmosphere of a small club rather than a huge auditorium. Highly recommended for any fan of the blues or quality music in general.

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

Transfer Quality


    The video quality is very good.

    The feature is presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio 16x9 enhanced which is the original aspect ratio.

    The picture was very clear and sharp throughout, with no evidence of low level noise. Shadow detail was very good. There was some light grain visible on dark backgrounds, which was slightly heavier sometimes, but never intrusive.

    The colour was wonderful, rich and solid throughout.

    The only noticeable artefact was a little aliasing, mostly on guitar strings, and some mild shimmer on pans.

    There are subtitles or captions in English. The English subtitles were clear and easy to read and the captions included black backgrounds but were otherwise the same.

    The layer change occurs at 61:43 and was not noticeable.

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


    The audio quality is excellent.

    This DVD contains an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack encoded at 448 Kb/s. The sound is excellent, very detailed and with great separation between the instruments.

    Lyrics were clear and easy to understand and there was no problem with audio sync.

    The surround speakers were very well used adding ambience to the music and crowd noises, really making you feel like you are there.

    The subwoofer was nicely integrated and added bass to the excellent music.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use



    The menu included an intro, music, and the ability to select scenes and subtitles.

Interview with Director - Antoine Fuqua (7:55)

    A reasonably interesting interview with the film's director where he discusses the idea behind the show, the lighting choices, the various performers and his experience and highlights from the concert. Presented 4x3.

Bonus Tracks

    Some excellent bonus tracks not included in the film are in this section. They are NOT 16x9 enhanced however the sound is 5.1. Included are:

R4 vs R1

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

    The Region 1 release is essentially the same. Draw


    A high quality concert film of a concert to celebrate 100 years of the Blues. Highly Recommended.

    The video quality is very good.

    The audio quality is excellent.

    The disc has some worthwhile extras, especially the bonus tracks.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV667A DVD-V DVD-A SACD, using Component output
DisplaySony FD Trinitron Wega KV-AR34M36 80cm. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL)/480i (NTSC).
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersBose 201 Direct Reflecting (Front), Phillips SB680V (Surround), Phillips MX731 (Center), Yamaha YST SW90 (Sub)

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