Neil Young-Red Rocks Live (2000)

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Released 5-Mar-2001

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Music Main Menu Audio
DVD-ROM Extras-Web Link, Wallpaper, Screensaver
Gallery-Photo
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 2000
Running Time 120:57 (Case: 122)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (58:27) Cast & Crew
Start Up Programme
Region Coding 2,3,4,5,6 Directed By L.A. Johnson
Studio
Distributor

Warner Vision
Starring Neil Young
Ben Keith
Spooner Oldham
Donald "Duck" Dunn
Jim Keltner
Astrid Young
Pegi Young
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $39.95 Music Neil Young


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Linear PCM 48/16 2.0 (1536Kb/s)
English dts 5.1
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio Unknown Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Neil Young, if nothing else, has demonstrated an amazing longevity, now entering his fifth decade of recording and performing. Coming to prominence in the late sixties with his band Buffalo Springfield, he was a pioneer of folk/rock/country music. Moving in and out of various bands (including Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young and Crazy Horse) as well as recording a number of solo albums, he is still a legend of his genre, and continues to sell numerous albums and sell out numerous shows as his fan base continues to grow.

    I myself have only become a fan of his work relatively recently, so I was looking forward to the prospect of checking out a live show in the next best way to being there: on a dts encoded DVD. Recorded over two nights (September 19 and 20, 2000) at Red Rocks, Colorado, the set list contained a number of songs that were unfamiliar to me, as well as a few that I know well.

    As usual, Neil Young has surrounded himself with some excellent musicians (including his wife and sister on backing vocals). They move through the set list (which is something of a walk-through of his career) as if they had been doing it with him from the beginning, despite the interruption of howling winds and torrential rain. Each is excellent on their particular instrument, in particular pedal steel player Ben Keith (who unfortunately isn't really featured at all in the footage), and together they put on an excellent showcase of themselves and the songs of a great singer/songwriter.

    This DVD is thus essential viewing for any fans of Neil Young, and would also be good for anyone that has been curious to give him a listen to see what the fuss has been all about.

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Track Listing

1. Intro
2. Motorcycle Mama
3. Powderfinger
4. Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere
5. I Believe In You
6. Unknown Legend
7. Fool For Your Love
8. Buffalo Springfield Again
9. Razor Love
10. Daddy Went Walkin'
11. Peace Of Mind
12. Walk On
13. Winterlong
14. Bad Fog Of Lonliness
15. Words
16. Harvest Moon
17. World On A String
18. Tonight's The Night
19. Cowgirl In The Sand
20. Credits
21. Mellow My Mind

Transfer Quality

Video

    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, and features 16x9 enhancement.

     I was impressed at the level of sharpness on display: this is probably as good as I have ever seen a video source turn up on DVD. There was no low level noise to be seen, and shadow detail was very good bearing in mind the extremely stark nature of stage lighting. The only time that I noticed a little grain was in the opening scene where the cameras follow some patrons along a dark pathway to the concert venue.

    The representation of the colour palette was only limited by the video medium upon which the concert was recorded. Although the colours weren't as warm as film would have been, they were still represented well, and as with the transfer overall, this aspect was as good as I've seen any video transfer to DVD.

    Impressively, I spotted no MPEG artefacts or film artefacts whatsoever: the dual layer formatting allowed a healthy video bitrate despite the presence of the three sound tracks. There were, though, some mild instances of film to video artefacts, namely some aliasing. This occurred on the bass guitar strings (5:56, 22:30, 33:00, 44:35) on the xylophone (13:14, 30:00, 56:55) on the keyboard (13:34) and on a guitar (50:49, 52:14).

    This DVD is RSDLformatted, with the layer change placed between Chapters 12 and 13 at 58:27. It is placed between songs, and thus is hardly distracting to the flow of the concert.

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

Audio

    There is not only one, but three excellent audio tracks on this DVD. I listened to the dts track in its entirety, as well as significant portions of (the default) Dolby Digital 5.1 and Linear PCM tracks.

    The first thing to note was that I didn't detect any specific defects in any of the tracks, and audio sync was not a problem. I thought that I detected some problems, but with some investigation I realized that this was the effect of the wind and rain which buffeted the stage, particularly towards the end of the set.

    The Linear PCM 48/16 2.0 track displayed excellent clarity, and a nice, wide soundstage. The sound was full and rich, and exceeded the quality of any CD recording I've heard through my system, live or otherwise. There was no action from the surrounds or the subwoofer with this track, but as I've said, the sound was nonetheless rich and full, and the absence of the subwoofer went almost unnoticed by me.

    The first thing that struck me about the default Dolby Digital 5.1 track was that it was a little duller than the Linear PCM track. The surrounds were employed mainly for crowd sounds, and a little echo of the music, as well as for a little more from the backing singers. One problem, though, was the use of the subwoofer to enhance the bass. It sounded a little unnatural: this was especially so with the bass drum, which seemed to thud a little too loudly for my liking. Overall, it probably enhanced the viewing experience by making it more enveloping, but from a pure sound quality perspective, the Linear PCM track is preferred.

    For me, the dts track provided the best of both worlds. Firstly, it restored the brightness of the Linear  PCM track that was lacking in the Dolby Digital 5.1 track. Secondly, the bass wasn't as thumping, but rather, it was crisp and smooth, and more tightly integrated with the balance of the sound. And thirdly, the sounds emanating from the surrounds were a little more natural than the straight echo from the Dolby Digital 5.1. As would occur if the viewer was there, the reflected sounds emphasized the upper frequencies a little more than the lower, resulting in a more enveloping experience. There was not a huge difference between the Dolby Digital 5.1 and dts tracks, but it was nonetheless quite noticeable, and hence significant.

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

Extras

    At least there's something here, which is more than most concert DVDs, however I always lament a lack of discography and biographical details.

Menu

    The menu features a brief animated intro, and consists of a collage of photographs with crowd cheering sounds played in Dolby Digital 2.0. It is 16x9 enhanced.

Photo Gallery

DVD ROM Features

    Here, there is a link to the official website, as well as a couple of desktop backgrounds (suited for various resolutions) and a screen saver, using the PC (un)Friendly interface.

R4 vs R1

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

    The Region 1 release appears to be identically featured to the Region 4 version, so my vote goes to the local version on the basis of the superior PAL formatting as opposed to the NTSC formatting of the Region 1 release.

Summary

    This is an excellent DVD, sure to be of interest to Neil Young fans. Some extras are better than the usual nothing on these types of releases, but I was more than impressed with the video quality. Although the Dolby Digital 5.1 track was a little disappointing, the Linear PCM and dts tracks more than made up for this.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Anthony Curulli (read my bio)
Thursday, April 26, 2001
Review Equipment
DVDToshiba 2109, using S-Video output
DisplaySony Trinitron Wega (80cm). Calibrated with AVIA Guide To Home Theatre. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with AVIA Guide To Home Theatre.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-D608
SpeakersFront: Yamaha NS10M, Rear: Wharfedale Diamond 7.1, Center: Wharfedale Sapphire, Sub: Aaron 120W

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DVD Net - Paul D (read my bio here or check out my music at MP3.com.)

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