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PLEASE NOTE: Michael D's is currently in READ ONLY MODE. Anything submitted will simply not be written to the database.
Lots of stuff is still broken, but at least reviews can now be looked up and read.
Earth, Wind & Fire-Live (1994)

Earth, Wind & Fire-Live (1994)

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Released 7-May-2002

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Music Menu Animation & Audio
Multiple Angles
Easter Egg
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1994
Running Time 60:07
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (30:06) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Allen Plone

Warner Vision
Starring Wind & Fire Earth
Case Click
RPI $34.95 Music Wind & Fire Earth

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/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 No

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

Plot Synopsis

    After decades of fantastic music and passionate performances, Earth, Wind & Fire showcase their remarkable talents as a complete group one last time. Recorded live in Japan in 1994, this DVD features charismatic front man Maurice White in his last taped performance with the group. Sadly, Maurice White has recently been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease.

    At the start of this concert, you soon discover that, even though years have passed and everyone's a little older, the band members have lost none of their vibrant spark. With some older bands (and even a few currently popular ones), we can sometimes get the idea that they may have run their race and just don't have anything left. I'm happy to say that there are no such limp performances here! With their  unique blend of soul, urban, gospel and disco, they bring each style into one cohesive mix and make it all their own. From their mid-tempo opening number September (it's nice to hear the name September in an upbeat context after the events of 9-11) to the dance-invoking disco era hit Boogie Wonderland to the bittersweet harmonies of After The Love Is Gone, this is a fine package to highlight the band's career. Almost all of their major hits are on offer here in what is a deceptively short time of 60 minutes, as the DVD seems to run for much longer.

    Other highlights are Philip Bailey fronting the band for their song Fantasy (which was made into a world-wide superhit in 1990 by Black Box), Maurice White performing on the seldom seen kalimba during Kalimba Interlude, and Philip Bailey vs The Sax in Reasons (which is something few vocalists, especially male, can do). Bassist Verdine White is amazing to watch with his exuberant on-stage antics. An absolute wild man in this concert, one can only imagine what he was like in his heyday!

    While some of the camera work on display here looks a bit amateurish (there are quite a few whip pans, zoom errors and focus problems), we are presented with a lively, energetic and fun-filled hour with one of the leading soul bands of the 70s and 80s, although the term soul might be either misleading or incomplete, as the band covers so much territory in their musical repertoire. They had their own sound that they created and can only be described as: Earth, Wind & Fire!

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Track Listing

1. September
2. Let Your Feelings Show
3. Let's Groove
4. Runnin'
5. Boogie Wonderland
6. Can't Hide Love
7. Fantasy
8. Kalimba Interlude
9. Evil
10. Shining Star
11. Keep Your Head To The Sky
12. Reasons
13. Sing A Song
14. That's The Way Of The World
15. Wouldn't Change A Thing About You
16. After The Love Is Gone
17. System Of Survival

Transfer Quality


    The quality of the transfer from the original videotape to DVD is quite good with little in the way of the usual artefacts associated with video tape. The video transfer presented here is almost flawless despite being shot in 1994.

    The transfer is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and as such, there is no 16x9 enhancement.

    The sharpness of the image is near perfect with the only problems being the limitations of the original videotape medium. Still, the image is at most times very clear and clean. There are some focus issues from time to time, but these seem to be related to the camera work and not any problems with the transfer or disc. Shadow detail is fine with black levels being well defined throughout, despite the fact that there is so much lighting on the subjects. There are a few crowd shots during the feature that display little shadow detail and poor image quality, but this can be attributed to the lack of lighting and the limitations of the videotape medium. There is no low level noise to be seen during this feature.

    There is much bright colour featured during this program with all of it seeming to be displayed quite accurately. Maurice White's bright red suit stands out as one of the most prominent colours, but the band's costumes and the stage lights also feature. At all times, the colour is natural and clear of chroma noise.

    MPEG artefacts are thankfully nowhere to be seen during this feature, and for the most part there is little in the way of video artefacts at all. There is one small glitch at 15:23 which looks to be a tracking error at the bottom of the image. It seems to have originated from the original source tape and does not distract very much as it is on screen for less than a second. There are several portions of the program that have the appearance of film with some grain being visible - some of these portions are in black and white. This seems to be a post-processing effect that has been applied by the producers and as such is not really a transfer artefact.

    There are no subtitles on this DVD.

    This is an RSDL disc with the layer change placed at 30:06 which is within Chapter 11 at the end of the song Shining Star. It is at a point where the screen has almost faded to black and while visible, it is not overly distracting.

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


    There are 2 audio tracks available on this disc, these being Dolby Digital 5.1 and Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded.

    Dialogue, or perhaps more accurately, vocal quality is absolutely spot-on throughout this feature and is always clean and understandable within the context of the song.

    Audio sync was not a issue during this program and was always perfect.

    Of course, the music is by Earth, Wind & Fire and is in a soul, funk, urban, disco, gospel and R&B style that at times defies description.

    The surround channels have been used to convey the atmosphere of the live concert. As such, they do not direct attention to themselves and act in their proper supporting role.

    Although this feature's audio tends to be fairly bright and treble-oriented, the subwoofer does reinforce the bass notes of the performers. It never attracts undue attention to itself and blends with the sound from the other 5 channels.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    We have a fairly light selection of extras here.


    After the copyright warnings and distributor's logos, we are presented with an animated menu featuring a stretched and side shifted image from the main program. The menu choices are:     The main menu plays for 30 seconds and then loops. If no selection is made after the menu loops for the second time, the disc defaults to Start Program. The audio for the main menu is Dolby Digital 2.0. There is no 16x9 enhancement and the menu is full frame.

    The Audio Selection offers you the choice of Dolby Digital 5.1 and Dolby Digital 2.0. This menu is silent and there is no 16x9 enhancement.

Song Index

    This menu offers you a list of the songs presented on this disc. There are 18 selections on offer including the main title sequence and the end title sequence. Also presented are the instructions for the multi-angle feature on offer with this title. This is an animated menu with audio as featured during the main program which is in Dolby Digital 2.0. This menu loops every 30 seconds and will continue to loop if no selection is made. The menu is full frame, non 16x9 enhanced.

Band Interviews

    There are 4 interviews here with band members Maurice White, Philip Bailey, Verdine White, and Ralph Johnson. They are presented with the questions at the left of the screen and with a stylised TV graphic at the right of the screen. When a question is highlighted, the interview is played in the TV graphic, which is about 1/3 of the total screen space. There are 4 to 5 questions for each of the band members and the total running time of all interviews in this feature is 10:49. Of particular irritation to this reviewer is the inability to select Play Total Interview. You must select a new question in order to progress through the interviews. Irritating and time consuming.

Mulit-Angle Sequences

     There are 4 multi-angle sequences available on this disc. These are at 5:25, 11:05, 17:10 and 21:27 with each segment offering you 3 angles for a duration of 10 seconds each. While it is nice to use the seldom pressed angle button on the DVD player's remote, this feature is of nothing more than novelty value as the images you have to view are on screen for such a short time.

Easter Egg

    There is a hidden track located within the menus of this title. If you select the Song Index menu and then press the right key on your remote, you will be taken to a page entitled Bonus Song: Sunday Morning. Select Play Song and you will be treated to an additional song from the featured concert. The Audio for this feature is Dolby Digital 5.1 and like the rest of the main program, is full frame and non 16x9 enhanced. This feature runs for 2:48.

R4 vs R1

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

  This title has been released in R1 in exactly the form that we have here. Other than the R1 being offered in NTSC and region coded R1, there is no difference between the two versions. Our PAL transfer and the cost of the local version would make the R4 the disc of choice.



    We have here the final taped concert with Maurice White fronting the band he made famous. It is a real joy to have it presented in such a quality fashion. This is an absolute must-have for any Earth, Wind & Fire fan to whom this reviewer would highly recommend it. A fine performance from an accomplished band.

    The video quality is first rate with a very clean transfer to DVD.

    The audio is a good live performance with a workable though bright and treble-oriented Dolby Digital 5.1 mix.

    The extras are adequate, though not over abundant. The Easter Egg is a nice surprise.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Sean Bradford (There is no bio.)
Saturday, May 11, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDPanasonic A300-MU, using S-Video output
DisplayHitachi CP-L750W LCD Projector. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationYamaha RX-V2090
SpeakersVAF DC-X fronts; VAF DC-6 center; VAF DC-2 rears; LFE-07subwoofer (80W X 2)

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