Michael McDonald-Gathering of Friends, A (2000)

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Released 8-Feb-2002

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Music None
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 2000
Running Time 70:29
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By None Given

Warner Vision
Starring Michael McDonald
Case Soft Brackley-Transp
RPI $39.95 Music Michael McDonald

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Screen, not known whether Pan & Scan or Full Frame English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
English dts 5.1 (1536Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio Unknown Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, Credits roll over finale

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

Plot Synopsis

    Michael McDonald certainly is not a commonly heard name around my household. In fact, I had never heard of him before. However, I HAD heard of the Doobie Brothers, and this is where some of Michael McDonald's fame has come from. Michael McDonald - A Gathering of Friends has very little to do with the Doobie Brothers and more to do with the great talents of the man with his own brand of "blue-eyed soul".

    This aptly titled disc really is a gathering of great "soul" artists, ranging from Patti LaBelle, Tommy Sims, Edwin McCain, James Ingram, and many more. This is a real feast for lovers of soul music, but is not really going to hold the interest of those whose tastes don't run along these lines.

    Fans of Michael McDonald will love this DVD as it certainly shows off his impressive vocal talents, not to mention the host of other talented artists that appear. Not my cup of tea - but if it is yours go and grab it now.

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

Track Listing

1. On My Own
2. No Love To Be Found
3. Holy City
4. All I Need
5. Ride Like The Wind
6. She Lay Her Whip Down
7. Yah Mo B There
8. Mari
9. You Belong To Me
10. Heart To Heart
11. This Is It
12. Minute By Minute
13. Takin' It To The Streets

Transfer Quality


    The video transfer of the disc is marginally disappointing, with a generally soft and grainy image that also suffers from oversaturated colours.

    Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, this is unlikely to have been recorded digitally. If so, there has been some serious image degradation and clipping to fit the 1.33:1 image.

    Sharpness is quite poor throughout the feature, never really taking on a nice crispness. Shadow detail was acceptable but never brilliant.

    Colour on this DVD is problematic. The stage lighting used is quite powerful and either the filming technique or compression technique did not cope very well. A good example of this can be seen around 7:50 where the stage lighting really washes out the audience. There are numerous examples throughout the transfer where coloured lighting causes large halos and blooms around the artists on stage. Throughout the performance, Michael McDonald has a lovely halo as the stage lighting shines off his white hair.

    There were very few MPEG artefacts on this disc due to the high average bitrate of the video (around 8.5Mbps). Film-to-fideo artefacts were far more common with aliasing occurring frequently. Some early examples of aliasing can be found at 3:39 (keyboard) and 8:59 (music stands). There were no film artefacts throughout.

    There are no subtitles on this disc and no layer change for that matter.

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


    What the video transfer lacks the audio transfer valiantly attempts to make up for. This disc is given a very nice audio transfer.

    There are a total of three English audio tracks on this disc. I listened to the Dolby Digital 5.1 (@448kbps) track and dts 5.1 (@1536kbps) tracks throughout. The Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo track I sampled at irregular intervals. It was also very good for a stereo only track. The dts track was mastered at a considerably lower level than both Dolby Digital tracks, so much so that I had to listen above my reference level. In terms of clarity and definition I think the dts track was slightly superior than the Dolby Digital 5.1 track. There really wasn't much in it.

    Dialogue quality was excellent throughout, and very well defined. There were no audio sync issues at all.

    The dts and Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks gave a very enveloping musical experience, subtly using the surrounds to expand the listening environment. Apart from crowd applause, the surround usage is not at all aggressive, suiting the music very well. The subwoofer did not have a huge role as the musical style didn't call for thumping bass. It did, however, provide excellent support to the bass guitar and the (very) occasional aggressive kick drum.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    None, zip, zilch. Not even an audio enhanced menu. You could call this the definition of bare-bones.

R4 vs R1

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

    It would appear that the R4 disc is identical to the R1 disc, excepting the PAL formatting. As you can probably get it cheaper in R4 there is no reason to choose the R1 instead.


    Michael McDonald - A Gathering of Friends is a very soulful experience. Great for fans of soul music but certainly not everyone's cup of tea. The audio transfer is excellent but the video is quite poor.

    The video quality is average with several flaws.

    The audio quality is excellent.

    The extras are non-existent.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Nick Jardine (My bio, it's short - read it anyway)
Saturday, February 23, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-535, using Component output
DisplayLoewe Xelos 5381ZW. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-DS787, THX Select
SpeakersAll matching Vifa Drivers: centre 2x6.5" + 1" tweeter (d'appolito); fronts and rears 6.5" + 1" tweeter; centre rear 5" + 1" tweeter; sub 10" (150WRMS)

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