Gilberto Gil-Acustico MTV (1994) (NTSC)

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Released 24-Jan-2002

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Music Booklet
Booklet-Guitar Tablature
Menu Animation & Audio
Music Video-Tempo Rei
Music Video-Figura de Retorica
Music Video-Domingo no Parque
Biographies-Cast & Crew
Web Links
Main Menu Introduction
DVD Credits
Rating Rated E
Year Of Production 1994
Running Time 87:56 (Case: 100)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (48:59) Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Rodrigo Carelli
Lucas Bambozzi

Warner Vision
Starring Gilberto Gil
Arthur Maia
Lucas Santana
Celso Fonseca
Jorge Gomes
Marcos Suzano
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $39.95 Music Gilberto Gil

Video (NTSC) Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame Portuguese Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Portuguese Dolby Digital 4.0 L-C-R-S (384Kb/s)
Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Portuguese Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 480i (NTSC)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles Portuguese
Portuguese Audio Commentary
English Audio Commentary
Spanish Audio Commentary
French Audio Commentary
Guitar Tablatures
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, closing titles over end of concert

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

Plot Synopsis

    I must admit to being more than partial to Brazilian music. I got introduced to it via Pat Metheny (who is my favourite jazz guitarist), who at one stage went through a "Latin" phase through Pat Metheny Group albums such as Still Life (Talking) and Letter From Home. I then started listening to the music he was inspired by, made by musicians like Toninho Horta and Milton Nascimento, and then finally came full circle to the "Girl From Ipanema" bossanova crowd, such as Antônio Carlos Jobim, João Gilberto, Astrud Gilberto and Stan Getz.

    So, when this DVD, featuring the music of Gilberto Gil, was offered, I jumped at the chance to review it. I initially thought he must be quite young, and mistakenly assumed that his name must surely be a stage name, maybe some sort of homage to João Gilberto and ... I don't know ... Gil Evans perhaps?

    Little did I know Gilberto Gil is actually his real name, and not only that he is one of Brazil's foremost musicians, having been creating music since the mid-60s. Born as Gilberto Passos Gil Moreira in Salvador on 26 June 1942, he was influenced by João Gilberto in the 50s but soon began partnerships with poet-lyricists Capinan and Torquato Neto and worked with Caetano, Gal, Bethânia and Tom Zé.

    Together with Caetano, he was a champion of Brazilian folk-inspired music which became known as Tropicálismo or Tropicália. His political activism and "revolutionary" music led to his arrest by the military dictatorship at that time, and he was exiled into Europe where he met the likes of Pink Floyd and Yes. Later in life he was actually elected into political office as a councilman in his home town of Salvador. Having released over 40 albums, he is now recognised as one of the pioneers of world music through his fusion of pop and rock musical styles with Brazilian rhythms such as samba, salsa and bossa nova. He has toured many countries and built many loyal fans around the world.

    This DVD, entitled Acústico, was originally broadcast on the MTV music channel and recorded live at the Estúdio Frame, São Paulo on 18 January 1994. It features some of his best known songs, such as Realce, Esoterico, Super Homem, expresso 2222, Palco and Sitio do Picapau Amarelo. Excerpts from the concert were also released on a CD entitled Unplugged in 1994.

    Gil is in fine form in this concert, looking very relaxed (and dare I say quite fetching in his red outfit!). He sings some of Caetano's songs such as Beira Mar and Sampa and even a Stevie Wonder song (The Secret Life of Plants) which is the only song in the concert sung in English. All in all a wonderful introduction to his music, and Brazilian music in general, and Tropicália specifically.

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

Track Listing

1. A novidade
2. Tenhosede
3. Refazenda
4. Drão
5. Beira-Mar
6. Sampa
7. Parabolicamará
8. A Linha E O Linho
9. The Secret Life Of Plants
10. Expresso 2222
11. Aquele Abraço
12. Toda Menina baiana
13. Se Eu Quiser Falar Com Deus
14. Las tres Carabelas
15. Realce
16. Estérico
17. Sítio Do pica- Pau Amarelo
18. A Paz
19. Palco

Transfer Quality


    This is a full frame NTSC transfer of a programme originally intended for broadcast on the MTV cable television channel.

    In general, the transfer is quite pleasant, with reasonably high levels of detail, plus good and natural colour saturation levels. There is not a lot of shadow detail because the venue is quite dark. Edge enhancement has been used, leading to a slight haloing effect across most objects.

    The main flaw with the transfer is the lack of vertical resolution, evidenced by numerous instances of aliasing (particularly around guitar strings but also noticeable around most diagonal edges) and minor pixelization. This seems to be common for most video sources (i.e. inherently interlaced) around the period and may be inherent in the source tape format rather than a compression artefact. I did not notice any significant instances of low level video noise.

    This disc has two sets of subtitle tracks for Portuguese, English, Spanish and French. One set contains the lyrics (translated if appropriate) of each song sung in the concert set (impressive!). The other contains the transcription of the audio commentary. There is even a ninth subtitle track called the guitar tablature track (more on this later).

    This is a single sided dual layered disc (RSDL). The layer change occurs at 48:59 and causes a momentary unavoidable disruption to the programme.

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


    This disc has no less than four audio tracks, all in Portuguese: Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s), Dolby Digital 4.0 L-C-R-S (384Kb/s), Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s), and an Audio Commentary (also in Portuguese) in Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s). I listened to mainly the Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track, but flicked across occasionally to the other tracks.

    All tracks seem to have been mastered at different volume levels, which make comparison between tracks difficult. The Dolby Digital 5.1 track is easily the loudest, with the Dialogue Normalization offset set to +4 dB. Next is the Dolby Digital 4.0 L-C-R-S track (funnily enough referred to as Dolby Digital "3.1" in the menus), followed lastly by the Dolby Digital 2.0 tracks (which, surprisingly, are still at what I would call "normal" listening levels, which gives you an indication how loud the Dolby Digital 5.1 track really is).

    The Dolby Digital 5.1 track is easily reference quality - it sounds very dynamic, punchy and clean, as well as being quite full-bodied. The surround mix is excellent and pretty much optimal, with all three speakers in front engaged for reproducing the music, the rear speakers providing ambience and audience noises and the subwoofer providing a healthy low frequency extension to the music. Audience noises are split across all speakers with the result that I felt I was enveloped by the audience and sitting in about the middle of the hall. If I closed my eyes, I could easily imagine I was at the venue itself.

    The Dolby Digital 4.0 track is very similar to the Dolby Digital 5.1 track apart from slight lack of bass due to the missing subwoofer, which kind of begs the question: why bother including this track at all? It seems to be intended for those with only Dolby Pro Logic decoding, and I would have preferred it if they had included a dts track instead.

    The Dolby Digital 2.0 track is mastered at a relatively low level, so initially may not seem as impressive as the Dolby Digital 5.1 track. However, if I equalised the volume levels, this is a very pleasant sounding track that can certainly stand up on its own. The soundstage is not as expansive as the Dolby Digital track, but it seems to be slightly more bassy.

    The audio commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 track is similar to the music 2.0 track. I only listened to this briefly as I do not understand Portuguese.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    Wow! This disc is absolutely crammed with extras, and seems to be the music DVD's equivalent of an ultimate edition. The only thing missing in my opinion is a featurette/interview with Gilberto Gil, but this is more than made up for by features I have not seen in any other DVD to date, including a guitar tablature subtitle track and accompanying booklet.


    The menu is full frame but contains an intro, animation and background audio. It is available in several languages.


    This is a four page booklet providing song titles, two paragraphs on Gilberto Gil by Antonio Carlos Miguel, a listing of band members, and production credits (for the TV programme, show and DVD).

Booklet - Guitar Tablature

    Here is an interesting extra, particularly for a guitarist! This booklet, meant to be used with the "guitar tablature" subtitle track on the disc, provides the fingering for all the chords in each song (including the extra songs in the "unpublished" section). The actual chord sequence and lyrics are provided in the subtitle track itself.

Audio Commentary - Gilberto Gil

    This audio commentary track is in Portuguese so I was not able to appreciate it. I did turn it on briefly just to verify its presence. I turned on the English subtitle track which is the translation of the commentary track. Gilberto introduces each song with an essay about the song. He often talks about the background to the song, what his thoughts were composing it, or how he came across it if it was written by somebody else, eg. Stevie Wonder for "The Secret Life of Plants". He gets quite metaphysical at times, but sentimental at others, eg. when he is talking about his son Pedro who died in a car accident.

    He only speaks at the beginning of the songs, so if a song is long and he has run out of things to say he keeps quiet.

Music Videos - Tempo Rei, Figura de Retorica, Domingo no Parque

    These are songs performed in the concert and "deleted" from the main feature. Surprisingly, they are presented with the full complement of audio and subtitle tracks as per the main feature, and similar audio and video transfer quality:

Biographies-Cast & Crew

    The "Biography" menu item under "Extras" contains a collection of 7 stills (text, plus photos) providing a concise but comprehensive biography of Gilberto Gil.

    The "Musicians" menu item under "Extras" contain one page biographical stills (with accompanying mug shot and background audio of the musician playing) for:


    This is broken into a set of seven submenus that allow you to browse through Gilberto Gil's extensive discography (no less than 41 albums spanning 1967-2001!). For each album, you get to view the album cover as well as a track listing.

Web Links

    This is a still that provides a listing of the following web sites (not clickable if you have a DVD-ROM, unfortunately):

DVD Credits

    This is a set of stills that provides production credits for the concert, the MTV programme and the DVD.

R4 vs R1

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

    This disc does not appear to be released in Region 1, which is surprising given that it is in NTSC.


    Gilberto Gil - Acústico MTV is a fine introduction to Brazilian music by one of its masters. It is presented on a DVD with an okay video transfer, a reference quality audio transfer and lots of extras.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Christine Tham (read my biography)
Wednesday, February 13, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-626D, using Component output
DisplaySony VPL-VW11HT LCD Projector, ScreenTechnics 16x9 matte white screen (254cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationDenon AVR-3300
SpeakersFront and rears: B&W CDM7NT; centre: B&W CDMCNT; subwoofer: B&W ASW2500

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