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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.
Electric Light Orchestra-'Out of the Blue' Tour: Live at Wembley/Discovery (1979)

Electric Light Orchestra-'Out of the Blue' Tour: Live at Wembley/Discovery (1979)

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Released 10-Apr-2002

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Music None
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1979
Running Time 104:33
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Programme
Region Coding 4 Directed By Mike Mansfield

Umbrella Entertainment
Starring Jeff Lynne
Bev Bevan
Richard Tandy
Case Click
RPI $29.95 Music Jeff Lynne

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (384Kb/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 No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    This is the second disc featuring the Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) that I have reviewed. The other disc was the very good and extremely high quality ELO-Zoom concert recorded in 2001 in Los Angeles. That performance was supposed to be the opener for the Zoom tour, but when the tour was cancelled due to poor ticket sales, the TV performance was all that remained. No such problems with the punters rolling up for this concert. Held in 1978, when the band was one of the most popular groups in the world, it was held at Wembley Stadium, London in front of a rather large crowd.

      ELO are arguably the biggest musical name to emanate from Birmingham, England (though I do know a fellow reviewer who would argue the same title for Black Sabbath). Let's say that they are probably the most commercially successful mainstream band to come from the area. They were also one of the most unique sounding British groups from the 1970s and early 1980s. One time Traveling Wilbury and then front-man Jeff Lynne combined rock/pop instruments (guitar, keyboards, drums) with orchestral instruments (such as cellos and violins) to forge a distinct sound and hugely catchy sound. I have many memories of ELO songs while I was growing up. My parents had copies of the huge selling 70s albums A New World Record, Out Of the Blue, and Discovery playing continuously in the car and at home. Songs such as Rockaria!, Tightrope, Telephone Line, Don't Bring Me Down, Turn To Stone, and Livin' Thing were all big hits for the band, are instantly recognizable and to this day still figure prominently on radio playlists.

    Filmed at what was probably the pinnacle of their career, this concert was recorded in June 1978 at Wembley Stadium, and was part of the Out Of The Blue tour promoting the album of the same name. It is a Royal Gala Performance in the presence of the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester (not exactly sure who they were - minor Royals by the looks of things). The band is introduced to the stage by actor Tony Curtis. The stage set was the iconic and massive replica spaceship, complete with jets and flashing lights. It was apparently a rather large fibreglass and aluminium setup, whose top section lifted up at the start of the show to reveal the band. They apparently didn't really like playing in it, as it often caused massive reverberation and echo when closed, and restricted much movement. The band had a number of line-up changes during their career. This time round saw the ever-present Jeff Lynne joined by Bev Bevan on drums, Kelly Groucutt on bass and vocals, Richard Tandy on keyboards, Mik Kaminski on violin, and Hugh McDowell and Mervyn Gale on cello.

    Now, this is a disc that features two distinct parts. Firstly we get the concert footage from the Gala Performance. This was obviously filmed for television, and as such runs for only 60 minutes. To make the disc better value it also contains the nine music videos for the songs that featured on the band's 1979 album Discovery. They are sort of an extra I guess, but really don't qualify as they are added into the running time on the back cover of the disc, and with the concert only running for 61 minutes, are somewhat needed material. I actually enjoyed the videos more than the concert, mainly because the video quality is marginally better.

    I've listed all the tracks here for completeness. The first thirteen tracks are for the concert and the last nine are the Discovery videos. Note there is an error on the packaging. The inside jacket cover lists Ma Ma Ma Belle as Chapter 12. It is in fact Do Ya!

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

Track Listing

1. Standing In The Rain
2. Night In The City
3. Turn To Stone
4. Tightrope
5. Telephone Line
6. Rockaria!
7. Wild West Hero
8. Showdown
9. Sweet Talkin' Woman
10. Mr Blue Sky
11. Do Ya
12. Livin' Thing
13. Roll Over Beethoven
14. Shine a Little Love
15. Confusion
16. Need Her Love
17. Diary Of Horace Wimp
18. Last Train To London
19. Midnight Blue
20. On The Run
21. Wishing
22. Don't Bring Me Down

Transfer Quality


    I know that the source material is over twenty four years old and was originally filmed for television, but I was very disappointed with the overall quality on offer here. It really does look like a five year old VHS cassette that has been played several hundred times.

    The transfer presented in the full-screen aspect ratio of 1.33:1. 16x9 enhancement is, naturally enough, not a consideration. The back cover lists a special DVD feature of being able to play this disc without a television and thereby listen to it just like a normal CD. This will certainly be my preferred option in the future when I use this disc again as the video on offer is really quite uninspiring.

    The transfer is very soft and very hazy, with many shots particularly out of focus. Shadow detail is really quite bad most of the time, and appalling at specific times - whenever the long-shot camera is used to show the band on stage you can barely see anything other than a few lights. There are some real grain problems throughout, most notably when the intense light shines on the band and instruments. Thankfully, there is no low level noise.

    Colours are real mixed bag. Intense lighting plays the usual havoc with the image, and there are plenty of cases of oversaturation and chroma noise. Not the greatest or clearest range of colours I have seen with a ghastly pale red dominating the overall palette.

    There are problems with compression, with an overall blockiness to many of the shots. There are a couple of specific problems, most noticeably at 1:57-1:59 when Tony Curtis is introducing the band (his whole head breaks up momentarily - I think it wasn't natural!) and at 51:29 where the whole picture does a quick jig. Video artefacts are dominated by plenty of composite video artefacts evident in many shots.

    Somewhat surprisingly there is a set of subtitles available. Present for the concert only, they are nonetheless quite welcome if you wish to sing along and are not familiar with all the words.

    This is a single layered disc only so there is no layer change to contend with.

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


    Coupled with the hazy picture is a bland, uninspiring, and awful soundtrack. It is so uninspiring that I ditched listening to the digital bitstream track via my receiver and listened to the plain old analogue audio outputs of the DVD player instead.

    There is only one audio track available. It is rather surprisingly a Dolby Digital 2.0 track with the surround flag set. There is almost no discernable left/right separation with almost all music and lyrics coming from the centre channel. There is also a reasonable dose of tape hiss for much of the performance that is quite noticeable.

    The lyrics are pretty muddy, though are mostly intelligible - the opening and closing scenes where the band greets the royals are the exception, being almost inaudible (and quite worthless as a result). There are no audio sync issues.

    The music is of course why we purchase this disc. Most of ELO's signature tunes are featured and fans are well catered for.

    I detected no surround channel use. The subwoofer also had nothing to do.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    There are no extras, unless you count the videos from the Discovery album as such.

R4 vs R1

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

    From the information I can gather, this disc is available in Region 1, but it is distributed by Image Entertainment ( From the information on their website, the content is exactly the same, but the audio also contains a PCM stereo track. Now, judging by the reviews I can find online, the video transfer is pretty much the same as the Region 4 disc, but the audio does sound superior (but by how much I can't tell). If you only have a passing interest in the band, then the R4 disc would probably suffice. For a real fan, I would imagine that the inclusion of the PCM track would be quite attractive, given the relatively poor quality of the Dolby Digital 2.0 track on the Region 4 disc.


    I can really only recommend this disc to fans only. If you want a collection of ELO's greatest songs, then the recent ELO-Zoom concert disc is excellent, and absolutely blows this disc out of the water. From a nostalgia perspective, this may be a good buy, but the quality of both audio and video is substandard. There are also no extras.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Darren Walters (It's . . . just the vibe . . . of my bio)
Thursday, July 11, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDLoewe Xemix 5006DD, using RGB output
DisplayLoewe Calida (84cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationHarmon/Kardon AVR7000.
SpeakersFront - B&W 602S2, Centre - B&W CC6S2, Rear - B&W 601S2, Sub - Energy E:xl S10

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