The Band-Live at Loreley (1996)

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Released 15-Oct-2001

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Music Main Menu Audio & Animation
Introduction
Active Subtitle Track-Notes
Featurette-High On The Hog
Featurette-On The Road Again
Featurette-Music Influence
Featurette-J.J. Cale and 'Crazy Mama'
Featurette-'The Weight'
Featurette-High On The Hog
Featurette-Musical Notes
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1996
Running Time 64:41 (Case: 74)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Christian Wagner
Studio
Distributor

Warner Vision
Starring Levon Helm
Garth Hudson
Rick Danko
Jim Weider
Richard Bell
Randy Ciarlante
Case Soft Brackley-Transp
RPI $39.95 Music The Band


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/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 Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, Concert audience

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

Plot Synopsis

Firstly, a confession. Prior to being allocated the task of reviewing this DVD I'd never heard of The Band and, while I'll never be a fan, I didn't find the time spent in listening to the disc a couple of times all that difficult.

This disc is a live video recording of The Band's appearance at a two day music festival at Loreley (strange, having been there, I thought it was spelt and pronounced Lorelei) in Germany during June 1996. The Band has been around for something like 30 years, with three of the original five members still doing the rounds. The blurb describes them as an American Southern rock band, but in reality they present a fusion of modern rock and traditional blues music which will appeal to a wide variety of tastes. This concert is heavily based on The Band's (then) recent album release, High On The Hog, but it also contains several traditional songs from a number of sources.

The Band's age certainly ensures one thing - the quality of musicianship on display is far better than your average modern band. This one fact alone suggests that, even if I can't compare them to other recordings, the performance presented on the video is likely to be every bit as decent as their other contemporary performances.

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

Track Listing

1. Back To Memphis
2. Stuff You Gotta Watch
3. Stage Fright
4. Remedy
5. Ophelia
6. It Makes No Difference
7. Rag Mama Rag
8. Crazy Mama
9. The Weight
10. Stand Up
11. Deep Feeling
12. Free Your Mind
13. Shape Im In
14. Rock N Roll Shoes
15. Chest Fever

Transfer Quality

Video

This material is very obviously sourced from a video master and, given the existence of a number of unpleasant artefacts and the fact that it's an American band, it was probably an NTSC master at that. This has many implications for the quality of the video transfer, but my criticisms below shouldn't be allowed to suggest that this is any worse a video sourced disc than you would see anywhere else.

The image is formatted in a standard TV 1.33:1 ratio, and is therefore not widescreen enhanced. It is presented on a single layered disc. The picture quality, being video sourced, is far from being outstanding. The fact that this was an outdoor event, with a mixture of stage lighting and ambient daylight (on an apparently overcast day), further harms the picture. On a positive note, these issues tend to add to the "live" character of the material.

As you would expect, the picture lacks sharpness in all areas. The complex of drums, microphones and cabling appears as simply a colourful mess in many of the full stage shots. However, close-ups are perfectly acceptable and deserve no criticism. Shadow detail is, like most video sourced material, poor, but there is no low level noise.

The colour palette is subdued, with most of the colour being displayed on the musicians' faces and in the stage lights - in fact the former tend to take on the hue of the latter. There is no colour bleeding except in the few cases of camera panning, when the video camera is unable to cope with the speed of the panning image. Aliasing is pretty much always on display, largely as a result of the poor resolution inherent in the video source. Cross colouration is also evident in many shots where microphones are visible (which is pretty much all the time).

In summary - this is video sourced material - slightly worse than usual because of the lack of a controlled environment.

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

Audio

The disc provides a choice of two audio tracks - 5.1 Dolby Digital or 2.0 Dolby Digital. I find it somewhat strange that we're not offered a linear PCM track for those without digital decoders, especially since I would expect the audio masters would have been recorded in something similar. I compared the two tracks directly, switching between the two to sample the same material repeatedly. I found them to be extremely similar, with both producing a wide and immersive soundstage. The 5.1 track made use of the surround channels, but at very low levels and without any attempt at corny surround effects. This latter point is to be applauded. The most noticeable difference between the two was the almost continuous presence of the LFE channel on the 5.1 track supporting the bass frequencies strongly but not overpoweringly.

I didn't notice any audio artefacts such as dropouts or clicks introduced by the recording process. However, Track 3 (Stage Fright) was marred by some significant feedback squeals on Rick Danko's vocals (in fact Rick's microphone seemed to produce these effects to a lesser extent throughout the whole concert). Otherwise the audio is clean and distinct and highlights the individual performances without difficulty.

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

Extras

Main Menu Audio & Animation

Menu animation consists of an animated "hog with attitude", complete with a delightful range of hog grunting, providing a clear link between this recorded concert and The Band's High On The Hog album.

Introduction

Presented in full frame (4:3) format. Running time is 1:10 minutes. The Introduction consists of the "exclusive DVD Video DJ" (Paul Vallis, if I'm not mistaken) reading a short intro blurb to the High On The Hog album.

Active Subtitle Track-Notes

Presented in full frame (4:3) format. Running time is 6:21 minutes. The Video DJ provides brief recorded notes on each track, accessible from an icon that appears at the beginning of each track.

Featurette-High On The Hog

Presented in full frame (4:3) format. Running time is 0:35 minutes. Provides some details of the members of The Band not present at this concert.

Featurette-On The Road Again

Presented in full frame (4:3) format. Running time is 0:50 minutes. This extra, and the following four, provide brief extracts from an interview with Levon Helm and Rick Danko at the time of the concert performance. These are hardly long enough to provide any significant information on The Band or its history.

Featurette-Music Influence

Presented in full frame (4:3) format. Running time is 0:35 minutes.

Featurette-J.J. Cale and 'Crazy Mama'

Presented in full frame (4:3) format. Running time is 0:44 minutes.

Featurette-'The Weight'

Presented in full frame (4:3) format. Running time is 0:49 minutes.

Featurette-High On The Hog

Presented in full frame (4:3) format. Running time is 0:46 minutes.

Featurette-Musical Notes

Presented in full frame (4:3) format. Running time is 6:21 minutes. These notes are simply an aggregation of the individual notes referred to above.

R4 vs R1

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

From my trolling of the Internet I believe the following comparisons are valid. The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on; The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on; The choice for a die-hard fan would have to go to the R1 version. For lesser fans the identical track listings might make the choice slightly more academic.

Summary

Coming to this disc cold, as it were, I'm in a difficult position to comment on whether this recording represents a classic performance of The Band. However, in terms of the technical characteristics of the DVD itself, I have no complaints. If The Band is your thing then I see no reason why you shouldn't give this a go.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Murray Glase (read my bio)
Monday, April 29, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDToshiba SD-K310, using S-Video output
DisplayPioneer SD-T43W1 (125cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-D906S
SpeakersRichter Wizard (front), Jamo SAT150 (rear), Yamaha YST-SW120 (subwoofer)

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