Yes-Live at Montreux 2003 (2003)
|Category||Music||Main Menu Audio & Animation|
|Year Of Production||2003|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||1,2,3,4,5,6||Directed By||Julian Nicole-Kay|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Unknown||
English dts 5.1 (768Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (256Kb/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|
“And you and I climb over the sea to the valley,
And you and I reach out for reasons to call”
Legendary progressive rock band Yes are at their musical best in this concert recording from the 2003 Montreux Jazz Festival. Having had an extensive turnover of personnel since being formed in 1968, it's pleasing to see that this set features the band in classic line-up with Wakeman, Anderson, Howe and Squire all being members for the seminal albums Fragile, Close To The Edge, and Tales From Topographic Oceans. Drummer Alan White joined the band for the Topographic Oceans album and has remained ever since.
The play list has been drawn predominantly from the Fragile and Close To The Edge albums which is probably not a surprise. Even in a concert lasting well over two hours it is impossible to include everyone's favourite Yes songs - especially when many of them run over ten minutes each. From a nostalgic viewpoint it would have been nice to see Close To The Edge or The Gates Of Delirium perhaps instead of Don't Kill The Whale, but that would be pedantic.
Visually the set is unusually sparse for a Yes concert - probably due to venue restrictions rather than band choice. The positive aspect of this is that distractions are minimal with musicianship being the focus rather than montages or props. The lighting used is very effective however I thought it might have contributed to some encoding problems which will be described later. Camera work focuses on Anderson (vocals), Wakeman (keyboards) and Howe (lead guitar) with, I thought, only passing interest in White and bassist Squire (apart from later in the concert where they solo in The Fish).
Those familiar with the recorded works of Yes would be pleasantly surprised with the quality of performance here. The band manages to replicate the recorded arrangements quite closely with only minimal use of recorded overdubs. Anderson has to really reach in some vocals but wasn't too strained. Howe and Wakeman really shine in their solos with the lightning hands of Wakeman, in particular, quite mesmerising. We could probably do without the in-between song commentary from Anderson but at least it shows engagement with the crowd. There is one clumsily censored expletive at 24:07 that I found jarring which, at first hearing, seemed initially like a mastering or playback fault. Energy levels are also perhaps on the low side, but remember - these "boys" were all in their fifties at time of recording.
This DVD is essential viewing for every fan of Yes and progressive rock. Whilst in terms of on-stage energy the band is not at their best, they still provide a seminal and musical performance which captures the essence of art/prog rock perfectly.
|1. Siberian Khatru|
3. Don't Kill The Whale
4. In The Presence Of
5. We Have Heaven
6. South Side Of The Sky
7. And You And I
8. To Be Over
|10. Show Me|
11. Rick Wakeman Solo Medley
12. Heart Of The Sunrise
13. Long Distance Runaround
14. The Fish
16. I've Seen All Good People
This concert was shot in high-definition so I had high hopes of a quality transfer to DVD. Overall video quality is excellent with vibrant colours and good definition in close ups of faces, guitar fret-work and keyboards. Stage lighting was technically very effective however a significant amount of it was directed from behind the players and towards the camera. This meant that much of the time there was a strong background of colours which unfortunately I think resulted in more macro blocking and noise than would be desirable. The video noise was more noticeable in deep blues and green but was also evident in solid black backgrounds. This is one concert that should benefit hugely from a full high definition transfer to the Blu-Ray format.
The transfer is presented in 1.78:1 aspect ratio and is 16x9 enhanced.
The picture detail was very sharp throughout with only minor aliasing observed in close up shots. Macro blocking and noise was evident at most times however it was not bad enough to be distracting.
There were no film artefacts observed.
The end credits were slightly blurred due presumably to MPEG compression but were quite readable.
This is a dual layer disc but I could not detect the layer change using my equipment.
The default audio track is Dolby Digital 2.0 at 192Kb/s. I quickly changed to the DTS 5.1 audio track at 754Kb/s and listened to the whole concert in that mode. At times the Dolby Digital 2.0 track and 448Kb/s Dolby Digital 5.1 track were sampled. From my listening the DTS track was clearly superior with a much punchier presence and better definition. In comparison the Dolby Digital 5.1 track was only adequate with the 2.0 track not recommended at all. Ratings awarded in this review are based on the DTS offering.
The front sound stage was used well however there was not much differentiation between left, centre and right channels. I would have preferred main vocals coming mainly from the centre channel with instrumentation being relative to the screen position. There were occasions when a directional effect was used amongst the front channels however these were not common.
Vocals were clear at all times and there were no problems with audio and video synchronisation.
Surround channel use was not extensive except to supplement crowd noise and in select passages such as We Have Heaven where a backing tape was used to complement the Anderson vocals.
Although the Yes set list is not bass heavy the subwoofer was subtly used to deliver the bass guitar and drum rhythms. Lead guitar and keyboards were mixed more prominently than drums and bass and so the subwoofer didn't break a sweat in delivering the required decibels.
Although this is not a reference example of 5.1 audio encoding it is nevertheless very good.
|Surround Channel Use|
The menu featured looping video and audio.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
This release appears identical to the Region 1 offering apart from using the PAL 4 format. There are reports of fluctuating audio in earlier parts of the R1 transfer however these can't be verified. My advice would be to stick with the R4 version.
Yes-Live At Montreux 2003 is a great example from a band that pioneered what came to be known as progressive or art rock. Age may have wearied them but the musicianship on show is exemplary. This is over two hours of nostalgic excellence for baby boomers and a great example for those too young to have experienced progressive rock in its prime.
The video quality is very good.
The audio quality is excellent.
There are no extras.
|DVD||Denon DVD-3910 and Panasonic BD-35, using HDMI output|
|Display||Panasonic TH-58PZ850A. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL).|
|Amplification||Denon AVR-3808 pre-out to Elektra Theatron 7 channel amp|
|Speakers||B&W LCR600 centre and 603s3 mains, Niles in ceiling surrounds, SVS PC-Ultra Sub|