Toto-Falling in Between: Live (2007)
Menu Animation & Audio
|Year Of Production||2007|
|Running Time||112:32 (Case: 142)|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (69:40)||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Blue Leach|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English dts 5.1 (768Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.78:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Recorded live at the Zenith in Paris on 26th of March 2007, this superb live concert DVD showcases Toto in fantastic form, touring in support of their most recent album Falling In Between.
Known most widely for their catalogue of FM radio staples including Rosanna, Africa and Hold The Line, Toto are also an incredibly proficient live act with musical wizardry that will make any jaw drop. It can be safely said that Guitarist extraordinaire Steve Lukather is a very highly regarded virtuoso of his instrument, arguably on a par with the most venerable Vai or Satriani. They're clearly a significant influence for most of the contemporary progressive rock and metal bands out there today, particularly Dream Theater. Having said that, Toto are still firmly rooted in the classic rock vein and have resisted the hard rock/metal leanings of their innumerable protégés.
My personal knowledge of Toto didn't extend much further than the aforementioned FM radio hits, so it was with an open mind that I approached this DVD for review. In a nutshell, I was both impressed and pleasantly surprised by the band's energetic performance and the presentation of this DVD. The musicianship displayed by every person on stage is outstanding, and this is matched by the quality of the video direction.
This particular tour utilised a group of six musicians, consisting of;
Lee Sklar (Bass) is a guest for this tour, stepping in for the injured Mike Porcaro. Sklar has formerly occupied bass duties for the likes of Phil Collins and James Taylor, and he plays an instrument that looks like some kind of botched-up engineering experiment. It is a really weird piece of equipment to say the least, but it sounds fine- just like you would expect a normal bass guitar to sound. Lukather strikes me as the band 'leader', occupying center-stage with Yngwie J. Malmsteen-like confidence and relegating Kimball, the lead vocalist, to the left side of stage for the majority of the show. Tony Spinner seems to be a talented bloke who was simply brought in to fill out the guitar sound and provide backing vocals. Tony is only seen strumming rhythm on a telecaster and is seldom heard in the mix, however he is given a chance to shine vocally during one of the more mellow numbers.
This DVD was Directed by Blue Leach, who has also overseen releases by Depeche Mode and REM. The overall quality is fantastic, and a great deal of HD cameras have been used to capture the show. From handheld positions among the crowd, to overhead cranes and fixed cameras on stage, a lot of angles are utilised and the experience never becomes the slightest bit boring.
Falling In Between Live is certain to please even the most casual Toto fan, and would also be of interest to anyone who appreciates a rock band with true musicianship at its core. A fantastic concert experience.
2. Falling In Between
3. King Of The World
5. Bottom Of Your Soul
6. Caught In The Balance
7. Don't Chain My Heart
8. Hold The Line
9. Stop Loving You
10. I'll Be Over You
|12. Solo- Greg Phillinganes|
14. I'll Supply The Love
16. Gift Of Faith
17. Kingdom Of Desire/ Solo- Lukather
18. Hydra/ Solo- Simon Phillips
19. Taint Your World
20. Gypsy Train
22. Drag Him To The Roof
The video presentation is in keeping with most other recent productions from Eagle Eye. The image is widescreen, 1.78:1, and framed with 16x9 enhancement.
I imagine this is a concert that would scrub up very nicely on Blu-ray. As far as standard definition transfers go, this is decent enough, with nice depth and strong black levels. The bright colours of the stage lighting are very well rendered.
The most disappointing aspect of this presentation is the poor MPEG video bitrate. It would appear video quality has been sacrificed to make room for unnecessary audio options, and couple this with a concert running close to two hours, you're in trouble. Macro blocking is frequent, unfortunately- particularly during fast motion on screen. Whenever strobe lighting is used on stage, the image quality deteriorates considerably.
Obviously, being an entirely digital production means no film or analogue tape artefacts to be concerned about, although there are some jagged edges visible at times, particularly on guitar strings and the like.
The concert is not subtitled at all, however the interviews do have a number of language options.
This disc is obviously DVD9 formatted. The layer transition is placed during the concert at 69:40, exactly at the chapter stop between the songs Isolation and Gift Of Faith. Note that these two particular songs flow from one to the other- it's not the best position for a layer break when there are so many other lengthy breaks between songs on the disc. I noticed a slight hiccough during the layer break on my system, and I imagine it could be quite distracting on a system with no playback buffer.
There are three soundtracks included, to the detriment of the video quality in my opinion. The default soundtrack is a relatively flimsy stereo Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack, encoded at 192Kb/s. Much more substantial soundtracks are available in Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s) and dts 5.1 (768Kb/s) and may be selected on the fly or via the setup menu.
The inclusion of two surround options is a mere extravagance in my opinion and consequently the video quality suffers, as I have outlined above. There really is little to separate the two 5.1 mixes. The dts was significantly louder on my system, but once the level was compensated for I found both fared very well. If I had to pin point a strength, I would say the dts has slightly more presence in the bottom end, but both are equally bright and enveloping.
Both the stereo and surround mixes are credited to Steve MacMillan. The stereo mix is nicely balanced and certainly serviceable, but is ultimately let down by a low bitrate. I'm certain it would sound great on CD, but here it is a little on the harsh side. I sampled it for the purposes of this review, but I doubt I'd bother with it again. The surround mix is generally true to a concert environment, with audience cheering and applause directed to the rear channels. I occasionally noted some drums and percussion directed to the rears, but that's it aside from the mandatory wash of atmospherics. It's quite an involving experience, so the audio presentation certainly does succeed in that regard.
The vocals are perfectly audible and harmonies are crystal clear at all times. I didn't recognise any audio sync issues in the slightest.
The subwoofer augments the kick drum and bass guitar very nicely. This is in no way a sub-heavy mix, the LFE usage is very tasteful and balanced with the rest of the band.
|Surround Channel Use|
Each of the six band members appearing in this concert are interviewed, offering their thoughts on touring and their career to date. They also run us through some of their gear and also the more challenging portions of their performances. These are playable individually or via a play all function. The interviews are subtitled in German, English, Spanish, French, Italian, Dutch and Portuguese.
A glossy, 12-page colour booklet is included, with credits, photo collages, track listing and other propaganda.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The video transfer is let down by over-compression.
The audio transfer is great.
The extras are worthwhile.
|DVD||Denon DVD-3910, using HDMI output|
|Display||Sanyo PLV-Z2 WXGA projector, Screen Technics Cinemasnap 96" (16x9). Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 720p.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to DVD player. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.|
|Amplification||Denon AVR-3806 (7.1 Channels)|
|Speakers||Orpheus Aurora III floor-standing Mains and Surrounds. Orpheus Centaurus .5 Front Center. Mirage 10 inch powered sub.|