Springsteen, Bruce and the E Street Band-Live in New York City (2001)

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Released 11-Dec-2001

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Music Main Menu Audio
Featurette-New York City Serenade (19:44)
Gallery-Photo-(2:01)
Booklet
Additional Footage-(81:25)
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2001
Running Time 112:46 (Case: 180)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (65:40)
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Chris Hilson
Studio
Distributor

Sony Music
Starring Bruce Springsteen
Roy Bittan
Clarence Clemons
Danny Federici
Nils Lofgren
Patti Scialfa
Garry Tallent
Max Weinberg
Steve Van Zandt
Case Click-Double
RPI $39.95 Music Bruce Springsteen


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Linear PCM 48/16 2.0 (1536Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 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

    After the studio gathering in 1995 that resulted in the Greatest Hits album, which brought The E Street Band together for the first time in eleven years, it was perhaps inevitable that the performance juices started flowing again. As a result, Bruce Springsteen gathered together a much older and much better E Street Band and set off on a tour that was to prove that they might be a bit older but they could still rock better than any band that has emerged in the past fifteen years. The particular performances included here were recorded on 29th June and 1st July 2000 and were the final two concerts of a ten night stand at Madison Square Garden in New York, themselves the conclusion of the whole tour. As a homecoming of sorts - Bruce and some of the band hail from just across the Hudson River - this is something rather special indeed.

    Thankfully the cameras from HBO captured the full brilliance of the evenings, and even though they had not toured for ten years the band prove that great musicians, like the cream in milk, always rise to the top. One of the truly fascinating aspects of the concerts, apart from seeing one of the greatest bands ever do what they do best, is to hear the way the songs from days long past have evolved over the years. Unlike so many bands that keep on rehashing the same old stuff until they are pensioned off to the rock and roll geriatrics home, Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band continue to reinvent songs and thus what we have here bears little relationship to the original versions of the songs as exemplified by the videos contained in The Video Anthology.

    It is perhaps this reinvention of songs long ago overly familiar that makes this such an enthralling concert experience - well, that and a band determined to have a good time. Sure not all the older sings have been majorly reinvented but some that have are so dissimilar to the familiar versions that it is almost like listening to the songs anew. We all know Born In The U.S.A. right? Well that rocker of a song gets a bluesy, unplugged-style, steel guitar rendition here that definitely is something different and in its own way something more powerful. This is just one example of a wonderful mix of newer material and some of the classic tracks from The Boss' early albums, and it really is a wonderful thing to sit through a concert knowing what song is coming up but not knowing what sort of interpretation The Boss is going to give it this time.

    One of the great disappointments of my life is the fact that I have never seen Bruce Springsteen live. The closest I ever got was at a concert many years ago in Los Angeles if I remember correctly where I turned down the opportunity at scalped tickets at some astronomical price like $100 - American dollars of course. Having seen this DVD, I sincerely regret not having paid that exorbitant price. This is one seriously good concert presented on perhaps the finest DVD I have yet heard from Sony Music. It certainly heads into my top ten music DVDs.

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Track Listing

1. My Love Will Not Let You Down
2. Prove It All Night
3. Two Hearts
4. Atlantic City
5. Mansion On The Hill
6. The River
7. Youngstown
8. Murder Incorporated
9. Badlands
10. Out In The Street
11. Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out
12. Born To Run
13. Land Of Hope And Dreams
14. American Skin (41 Shots)

Transfer Quality

Video

    This is a nicely presented concert video, amongst the best DVD efforts I have personally seen from Sony Music. Thankfully, they have had the inestimable good sense to present the concert in its widescreen glory - in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 - that coincides with the way HBO shot it and the way HBO intend it to be seen on television. The transfer is 16x9 enhanced.

    Apart from the obligatory problems that are often associated with concert videos - lapses in focus, intense stage lighting wash outs and the like - this is a quite wonderful looking transfer. Nicely sharp, very well detailed (just check out some of the depth to the crowd shots) and exceptionally clear. Shadow detail is nothing too shabby, again within the context of the concert video. From an image point of view there is not much of concern here at all.

    The colours are, within the context of a concert video, very nicely handled - well saturated, very nicely vibrant with only a few minor issues to cause any concern. These are mainly a couple of instances where the intense stage lighting, predominantly of the blue variety of course, washes out a fair chunk of the detail, such as at 91:48 and where the red variety produces an oversaturated look, such as at 41:00.

    There were no apparent MPEG artefacts in the transfer. The one area where perhaps the transfer does disappoint just a little is in the rather constant albeit generally minor aliasing. It is the usual suspects that cause the problems such as guitar strings, the song lists taped to the piano, and stage edges. The most obtrusive instances are in the drum riser at 16:42, the stage edge at 85:26 and the piano edge at 90:53. I don't recall a single film artefact in the transfer, so if there were any they certainly were not a disruption.

    This is an RSDL formatted DVD with the layer change coming at 65:40. To overcome the usual problem with concert videos, a fade to black with accompanying silencing of audience noise has been inserted into the concert and the layer change hidden therein. It is a neat enough way of handling the situation. The second DVD in the set is a single sided, single layer effort.

    There is unfortunately no subtitle option on the DVD, so our hearing impaired friends will be in a little difficulty here.

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

Audio

    There are two soundtracks on the DVD, being an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack and an English Linear PCM 48/16 2.0 soundtrack. I listened to the Dolby Digital soundtrack and made only brief samplings of the Linear PCM soundtrack.

    The vocals and limited dialogue come up well in the transfer and are generally quite easy to understand. There appeared to be no audio sync problems in the transfer.

    As regular readers will know, one of my longest and loudest complaints about Sony Music DVDs has been the bass heavy nature of their Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtracks. Whilst they have certainly improved recently, I still had some complaint with them. No more. This is the best balanced Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack I have yet heard from Sony and indeed if there is any real complaint with it, it is the fact that perhaps there could have been a little more action from the bass channel. Overall though, this is one superb soundtrack. Very nicely balanced, the big plus here is the very nice use of the rear surround channels where you will find plenty of audience ambience to soak up. Really and truly, there is nothing to complain about here and this can well withstand being cranked up in the volume department. The Linear PCM soundtrack in comparison is absolutely wimpish and barely listenable. There is nothing wrong with it, simply that the Dolby Digital soundtrack is so good that it demonstrates exactly what is missing in Linear PCM soundtracks.

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

Extras

    A decent extras package has been assembled for this release on a second disc, even though I could imagine a better package.

Menu

    Minor audio enhancement does not lift these to any great height.

Featurette - New York City Serenade (19:44)

    Presented in the same format as the main programme, other than it has only Linear PCM 48/16 2.0 sound, this is a decent interview effort hosted by Bob Costas. Mixing interview material, predominantly from Bruce Springsteen but including other band members as well, with concert footage, one cannot help but feel that this could have been so much more. Still better than nothing though.

Gallery - Photo (2:01)

    Presented in a Full Frame format that is not 16x9 enhanced, this self-running show of mainly poorish quality concert and behind the scenes photos is accompanied by some audio enhancement. Nothing truly exciting here and the photo quality is certainly a disappointment within the context of the rest of the package.

Additional Footage (81:25)

    Arguments will rage over whether this is an extra or whether it is part of the main programme. I believe that it is an extra as the main programme is the full concert as originally presented on HBO. This footage is additional footage shot during the two concerts that was not presented in the main programme and is seen for the first time. It is an integral programme in its own right, presented as the sole content of the second DVD, and whilst its presentation is identical to the main programme, the quality is actually a little poorer. The main issue is the mastering is a lot poorer, possibly as a result of using a single sided, single layer DVD, with the result that this suffers far more from film-to-video artefacts. The aliasing is much grosser, and there is noticeable moiré artefacting especially in Max Weinberg's shirt/vest. The songs making up the additional footage are:

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    As far as we are aware, there are no substantial differences between the Region 1 release and the Region 4 release.

Summary

    This is a concert experience not to miss. One of the greatest bands of all time, in one of the greatest auditoriums in the world produces one of the most memorable concert videos I have ever seen. Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band - Live In New York is certainly one of the best concert DVDs I have seen. I will return to this concert experience on a regular basis and if you have any interest at all in great rock and roll, this is an essential addition to the collection.

    Mind you, it does contain one of the most unbelievable mastering errors I have ever come across. How about not being able to use the stop button when you are in the main menu? So how do you stop the DVD from playing so that you can eject it? Obviously you don't! D'oh!

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ian Morris (Biological imperfection run amok)
Thursday, January 17, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-515, using S-Video output
DisplaySony Trinitron Wega (80cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationYamaha RXV-795
SpeakersEnergy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right C-2; rears EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL

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