Sting-...All This Time (2001)
Main Menu Introduction
Music Video-Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic
Music Video-Fill Her Up
Music Video-Englishman In New York
|Year Of Production||2001|
|RSDL / Flipper||Dual Layered||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||1,2,3,4,5,6||Directed By||None Given|
Universal Pictures Home Video
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Auto Pan & Scan Encoded||English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||Unknown||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
I was very close to purchasing this disc for my collection when it was released before Christmas, but then the wife imposed the obligatory pre-Christmas ban on buying DVD's and other goodies (does anyone else suffer that problem?). Lucky for me then, when the opportunity came up to review it. I had heard many good things about this performance by Sting and had heard the quality of the disc was also outstanding. Well, to say that I was surprised by what I saw when sitting down for my first viewing is the understatement of the year. Without a doubt this is the best music disc I have seen. And it is not because of the stunning video or the equally impressive audio mix (though both of these are certainly outstanding), but it is the real (and I mean real) behind-the-scenes footage that we get to see. This title features a concert performance by Sting and a rather large and eclectic band, and a very impressive and lengthy behind-the-scenes documentary showing the preparation that occurred in the lead up to the concert. The documentary is not classed as an extra on the disc, because it is really a companion to the concert proper and is so good it is almost worth the price of the disc alone. During the documentary a small icon will appear occasionally whenever Sting or the band are discussing a particular song. Pressing OK on the remote will jump you straight to the concert performance of that song. By pressing the Right button you can jump back to the point you came from in the documentary. This is nicely done.
Imagine living in an absolutely stunning Tuscan mansion in Italy, overlooking rolling green hills, and inviting a group of music buddies over for a week or two to jam, record a new song, make a video, and then stage a concert for a small gathering and a live Internet broadcast. This is what aging rock veteran Sting did last year in preparation for the recording of his new album 'All This Time'. In the documentary we see some comprehensive interview footage with Sting and learn his thoughts on his music, his life, and what turning fifty means to him. We see the arrival of the musicians that Sting has decided to work with, and interviews with each on what it means to be working with Sting and how they go about learning his material. The band rehearses under intense pressure, having to learn all the songs and be able to play the re-interpreted versions for the concert, and record the video for Fragile all in a little over a week. This makes for very interesting viewing and we get a real feel for what is involved in the making of a video, an album, and a concert. The unscheduled recording in a small room in the house because it had excellent ambience, through to the full scale dress rehearsal the night before the concert, all make fascinating viewing. The honesty and openness of Sting as he talks about his successes and his failures is a particular highlight, and very refreshing in this day of packaged pop-stars.
This all takes a real twist about half-way through the documentary when we suddenly realise that this was all filmed in September 2001 and the actual concert itself was planned to go ahead on that fateful day, September 11. A day that we will of course all remember forever. We actually see Sting and the band watching the events unfold live from the US, just as I'm sure we all did. We then see them struggle with the realisation that the show cannot possibly go ahead in the same format that was planned (if at all) and they openly discuss the changes that must occur. Sting doesn't even know if he can sing, he is that emotional, as are many of the band.
Of course the concert did still occur, but it is a somewhat more sombre and subdued performance, especially early on. The concert opens with the song Fragile which is so perfectly fitting and really takes on new meaning. It is sung by Sting with so much emotion it truly brings a lump to the throat. This is rare, touching, material and an absolute treat of a show. Once the show is actually underway and it becomes obvious that Sting can still sing, the performance starts to take off as the mood of the band and the audience lifts.
Don't Stand So Close To Me and Roxanne are highlights for me, as is my all time favourite Sting song Fields of Gold. By the time the closing track Every Breath You Take comes around, you'll probably find yourself wishing for more.
The documentary runs for 70:32 minutes, the concert for 73:38 minutes. A total running time of 144:10 is excellent value indeed.
2. A Thousand Years
3. Perfect Love...Gone Wrong
4. All This Time
5. Seven Days
6. The Hounds Of Winter
7. Don't Stand So Close To Me
8. When We Dance
11. If You Love Somebody Set Them Free
12. Brand New Day
13. Fields Of Gold
14. Moon Over Bourbon Street
15. Shape Of My Heart
16. If I Ever Lose My Faith In You
17. Every Breath You Take
Yet another concert in lovely 16x9 enhanced widescreen. This one comes in an aspect of 1.78:1. As an added bonus, the documentary and the extras are all presented the same. It doesn't get much better than this, and from the number of concert discs I have recently viewed in this format, it looks like it may becoming quite common. I certainly hope so. Alternatively, for those of you that prefer a full screen image, the disc features automatic pan & scan encoding.
As a result of the 16x9 enhancement, this is one of the sharpest concert transfers I have seen. It is pretty near perfect in every respect.
The documentary is a mix of what appears to be handheld video camera footage and higher definition equipment. The lower grade equipment provides a somewhat grainier picture, but is not used all that much and is not a real problem. The higher definition gear gives a superbly detailed picture, one that does suffer sometimes from being just a bit too sharp, with a bit of noticeable aliasing and shimmer on several surfaces. I can really forgive this due to just how sharp and detailed the other images are and how the vibrancy of the colours really jumps out from the screen. There are no problems with shadow detail. There is no distracting grain and no low level noise present at all.
The colours during the documentary are superbly rendered and vivid beyond compare. The actual concert is somewhat more subdued (to match what had become a sombre occasion, which is somewhat appropriate), mainly because the lighting used is quite conservative. As a result there are no issues with colour bleeding or oversaturation. Skin tones are perfectly natural.
I noticed no MPEG artefacts in either doco or concert. Some aliasing and minor shimmer occurs during the documentary on several surfaces, mostly due to simply how sharp the overall transfer is. There are no other video artefacts of any sort.
In probably the only negative on the whole disc, there are no subtitles available.
A dual layered disc, since I was unable to detect any layer change I am assuming the concert is on one layer and the documentary is on the other.
A well mixed and suitably impressive audio presentation to match the stunning video. The concert is particularly impressive, with a wide soundstage and superior rear channel use. Warm and rich with effortless reproduction of the many and varied instruments that Sting has assembled for the concert is probably the best way to describe the sound that envelopes the listener.
There is only one soundtrack on this disc, this being Dolby Digital 5.1 track encoded at 448Kb/s. It is available for both the concert and the documentary.
Dialogue is extremely clear, concise and well positioned from the centre front channel. There are no problems with audio sync.
The music is of course what this disc is about and the concert performance does not disappoint. While the versions of the songs are not what many people would be expecting, they offer fresh interpretation of some of Sting's classics, and as such are enlightening and highly enjoyable.
During the concert the surrounds are used extensively. It was only a small audience in attendance for this show and you can almost hear all of them individually from the rears. There is also plenty of instrument separation through both main left/right and rear left/right.
The subwoofer is magnificently supported during the concert, with seamless integration. The double bass is a highlight. It is less evident during the documentary, though does offer some response during the rehearsal footage.
|Surround Channel Use|
Simply a two page booklet that lists the many people (band included) involved in the production of the concert and the DVD.
Time lapse rolling clouds racing over golden fields.
An absolutely beautiful instrumental rendition of Fields of Gold playing in an endless loop is the background music for the main menus. I can listen to this for hours and not grow tired.
Not really a music video, this is one of the performances that was dropped from the main concert feature, and now appears as an extra. As a result the quality is exactly the same as the main concert, featuring 1.78:1 16x9 enhanced widescreen video and full Dolby Digital 5.1 sound. Running time for this track is 4:21. At the conclusion of the song it moves onto the other bonus tracks and not back to the main menu.
The same specifications as the above track, this song also did not make the final concert feature. Running time for this song is 3:22 minutes.
Yep you guessed it, the same as the above. Running time is 4:50 minutes.
This disc is coded for all regions and as such is the same specification throughout the world. The superior PAL formatting and price sees the local disc the clear winner.
This is good stuff indeed. Discs like this reinforce to me the reason why VHS music videos are dead and buried. A quality documentary, with instant access through to the main concert, is a highlight of the disc in a technical sense. The behind-the-scenes documentary that really reveals the human side of Sting is the highlight of the content, as are the songs The songs themselves are Sting and The Police classics but with a new interpretation thrown at them. As a result, anyone buying this disc for a "Greatest Hits" style of performance may be slightly disappointed. Please don't let this put you off, as you will be poorer for missing the opportunity to see this master at work.
The video is stunning. A widescreen concert with 16x9 enhancement. Perfect.
The audio is also superb.
While not exactly overflowing with extras, the quality of the documentary, and the three bonus videos still sees me offer it high marks.
Highly recommended for all Sting fans. It will surely not get much better than this.
|DVD||Loewe Xemix 5006DD, using RGB output|
|Display||Loewe Calida (84cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Front - B&W 602S2, Centre - B&W CC6S2, Rear - B&W 601S2, Sub - Energy E:xl S10|