Sting-The Brand New Day Tour (1999)

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Released 7-Nov-2000

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Music Menu Animation & Audio
Featurette-Sting-Brand New Day Live
DVD Credits
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1999
Running Time 87:57
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Lawrence Jordan
Studio
Distributor

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Sting
Dominic Miller
Manu Katche
Jason Robello
Kipper
Chris Botti
Case Amaray-Opaque
RPI $34.95 Music Sting


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

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

Plot Synopsis

    Sting - Brand New Day LIVE from the Universal Amphitheatre is a concert featuring Sting supported by a five-piece band and three backup singers. In addition, Stevie Wonder does a surprise harmonica solo in Brand New Day and Sting performs a duet with Cheb Mami singing Arabic accompanied by Abdel Nasser Haoua playing the Darabukka (think of a Middle Eastern version of the congo drum and you'll be close) in Desert Rose.

    Sting was born Gordon Matthew Sumner in Wallsend, England in 1951. He got his nickname whilst he was in the band Phoenix Jazzmen because the trombone player Gordon Solomon remarked that he looked like a bee. He plays guitar, bass guitar, mandolin, piano, harmonica, saxophone, and pan flute but prefers bass guitar. Most people will remember Sting as the lead singer in Police and as a solo artist, but prior to joining Police he had worked various jobs including ditch digger and school teacher. Musically, prior to joining Police, Sting was in various jazz bands.

    I've listened to Sting ever since the Police days but more so when he went solo. The Dream of the Blue Turtles is a brilliant first solo album, and Bring On The Night a superb live double album. Both these albums featured first class jazz musicians such as Branford Marsalis, Kenny Kirkland and Darryl Jones - musicians who have played with the likes of Miles Davis and Dizzie Gillespie. Unfortunately, none of these musicians are with Sting in this concert, and their absence was sorely felt by me.

    In their place is a relatively young group of musicians. Chris Botti is not bad on the trumpet, but hasn't really had the experience to be able to define his own style instead of trying to emulate the great Miles. Similarly, Jason Robello looks and plays so young it's painful to even compare him to the late Kenny that he replaced. The surprise of the night was Manu Katche who played a mean set of drums as well as doing a French rap number in Perfect Love ... Gone Wrong.

    My favourite songs are the slower and more introspective numbers, such as Ghost Story and Moon Over Bourbon Street, but Sting generally acquits himself creditably in this concert. The encore pieces are Message In A Bottle and Fragile which are a lot more "unplugged" and "acoustic" than the concert set. Overall I enjoyed the concert, but I couldn't help thinking: bring back Bring On The Night!

    Incidentally, the official Sting web site (sting.compaq.com) seems extremely boring. I found the Stingchronicity and Sting Etc. sites to be more interesting.

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Track Listing

1. A Thousand Years
2. If You Love Somebody(Set Them Free)
3. After The Rain Has Fallen
4. We'll Be Together
5. Perfect Love . . . Gone Wrong
6. Seven Days
7. Fill Her Up
8. Every Little Thing She Does Is Mgic
9. Ghost Story
10. Moon Over Bourbon Street
11. Englishman In New York
12. Brand New Day
13. Tomorrow We'll See
14. Desert Rose
15. Every Breath You Take
16. Lithium Sunset
17. Message In A Bottle
18. Fragile

Transfer Quality

Video

    The concert is presented in a full frame aspect ratio on a single sided DVD.

    In general, the transfer seems reasonably clean, with good sharpness, detail and colour saturation. Shadow detail is probably about typical for a video source.

    However, there seems to be persistent signs of shimmering thoughout the concert, especially of smaller, blurrier figures. The effect looks very similar to the "combing" effect you see when a video de-interlacing circuit combines the wrong half-frames. I initially thought that the video de-interlacing circuit in my projector must be going bonkers, then I noticed the shimmering only occurs for smaller figures, never when the camera is doing close-ups. My suspicion therefore is that the shimmering is present in the video transfer itself, and may be the result of scan conversions done prior to mastering (such as NTSC to PAL conversion). Incidentally, Bill Hunt from The Digital Bits did not mention shimmering in his review, so my guess is the shimmering is a result of NTSC to PAL conversion.

    Other than the shimmering which I found quite annoying, the transfer is relatively clean in terms of other artefacts. I could detect occasional aliasing and slight ringing, but nothing that would cause annoyance.

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

Audio

    This DVD has two audio tracks: Dolby Digital 5.1 at 448Kb/s, and Dolby Digital 2.0 at 448Kb/s. I listened to the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack in its entirety, and in addition briefly listened to the Dolby Digital 2.0 track.

    The Dolby track is quite engaging with a very expansive and immersive soundstage. All 6 channels (including the sub-woofer) are effectively utilized but more of the music is carried by the front left and right speakers, with the centre and rear channels mainly used to expand the soundstage. This is an excellent arrangement, as it allows most of the music to be produced by the front speakers which are usually the best specified in home theatre setups but at the same time taking advantage of all the other speakers.

    The subwoofer is reasonably actively used during the entire concert to reproduce the low level musical information. If anything, I probably find the concert too "bassy" for my tastes but bass-lovers would probably rejoice.

    The mastering level is about 3 dB higher than average. The mix suddenly becomes even louder during Desert Rose and I had to turn down the volume control by about 1-2 dB because I didn't want to annoy the neighbours.

    In comparison, the Dolby Digital 2.0 track also sounds good albeit with a collapsed soundstage. It seems to be mastered at a lower level.

    I did not detect any audio glitches or synchronization issues.

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

Extras

    Given that most music DVDs don't come with any extras, the presence of an "backstage interview" featurette is a small plus, but even then they could have included at least some cast and crew biography stills or something.

Menu

    The menus are reasonably pleasing and seems to be relatively free of MPEG artefacts, unlike some DVDs I've seen. They are in Full Frame format and are animated. Surprisingly the chapter/song selection menus do not feature animated postcards of the chapters but then I suppose the concert footage would be very similar across songs.

Featurette - "Backstage Footage"

    This is a brief (15:15 minutes) backstage tour shot just before the concert and features mini-interviews with the cast and crew. I found this mildly entertaining, but unfortunately the video and audio transfer is rather poor.

    The video transfer suffers from pixelization as a result of high MPEG compression. The footage seems to have been taken using a portable camcorder rather than professional equipment. As the lighting conditions are sub-optimal, the scenes tend to look very yellowish with muted colours.

    The audio transfer sounds very monophonic and low-fidelity and in addition I can detect minor audio synchronization errors in certain shots.

Credits

    This is a set of stills crediting the production team behind the DVD mastering.

R4 vs R1

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

    This DVD is the same the world over save for the video formatting. This particular DVD is in PAL format and comes with a "Made in the EU" label.

Summary

    Sting - Brand New Day LIVE is a reasonably enjoyable concert. Although the audio transfer is excellent, the video transfer unfortunately has numerous artefacts (mainly shimmering) that appear to be inherent in the video material itself. The only significant extra is a backstage tour/interview featurette.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Christine Tham (read my biography)
Saturday, January 27, 2001
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-626D, using Component output
DisplaySony VPL-VW10HT LCD Projector, ScreenTechnics 16x9 matte white screen (203cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVR-3300
SpeakersFront left/right: B&W DM603; centre: B&W CC6S2, rear left/right: B&W DM601

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