Elton John-One Night Only: Greatest Hits (Live at Madison Square Garden) (2000)

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Released 15-Jan-2002

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Music Menu Animation & Audio
Music Video-I Want Love
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2000
Running Time 152:39
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (75:22) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By David Mallet
Studio
Distributor

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Elton John
Nigel Olsson
Davey Johnstone
Case Flexbox
RPI ? Music Elton John


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English dts 5.1 (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

    As I mentioned in my review of Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, I sort of fell into being a fan of Elton John through my support of Billy Joel (who happens to appear on this disc - yay!), when the two got together for the "Face to Face" series of concerts. I was lucky enough to attend one of those concerts (and to any exec from Sony or Universal - that would certainly be a killer DVD) when the two toured Australia, and I can say from first hand experience that Elton John certainly knows how to put on a show. On top of that, he is an utterly brilliant pianist, and this is never more obvious than during a live show.

    As far as concerts go, this one is a killer. Set up especially for the purpose of creating the Greatest Hits - Live CD, and the TV special that was shown here in Australia on Channel 9 (early in 2001, I believe), this show is enormous. There are 27 (yes, that is twenty seven!) songs performed, and the guest artists roped in for the night (or nights - it was filmed over two) include Billy Joel, Bryan Adams, Anastasia, and Ronan Keating.

    As this concert was performed under the auspices of a greatest hits recording, it is not a real surprise to find that the music presented spans the vast majority of Elton's career, from as early as his second album Elton John to as recent as the soundtrack for The Lion King. It is equally unsurprising that the bias is towards his works from the 70s (not one track appears from 1995's Made In England), when he was at the peak of his songwriting prowess (although that is not taking into account his latest album, released after this recording was made). Regardless of this, however, it is evident that he has lost none of his performance ability, and is a simply brilliant musician that easily outshines most of his guest performers (although not Billy Joel!).

    The blurb on the back says that this is a "must have" for any true Elton fan, and for once, I think they are understating the matter - this is a must have for any Elton fan - true or not.

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Track Listing

1. Funeral For A Friend...
2. Candle In The Wind
3. Bennie And The Jets
4. Goodby Yellow Brick Road
5. Someone Saved My Life Tonight
6. Little Jeannie
7. Philadelphia Freedom
8. Tiny Dancer
9. Can You Feel The Love Tonight?
10. Daniel
11. Rocket Man
12. Club At The End Of The Street
13. Blue Eyes
14. ...Why They Call It The Blues
15. The One
16. Dont Wanna Go On With You Like That
17. Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word
18. Sacrifice
19. Come Together
20. Your Song
21. Sad Songs (Say So Much)
22. I'm Still Standing
23. Crocodile Rock
24. Saturday Night's Alright...
25. The B**** Is Back
26. Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me
27. Don't Go Breaking My Heart

Transfer Quality

Video

    The video transfer we have presented here is quite disappointing, and is certainly the weakest aspect of the disc. While it is not bad enough to affect enjoyment of the concert (this is, after all, primarily an aural experience), it does prevent the disc from being truly spectacular.

    As with the other Universal Music discs I have looked at recently, this concert is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.

    The sharpness of this transfer is serviceable. By no means could this transfer be called sharp, but it is not lacking for detail in any way either. Grain is generally kept to a minor issue, but it does appear on an infrequent basis. Infrequent as it is however, this still leads to many occurrences due to the very long running time of this disc. I noted twelve occasions throughout this disc where grain became obvious enough to detract from the picture quality. Shadow detail is quite good. The darker areas of the stage are still sufficiently detailed that the action occurring there can be made out. There was no low level noise present in this transfer.

    The colours were, as with the sharpness, passable. This is a concert, and as such is plagued by instances in which rapid changes in lighting intensity are common - where the lighting is bright, it is very bright. Even so, this disc manages to make the colours appear somewhat less than dazzling, and the whole show look more akin to something taking place at the local community hall. There were also a few instances of colour bleed, with the most obvious taking place between 56:06 and 56:09.

    By far the most disturbing artefacts on this disc are a number of severe cases of macro blocking, no doubt caused by trying to fit a two and half hour concert with a full bitrate DTS track onto a single disc. There are many instances, from very early on, at 0:49 to quite late in the show at 133:22, and on many occasions in between. Each time it occurs it is extremely obvious, and quickly detracts from the show. The transfer fares no better when it comes to film-to-video artefacts either, with numerous instances of aliasing. Most of these are caused either by guitar strings, or the edges of the guitars themselves, but the most obvious cases are on the reverse angle of Elton (facing out across him into the crowd). Almost every time this angle is used, the edge of his microphone starts crawling almost as if it is alive. A few examples of this are at 7:12, 7:44-50, and 44:42. Just as obvious, but less frequently occurring, is aliasing on the edge of Elton's piano keys, such as at 30:16. There are no film artefacts present in this transfer.

    There are no subtitles on this disc, but if anyone doesn't know the chorus to Crocodile Rock, they don't deserve to be able to listen to this DVD.

    This is an RSDL formatted disc, with the layer change coming at 75:22, between Chapters 13 and 14. As with any concert disc, this change is very obvious (unless the crowd really did all stop cheering at the same time).

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

Audio

    The audio presented here is a very different story to the video, presenting a brilliant concert experience, easily being the best arena concert disc I have heard.

    There are three audio tracks present on this disc, being a Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo track encoded at the standard 192 Kbps, a Dolby Digital 5.1 track encoded at the higher bitrate of 448 Kbps, and a full bitrate DTS 5.1 track. The Dolby 5.1 track is quite harsh and the poor cousin of the other two tracks. More on that later.

    The vocals were always clear and easy to understand, and the music is perfectly mixed into the soundfield. Separation is extremely good, all instruments are easy to make out, and the wonderful backing vocals are spot-on in level. Concert mixing does not come any better than this.

    Audio sync is spot-on at all times throughout the transfer.

    The surround channels are given a decent workout during the 5.1 tracks, carrying not only crowd noise, but also handling a number of musical sequences, and quite often a slight reverb of Elton's vocals that give the entire presentation much more of a concert feel (although audio purists will probably stick with the 2.0 track).

    The subwoofer gets an extremely impressive workout here, and it is very good quality bass to boot. It is extremely sharp, and delivers an extreme punch instead of just rumbling away. It will make you feel like you are in The Club At The End Of The Street.

    In comparing the three soundtracks, it is obvious that the DTS track is the winner. It presents sharper bass, far less reverb in the surrounds, and a much smoother presentation all round (particularly where the saxophone is concerned). This is not to say, however, that those without DTS capability are at all left out, as the Dolby 2.0 track is extremely good. Belying the standard bitrate, and the lack of surround channels, the audio present from the 2.0 soundtrack is almost as good as the DTS, only losing out a little in the bass department, and the lack of surround. Unfortunately, the Dolby 5.1 is clearly inferior to the other two tracks, giving a sound that really struggles to impart punch at low volumes, and any type of clarity at high volumes. It is a real trade-off between being able to feel the music and being able to listen to it, which the other two soundtracks do not force upon the listener.

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

Extras

    There is only a single extra on this disc, but that is really not a disappointment considering the length and quality of the main presentation.

Menu

    The menu is animated, 16x9 enhanced and features a Dolby 5.1 soundtrack playing Song For Guy (somewhat of a strange choice, as it is not played during the concert).

Music Video - "I Want Love" (4:43)

    This is the music video for I Want Love, the first single from Elton John's latest album, Songs From The West Coast, and featuring the much maligned Robert Downey, Jr. as the "vocalist". It is presented in 1.33:1, is not 16x9 enhanced, and features Dolby Digital 2.0 audio, encoded at the higher bitrate of 224 Kbps.

R4 vs R1

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

    There are two versions of this disc available. One is R1 encoded NTSC, the other (this one), is encoded for all regions and is PAL. Both discs are identical.

Summary

    This is a brilliant concert, perfect for both die hard and casual fans of Elton John, and anyone who has even had a passing interest in his music over the years. It really is a compulsory purchase.

    The video quality is the only disappointing aspect about this disc, and the only reason it misses out on a five star rating. This disc suffers quite badly from compression artefacts and aliasing.

    The audio experience is brilliant, easily being the best arena concert audio that I have heard.

    There is only a single extra on this disc, but who cares! When the main feature is as good as this one, you don't need anything else.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Nick Jardine (My bio, it's short - read it anyway)
Sunday, March 24, 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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