Barry Manilow-Manilow Live! (Remastered) (2000)
Menu Animation & Audio
Audio Commentary-Commentary by Barry Manilow
|Year Of Production||2000|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||1,2,3,4,5,6||Directed By||Lawrence Jordan|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 4.0 L-R-LS-RS (448Kb/s)
English dts 4.0 L-R-LS-RS (768Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/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|
Love him or hate him Barry Manilow is a phenomena. Born as Barry Alan Pincus in New York City in 1943 to Jewish/American parents, Manilow was brought up and lived his formative years in north Brooklyn. Having recognised an interest in the performing arts at an early age, Manilow subsequently enrolled in the Juilliard performing arts school in 1961. As a talented pianist in the early 1970s, Manilow mixed with show business gentry such as Bette Midler - contributing with musical direction, production and keyboard duties. In 1974 Bell Records released Manilow's first album, Barry Manilow, which included the hit Could It Be Magic. His second album, imaginatively called Barry Manilow II, cemented his credentials as a musical talent and included the hit single Mandy. With a career now skyrocketing Manilow forged ahead with a further four albums in the 1970s, and a total of nineteen albums prior to when this Manilow Live! concert was recorded in 2000. Although his song writing has slowed somewhat since then, Manilow has remained a show business staple and one of the most enduring performers of his generation.
Filmed in Nashville in February 2000 as a direct to TV special, Manilow Live! includes twenty four songs backed by a thirty piece orchestra in front of one of the most adoring accumulation of fans I have ever seen. The crowd is on their feet before the start, and delivers a standing ovation after (and sometimes spontaneously during) every song. I truly have never seen such an unabashed outpouring of love from an audience for a performer. As you’d expect the crowd demographic is very white-bread middle America with a preponderance of middle aged women, but I did spy quite a few younger people during the audience sweeps. Try as I might however there was nary a black face to be seen until the very last song where Manilow was joined by a mostly black choir. This is not a criticism, just an observation – we are in Nashville after all.
If you have any doubts about Manilow as a performer this concert should silence all critics. You might not like or appreciate his somewhat cheesy manner and musical style, but make no mistake – this man can move an audience. I did cringe a bit early on at all the schmaltz (especially the "orgy" reference) but that faded as he got into the set. Although being almost sixty years old at the time there is no sign of voice degradation and his mastery of the keyboards is beyond reproach. Above all Manilow knows what his audience wants and delivers in spades. Helped by a relatively small venue there is a real intimacy between the performer and his audience, and Manilow doesn't miss a trick. What you see is what you get - there are no pre-recorded tracks, minimal backing vocals and no on stage gimmicks. Most of his best known tracks were included in the set list including a couple of selections from the musical Harmony he co-wrote with Bruce Sussman. The presence of a comprehensive orchestra is a great addition as most Manilow songs lend themselves to a lush backing arrangement. With such a fine ensemble on hand you could hardly fail creating a great sound. Fortunately this is all well captured by numerous high definition cameras and the concert director makes sure that we don’t miss anything. There are a few close-ups that linger a fraction too long in one position but this is a minor criticism. Overall this concert will delight the many Manilow fans - and maybe even a few detractors might grudgingly concede that he is an exceptional talent.
|1. Could It Be Magic?|
2. Somewhere In The Night
3. Tryin' To Get The Feeling
4. Can't Smile Without You
5. Bandstand Boogie
7. Even Now
9. Flight Of The Bumblebee
10. All The Time
11. New York City Rhythm
12. Every Single Day
|13. I Am Your Child|
14. This One's For You
15. Sinatra Overture
16. Chicago (My Kind Of Town)
17. That's Life
18. When October Goes
19. Weekend In New England
21. I Made It Through The Rain
22. One Voice/ I Write The Songs
23. Stars In The Night
This DVD is presented in the original aspect of 1.78:1 and is anamorphically enhanced. There is a real Vegas showroom appearance to the set and lighting which is all well captured. What is noticeable however is that the image in general has a quite hazy appearance – as if it was taken in a smoky room. Close-ups are well lit and as a consequence look nice and sharp on screen. Skin tones are excellent (Manilow's make-up artist deserves an award). Distance shots are less clean with a faint fuzziness and slight colour smearing evident where there is sharp movement. These are by no means bad – but certainly don’t make the video better than average. Blacks are also a bit crushed with some minor digital noise although compression artefacts are not noticeable unless you look closely. The closing credits were quite blurry as they scrolled up the screen but were nevertheless easy to read due to the font and colouring. Despite these faults this is generally a pleasing presentation that is fairly typical of concert videos.
This is a dual layer disc but I could not see the layer change using my equipment.
The default Dolby Digital 5.0 track is encoded at 448Kb/s with a DTS 5.0 track at 754Kb/option. Note that these two tracks are listed as 4.0 in the menu and DVD slick presumably because the centre channel, although there, is completely silent. There is also a Dolby Digital 2.0 commentary track encoded at 192Kb/s. I listened to the DTS track in its entirety and sampled the 5.0 Dolby Digital track periodically.
There is really very little between both offerings although the DTS version has a slightly fuller sound and is a bit louder. The rear surrounds are used quite aggressively for crowd noises and in the initial introduction, however these were quite appropriate and did not distract from the front channels. Although there is no dedicated LFE track there was quite an acceptable subwoofer contribution with surround processing engaged. Manilow’s music it not bass heavy so not having the .1 channel was not missed at all.
Pleasingly this concert is mixed very well with Manilow’s voice always well to the front and with the orchestra contributing but not overshadowing. I wish all concert videos were constructed like this. Normally I would be very unhappy with no centre channel activity but in this case the left and right channels more than adequately compensated. Dialogue was perfectly clear at all times and there were no problems with synchronisation. I did however notice a small glitch at 84:19 which only seemed to affect the DTS track. This detracts slightly from the overall audio score but it was not a big problem and many would not notice it at all.
This audio track is definitely an excellent example of concert offerings available on DVD even without a dedicated subwoofer and centre channel.
|Surround Channel Use|
The menu featured looping audio with static background.
Dolby Digital 2.0 192 Kb/s. Manilow provides some interesting snippets of information about each track and comments on the performance, crowd reactions and other items of interest. He doesn't talk through the whole concert so there are lengthy sections with only the musical audio being heard. Most of what he says is really interesting and so this track is well worth a listen. When he speaks there is a slight background hiss as if the audio was recorded at too low a level and had to be boosted. It does not detract from the presentation however.
Six static pages of text which sings his praises - well you wouldn't expect criticisms would you.
Single page of text listing albums from 1973 to 1998.
Accessed from i icon on menu pages. This is a fairly useless guide to what each menu option icon stands for.
One US site suggests a DTS 5.1 track is available but I'd be a bit sceptical about that as other US sites list specifications identical to those included in this Region 4 release. On that basis I recommend the local version.
In summary Manilow Magic! is a superb example of work from one of the most accomplished popular entertainers of his generation. Manilow may be the object of derision by many but he has the runs on the board and is still performing at a high level after thirty years. Look at the statistics: 28 albums to date (not including compilations) with song writing credits on most of them; some of the most iconic popular music songs ever put to disc; thirty plus years in the industry; song writing and production credits for many other artists including Bette Midler and Dionne Warwick; a number of Emmy, Grammy and Tony awards; the list goes on. I have always been partial to some of Manilow’s music before reviewing this DVD but now I’m a total convert. Highly recommended.
The video quality is very good. The audio quality is excellent. Extras are good.
|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-4311 pre-out to Elektra Theatron 7 channel amp|
|Speakers||B&W LCR600 centre and 603s3 mains, Niles in ceiling surrounds, SVS PC-Ultra Sub, Definitive Technology Supercube II Sub|