Michael Franti and Spearhead-Live in Sydney (2003) (NTSC)

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Released 21-Nov-2005

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Music Main Menu Audio & Animation
Bonus Track-Radioactive: Beatbox, Ganja Babe, Bomb The World
Rating Rated E
Year Of Production 2003
Running Time 69:07 (Case: 75)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By None Given
Liberation Music Starring Michael Franti
Carl Young
Dave Shul
Bob Crawford
Mannas Itiene
Roberto Quintana
Radio Active
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI ? Music None Given

Video (NTSC) Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.75:1
16x9 Enhancement
Not 16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 480i (NTSC)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.75:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Some performers are worth paying good money to see live in concert, and it's easy to see why many people think San Franciscan Michael Franti and band Spearhead are one such act. Not much can beat being in the crowd at a Franti gig with the band's abundant energy and contagious feel-good spirit spreading across the entire audience. Nobody it seems can go home from a Franti concert with a scowl on their face. Unity and Happiness are Franti's major messages and this performer, who loves his old-school R&B and soul blended with hip-hop, spouts his mantra at every opportunity through his songs and his words.

    Recorded at Sydney's Hordern Pavilion on 10 August 2003, this concert DVD features 10 songs taken from the last two Michael Franti and Spearhead albums, Stay Human and Everyone Deserves Music. With just 10 tracks you could be mistaken for thinking this DVD would be all done and dusted in less than 50 minutes, but thankfully Michael Franti is the sort of performer who actually puts on a show for his fans and in between some banter with the enthusiastic crowd and much bouncing around on stage to the highly infectious numbers, Franti even manages to haul a couple of lucky punters out of the crowd and onto the stage to lend a hand with proceedings. The first lucky girl merely gets to dance a little with the main man, but the second girl strikes it rich big time when Franti invites her to trade a few verses of song before she ups the ante and gets to play guitar during the rousing rendition of Feelin' Free. All the tracks here are great fun, but the show seems to get even funkier as it draws to a close. Everyone Deserves Music will get you bouncing, while Taxi Radio is a great song with an interesting genesis. Rounding out the show is the moving encore Never Too Late and its important message.

    A great show from a great performer. Sadly, unlike the actual concert performance, this DVD is lacking all round.

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Track Listing

1. What I Be
2. Pray For Grace
3. Every Single Soul
4. Stay Human
5. Feelin' Free
6. Everyone Deserves Music
7. Rock The Nation
8. Sometimes
9. Taxi Radio
10. Never Too Late

Transfer Quality


    Overall this is probably one of the most disappointing video transfers I have seen in some time, which is a shame because the concert is a lot of fun.

    The video is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.75:1, but it is not 16x9 enhanced.

    Two major video problems spoil this great show. Firstly, clarity is variable throughout and ranges from reasonably detailed when the camera is close in on the performers to being way less than acceptable when a wider shot of the whole stage is shown. It is during these wider shots (which are quite frequent) that the second major problem pops up. There is some serious aliasing marring the image with most of it appearing on Michael Franti himself. He shakes and shimmers without it being part of the act and it's really quite annoying. It's a constant problem that appears through most of the show and really does distract from what is occurring on stage.

    Thankfully this is a reasonable colourful transfer with colours handled well on screen and no real problems.

    There are no compression artefacts unless the dodgy clarity and shimmering is caused by the encoding process.

    There are no subtitles are available which is a shame.

    This is a single layered disc so there is no layer change.

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


    Rather than opt for a modern Dolby Digital or dts 5.1 soundtrack or even a LPCM stereo 2.0 soundtrack, what we have here is a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack encoded at the bitrate of 224 Kb/s. And to be honest it's pretty lacklustre and I've really come to expect a little more than this now that DVD has gained such mainstream popularity.

    The soundtrack lacks much of the shine and gloss that would have been evident with a higher bitrate track such as a PCM or surround effort, sounding a little flat at times. Compare the main soundtrack to the PCM track that is surprisingly found on two of the bonus tracks. These songs really shine and sparkle with clear precise vocals and bright and vivid instruments. The main soundtrack is really a poor cousin in comparison to these extras and I hope this specification for audio is not something that becomes common.

    There is no surround or discrete subwoofer use.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


Main Menu Audio & Animation

Bonus Tracks

    There are three bonus tracks, all selectable via the extras menu. The first track is by Spearhead member Radioactive and is taken from the same concert as the main show. He performs a thumping rendition of Beatbox. Michael Franti is back for the last two videos with the second track a studio version of Ganjababe and the third a live concert performance of Bomb The World recorded in October 2001.

R4 vs R1

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

    From what I understand this DVD has been released as a dual disc DVD/CD combination in Region 1. It would appear the DVD side contains the exact same content as the Region 4 disc, so based on the DVD content alone I'll call this a draw.


    While absolutely nothing can compare to being in the bouncing crowd at a Michael Franti gig, this DVD will at least give fans something to remember of his 2003 Australian tour. The towering San Franciscan is a powerhouse of energy and it is on display here for all to see as he and band Spearhead knock out 10 songs.

    It's a shame then that the video quality does not reach the same lofty levels as Mr Franti's performance. In fact it is one of the more disappointing concert transfers I have seen for some time with poor clarity and excessive aliasing.

    The basic two channel audio is also fairly lacklustre when compared to the PCM track that graces two of the bonus songs.

    The extras are limited to three clips of other songs.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Darren Walters (It's . . . just the vibe . . . of my bio)
Wednesday, January 25, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDDenon DVD-3910, using RGB output
DisplayLoewe Calida (84cm). Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL).
AmplificationHarmon/Kardon AVR7000.
SpeakersFront - B&W 602S2, Centre - B&W CC6S2, Rear - B&W 601S2, Sub - Energy E:xl S10

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