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Lots of stuff is still broken, but at least reviews can now be looked up and read.
Emerson, Lake and Palmer-The Birth of a Band: Isle of Wight Festival (1970)

Emerson, Lake and Palmer-The Birth of a Band: Isle of Wight Festival (1970)

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Released 17-Jul-2006

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Music Main Menu Audio & Animation
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1970
Running Time 66:56
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Murray Lerner
Rajon Vision Starring Keith Emerson
Greg Lake
Carl Palmer
John Gaydon
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $29.95 Music Keith Emerson
Greg Lake
Carl Palmer

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Linear PCM 48/16 2.0 (1536Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English dts 5.1 (768Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    The Isle of Wight Festival of 1970 was held over four days from August 26 and attracted an estimated crowd of 600,000 people. It was the third such festival and went ahead despite stiff opposition from local residents.

    The roster of artists who performed is a remarkable one and included The Who, Jethro Tull, Joan Baez, Leonard Cohen, Chicago, The Doors, Miles Davis, Jimi Hendrix, Tiny Tim, Kris Kristofferson, The Moody Blues, Donovan, Procul Harum, Supertramp, Joni Mitchell and Sly and the Family Stone amongst many others. Many if not most of the sets were filmed using multiple cameras and there have been several DVDs released of performances at the festival. Live albums have also been released, both officially and as bootlegs.

    The festival featured the second ever live performance of a new supergroup called Emerson, Lake and Palmer on August 29. The band was made up of keyboard player Keith Emerson (The Nice), bass guitarist and singer Greg Lake (King Crimson) and drummer Carl Palmer (Atomic Rooster, The Crazy World of Arthur Brown).

    This DVD does not contain their complete performance at the festival. It is actually a documentary about the birth of the band and the festival itself, though it does include portions of several works filmed at the festival. Just over a third of the running time is taken up with interviews with the band members and their then manager recorded in 2005. These are intercut with scenes filmed at and around the festival as well as archive material of the band, both together and individually. The problem with bringing the band's performance to DVD is that only a part of their set was filmed, while the audio was recorded in its entirety. So the visuals sometimes don't quite match the audio.

    After about 23 minutes we get some complete or nearly complete music from the festival. There is less than 40 minutes of uninterrupted music on this DVD, compared to the live album from the same concert which runs to nearly 62 minutes of music. The producers of this video have taken some liberties with the material, such as having freeze frames and slow motion sequences, which I found distracting. However the original footage and audio are in better condition than I would have expected, and fans of the band will find much to enjoy here as well as be mildly frustrated about.

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Track Listing

1. Pictures at an Exhibition
2. Take a Pebble
3. Rondo
4. Nutrocker

Transfer Quality


    The documentary is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and is not 16x9 enhanced. The new interview footage is in widescreen but letterboxed.

    There are no artefacts in the new footage, aside from some aliasing on newspaper articles of the time which have been filmed with the camera panning across them. The footage from the festival has flecks, scratches and dirt but has been cleaned up to an extent. The colours are bright and vivid and the source material seems not to have faded with the years. Flesh tones look accurate. Shadow detail is not particularly good, though you would expect that with stage lighting of 36 years ago.

    The original footage also shows some cross-colouration and some background noise, but is otherwise free of film to video artefacts.

    Optional English subtitles in clear white font are provided, but these are only for the interview segments, with the lyrics to the songs, where there are any, not being subtitled.

    The disc is single-layered.

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


    There are three audio tracks, being DTS 5.1, Dolby Digital 5.1 and Linear PCM stereo. I listened to the DTS track in full and sampled the others for the purposes of comparison.

    The DTS track is quite good, the music coming across very well in spite of what must have been less than ideal recording conditions. While it is not as good as you would expect from a studio recording, each of the performers can be clearly heard, and there is plenty of body to the sound. Most of the audio comes from the three front channels. Vocals and some of the instruments are heard from the centre channel, and the latter also from the mains. The rear channels are used for ambience, with some music and very faint crowd noises, and there are no directional effects. The LFE channel is heavily used but is very well integrated into the overall sound, avoiding the pitfall of just reproducing some thumping. In fact, if you like the doof-doof sound then with your equipment properly calibrated this disc will be disappointing. However if you prefer the subwoofer being used to carry the low frequencies without being intrusive, then you will appreciate the way the audio has been mixed.

    Aside from being at a higher level, the DTS track is not audibly different from the Dolby Digital track. The sound seems more open and the front soundstage wider on the default Linear PCM track. There is no noticeable difference in detail, but I think the Linear PCM track sounds a bit more realistic than the others because of their narrow focus.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


Main Menu Animation and Audio

    Some still pictures are zoomed in or out as music plays.


    A six-page booklet includes a two page essay by Dave Ling about the band's performance at the festival, plus a bunch of black and white photographs.

R4 vs R1

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

    This release appears to be the same as the Region 1. However in the US this material is also out on one of those dual-discs, with the video on one side and an audio recording on the reverse of the disc. It appears that the audio-only component is merely the songs as featured in the documentary, not the full set.


    Despite some shortcomings this is an interesting documentary which for most will merely serve to whet the appetite for more ELP.

    The video quality is good.

    The audio quality is better than expected.

    No substantial extra material.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Philip Sawyer (Bio available.)
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDSony DVP-NS9100ES, using HDMI output
DisplaySony VPL-HS60 LCD Projector projected to 80" screen. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 720p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD Player, Dolby Digital and DTS. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationSony TA-DA9000ES for surrounds, Elektra Reference power amp for mains
SpeakersMain: B&W Nautilus 800; Centre: Tannoy Sensys DCC; Rear: Tannoy Revolution R3; Subwoofer: Richter Thor Mk IV

Other Reviews NONE