Ben Folds Five-The Complete Sessions at West 54th (2001)

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Released 20-Aug-2002

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Music Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Featurette-Spare Reels (13)
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2001
Running Time 107:52 (Case: 115)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Jim Gable

Sony Music
Starring Ben Folds
Robert Sledge
Darren Jesse
Case Soft Brackley-Transp
RPI $29.95 Music Ben Folds Five

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Linear PCM 48/16 2.0 (1536Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Ben Folds Five: The Complete Sessions at West 54th is, as you would expect, a live performance by the band Ben Folds Five where they perform fifteen different tracks.

    This performance for the PBS show Sessions at West 54th was recorded on June 9, 1997 at the Sony studios in New York and performed in front of a small audience of approximately 200 fans. The performance was recorded shortly after the band's release of their second album Whatever and Ever Amen. The running time is only just over one hour, but in that time the viewer is presented with an excellent performance with a range of tracks from their albums.

    If you are a fan of Ben Folds Five I would definitely suggest that you take a look at this disc as you will surely enjoy the main performance and the bonus tracks that are included.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Track Listing

1. Missing the War
2. Kate
3. The Battle of Who Could Care Less
4. The Last Polka
5. Selfless Cold and Composed
6. Brick
7. Steven's Last Night in Town
8. Smoke
9. Philosophy
10. Emaline
11. Theme from Dr. Pyser
12. One Angry Dwarf and 200 Solemn Face
13. Underground
14. She Don't Use Jelly
15. Song for the Dumped

Transfer Quality


    This transfer is presented at its original aspect ratio of 1.33:1 (and is not 16x9 enhanced).

    The majority of the transfer is extremely sharp and displays no low level noise. Occasional long shots of the performance are slightly softer but this is never distracting to the viewer. Shadow detail is excellent with high levels of detail visible during the small number of shots of the darkly lit audience and backgrounds.

    The colours displayed during the transfer are accurately reproduced with an emphasis in the palette upon blues and subtle reds. Two small cross colour artefacts may be seen on the keyboard at 15:17 and 15:58, but these are not distracting to the viewer.

    No MPEG artefacts were detected during the transfer.

    A number of aliasing artefacts may be seen during the transfer. Some examples of these artefacts may be seen at 3:22, 3:44, 9:02, 10:09, 12:22 and 15:17. All of these artefacts are quite minor.

    As this performance was recorded on tape, no film artefacts are present during the transfer.

    A single analogue tape artefact may be seen at 4:43 but as this only occurs for a single frame it is not disruptive.

    A single set of English subtitles is presented on the disc and this covers both the lyrics as well as the short conversations between songs. These were accurate at all times but are located slightly lower than most subtitles. The subtitles are still located within the safe title area of the image but may be very close to the bottom of the screen on displays with excessive overscan.

    The complete live performance is located on a single layer with the bonus material located on the second layer. Consequently, there is no layer change within the programming.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    Two audio tracks are provided on this disc. The default track is a stereo PCM mix but a Dolby Digital 448 kbps 5.1 mix is also included. I listened to both tracks in full and while I found the front-focused surround mix to be of high quality, I personally preferred the PCM mix.

    The lyrics are always clear and easy to understand.

    No dropouts were detected during the performance.

Note: The initial release of this title displayed a number of audio sync issues during the main program on a large number of players. This problem was clearly visible during the PCM track and increased in severity as the program progressed. Due to these problems Sony Music has recalled this disc and instructed retailers to provide refunds for any people who wish to return the disc. This title will be re-authored and will hopefully be re-released within the next couple of months.

    The surround channels are used effectively throughout with the main focus across the front three channels. Pleasingly, this mix does not move instruments randomly around the soundstage. The subwoofer channel is used minimally throughout to support drums and the bass guitar.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use



    The non-animated menu is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1


    This is a twelve page biography of the band and their releases and includes information up to the release of the band's album The Unauthorized Biography Of Reinhold Messner.

Spare Reels (45:14)

    This is a collection of live performances and interview segments from around the world. Some clips of interest to Australian viewers will be the performance of Brick from Triple J's Live @ the Wireless and an appearance on ABC's Recovery show.

R4 vs R1

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

    Both versions of this DVD appear to be identical and I therefore would have no preference for either version.


    Ben Folds Five: The Complete Sessions at West 54th is an excellent live performance by the band that all fans should take a look at.

    The video transfer is of very high quality and is only marred by a small number of aliasing artefacts.

    Both audio tracks provided are of high quality and should appeal to fans of both surround and stereo mixes.

    The biographical information and collection of extra clips should appeal to all fans of the band.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Anthony Kable (read my bio)
Friday, February 08, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDToshiba 1200, using S-Video output
DisplaySony KP-E41SN11. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationFront left/right: ME75b; Center: DA50ES; rear left/right: DA50ES; subwoofer: NAD 2600 (Bridged)
SpeakersFront left/right: VAF DC-X; Center: VAF DC-6; rear left/right: VAF DC-7; subwoofer: Custom NHT-1259

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