Dusty Springfield-Live at the Royal Albert Hall (1979)

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Released 2-May-2006

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Music Main Menu Audio & Animation
Interviews-Crew
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1979
Running Time 56:22 (Case: 99)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Mike Mansfield
Studio
Distributor

Rajon Vision
Starring Dusty Springfield
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $29.95 Music None Given


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English dts 5.1 (1536Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 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

   

“Left alone with just a memory, life seems dead and so unreal
All that's left is loneliness, there's nothing left to feel”

    Dusty Springfield was born Mary O'Brien to an Irish family in West Hampstead, England, 1939. Nicknamed "Dusty" because of her tomboy ways, she nevertheless grew up with a love of music, and in particular a love of the American post-war jazz of the time. Before turning twenty Dusty joined with an established female duo to form the musical trio The Lana Sisters, which had some success in the following two years. In 1960 Dusty joined with her brother Dion (aka Tom) and Reshad Feild (who was later replaced by Mike Hurst) to form the pop-folk trio that was later named The Springfields. During this period Dusty became more orientated to American blues and pop and the band disbanded in 1963. The next seven years up to 1970 proved to be Dusty's halcyon period with a number of hits that would remain standards to this day, as well as regular TV appearances and her own TV show. The 70s and early 80s were decidedly less favourable for Dusty, with only moderate chart success and an eventual retreat to anonymity in the United States to escape tabloid scrutiny. During this period she succumbed to alcoholism and drug dependency and was hospitalised several times for self-harming. Her sometime eccentric behaviour was usually blamed on these dependencies however she was also diagnosed as suffering from manic-depression. Her bisexuality also became public with several well publicised affairs with women - a preference which was considered quite scandalous for the times. In 1994 Dusty become ill with what was later diagnosed as cancer. Despite having apparently successful treatment the cancer reappeared in 1996, and she died on March 2nd, 1999 - on the very day she was due to receive an Order Of The British Empire at Buckingham Palace. The outpouring of grief from the music industry and fans gave testament to the unique talent that was Dusty, dubbed "the greatest white singer that there ever has been" by Elton John at her posthumous induction into the music Hall Of Fame.

    This concert recorded at the Albert Hall in 1979 features Dusty late in her career but still with her great voice and personality on show. As discussed in the extra interviews the concert was hastily put together with minimal rehearsals and planning. As a result the performance isn't as polished as it might be, with minor band and backing singer errors resulting. Even the introduction following Princess Margaret's entry doesn't go smoothly. Nevertheless Dusty seems at ease and even jokes subtlety about some of the mishaps and the intruding cameras. A major detraction to me however is the decision to include some of her biggest hits as medleys rather than full versions. Perhaps this performance was meant to be a TV event as the running time is only around fifty five minutes including introductions, but to not showcase standards such as I only Want To Be With You, The Look Of Love, and others is a sad mistake in my opinion. Fortunately other hits such as I Close My Eyes and Son Of A Preacher Man are given the full treatment. The rapturous acclaim from her audience is a fitting complement to the artist, rather than the limited content on this evening.

    This DVD is not a definitive showcase of Dusty at her prime, but does cameo the brilliant voice and perfect phrasing that made her a music icon. It pains me that a top rating for content is not deserved for this DVD because of the limited set list and short running time. Fortunately her show proper closing performance of You Don't Have To Say You Love Me is probably reason enough to put this DVD on your bookshelf.

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Track Listing

1. I Close My Eyes And Count To Ten
2. Medley:We Are Family/You Can Do It/
3. On Your Knees
4. Lose Again
5. All I See Is You
6. This Will Be
7. Medley:Going Back/I Only Want To Be
8. With You/Stay A While/Just A Little
9. Loving/Some of Your Lovin'/The Look
10. Of Love/Wishin' And Hopin'/I Just
11. Dont Know What To Do With Myself/
12. I'm Losin' You
13. Son Of A Preacher Man
14. You Don't Have To Say You Love Me
15. Quiet Please, There's A Lady On Sta
16. Put Your Hands Together

Transfer Quality

Video

    The featured 1979 concert video is presented in 1.33:1 format which is uniform with the original source. The image was generally quite soft with fairly muted colours and low level noise in the blacks. Panning across stage lighting resulted in comet trails, colour smears and lens flaring. Overall impression of the video is that it's a fairly typical example of a thirty year old recording in less than optimal conditions. Possibly the most intrusive imperfection is the frequent examples of microphony where regular horizontal bands cross the image. Fortunately these don't mar the overall experience too much with the worst example occurring after the performance at 55:45 when Dusty returns to the dressing room.

    There was little evidence of video or film artefacts with the only obvious glitch being at 25:48. Colour was muted with some smearing especially during panning. Macro blocking was not a significant problem.

    The picture detail was comparatively soft but still acceptable.

    This is a dual layer disc but I could not detect the layer change using my equipment.
    

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The default audio track is Dolby Digital 2.0 at 192Kb/s. I listened to the entire concert using the DTS 5.1 (1509 Kb/s) audio track and sampled the Dolby Digital 5.1 (448 Kb/s) and 2.0 tracks periodically. Output from the DTS and Dolby Digital track seemed almost identical with subtle use of surrounds for crowd reactions and an effective but discrete subwoofer presence. In comparison the 2.0 track needed considerable boost from the amplifier to create a satisfactory sound field and missed the concert atmosphere.

    The front sound stage was fairly uniform with little discernable separation in content between centre, front and left speakers. Dusty's voice was clear and strong (as you would hope) and there were no synchronisation problems.

    Surround channel use was limited to crowd responses and was used appropriately.

    The subwoofer was appropriately discrete and enhanced the other channels.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menu

    The menu featured looping video and audio.

Interviews

    The bonus feature consists of interviews with Springfield's former secretary, two backup singers, and her manager. Hosted by Mike Mansfield (the concert director) the interviews run over 43:25 and feature mostly positive anecdotes and reminiscences of Dusty's life. There is no dirty washing being aired in these excerpts but it does offer some interesting insights into her personality and professionalism. Also featured are some anecdotes on the concert itself including the ad-hoc preparation and the rather innocent reason why Dusty had to make a public apology to the Royal family.

    The video is presented in 1.78:1 format and is of very good quality with no technical problems.

    The audio is Dolby Digital 2.0 at 192Kb/s. It is also very good with clear diction and no synchronisation problems.

 

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 identical to the region 1 offering apart from using the PAL 4 format.

Summary

    Dusty Springfield: Live At The Royal Albert Hall showcases an artist that became arguably the most loved British female vocalist of all time. Her unique voice could rival soul greats such as Aretha Franklin, but also belt out Brit-pop that topped popular music charts. With perfect phrasing and timing that was on a par with Sinatra at his best, Dusty could draw out the passion, desire and message behind pop standards that still stand the test of time today. Her sometimes troubled life and insecurities humanised the diva that she was, and further endeared her to legions of fans. This performance is only marred by the restricted set list and short running time.

    The video quality is good given the age of the source material.

    The audio quality is very good.

    The extras were interesting but not worth repeat viewing.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Mike B (read my bio)
Monday, May 10, 2010
Review Equipment
DVDDenon DVD-3910 and Panasonic BD-35, using HDMI output
DisplayPanasonic 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 DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL).
AmplificationDenon AVR-3808 pre-out to Elektra Theatron 7 channel amp
SpeakersB&W LCR600 centre and 603s3 mains, Niles in ceiling surrounds, SVS PC-Ultra Sub

Other Reviews NONE
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