John Denver-The WILDLife Concert (1995) (NTSC)

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Released 19-Nov-1999

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Music Discography
Biographies-Cast
Notes-Fan Club Information; (About) Wildlife Conservation Society
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1995
Running Time 112:37
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (58:03) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Jeb Brien
Studio
Distributor

Sony Music
Starring John Denver
Case Soft Brackley-Transp
RPI $24.95 Music John Denver


Video (NTSC) Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Linear PCM 48/16 2.0 (1536Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 480i (NTSC)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, during

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

Plot Synopsis

    I've always been a minor fan of John Denver, but I never really knew anything about him. My appreciation of his music has been limited to his Greatest Hits which I've always thought of as being very good, with lyrics that sparked my imagination. I was therefore happy when this title came my way for review as it allowed me to expand my knowledge of the man, his music and his passions.

    My respect for John Denver grew while I was watching this DVD and researching for this review. I discovered that John Denver had two failed marriages, that he had been arrested twice for drink driving and that he had admitted to smoking marijuana. Rather than be put off by these things, my respect for him grew because he was nothing more than an ordinary bloke with an extraordinary talent and drive. Denver was very passionate about the preservation of flora and fauna as well as helping those less fortunate than himself. He co-founded many conservation and charity groups such as The Windstar Land Conservancy, The Hunger Project and Plant It 2000.

    John Denver was born Henry John Deutschendorf, Jr on the 13th December 1943 to Henry John Sr, an Air Force Pilot and Erma. As his father was in the armed forces, Denver lived in many places while he was growing up, which no doubt sparked his love of  travel and the country. In 1952 his Grandmother gave him a guitar and thus began his interest in music. Denver left college to pursue a career in music and ended up in Los Angeles where he discovered folk music. Convinced by others that his name was an obstacle to fame, John changed his surname to Denver and the rest is history.

   John Denver-The WILDlife Concert was arranged by Denver and recorded over a two day period in 1995. The performance was filmed so that it could be released for sale with the proceeds going to The Wildlife Conservation Society to aid them in their work throughout the world.

    Only two short years before his tragic death in a plane crash, we are fortunate to see Denver in fine form. He and his talented band seem very relaxed performing before a small and enthusiastic audience. Right from the first song, Eagles and Horses, I knew that I was in for a real treat. Denver is one of those genuine talents that can really, really sing. His voice has real strength, warmth and total clarity. Even though I didn't know the words to many of the songs, I could still easily hear the lyrics - such was his clarity. I'd rate this DVD as one the hidden gems that Michael recently wrote about in his review of  Kenny Loggins-Outside From The Redwoods.

    This DVD contains 24 tracks of Denver's best plus short interviews in which he discusses his love of the wilderness, some of the experiences that motivated him to write his songs, personal anecdotes and some pitches for The Wildlife Conservation Society.

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Track Listing

1. Prog Start; Intro From John Denver
2. Eagles And Horses; Country Roads
3. Back Home Again
4. The Wildlife Conservation Society
5. You Say The Battle Is Over
6. A Song For All Lovers
7. Feeling Rocky Mountain High
8. Rocky Mountain High
9. I Guess He'd Rather Be In Colorado
10. Outdoor Life
11. I'd Rather Be A Cowboy
12. For You; I'm Sorry
13. New Perspectives
14. Fly Away
15. Two Different Directions
16. Shanghai Breezes
17. Annie's Song; Images From Nature
18. Sunshine On My Shoulders
19. The Spirit Of The American West
20. Wild Montana Skies
21. Darcy Farrow
22. Poems, Prayers And Promises
23. The Harder They Fall
24. Bet On The Blues
25. Falling Out Of Love
26. What Can I Do?
27. Calypso; Resentment And Regret
28. Amazon; To Be Remembered
29. Medley: Leaving On A Jet Plane...
30. Farewell And End Credits

Transfer Quality

Video

    Please note that the video on this disc is in NTSC format. You will need to ensure that your hardware is compatible with this format before attempting to watch it.

    The transfer is not 16x9 enhanced and is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1.

    The transfer on offer here is of high quality, but cannot overcome the problems associated with being full frame NTSC video. The sharpness of this transfer is excellent with a great deal of detail visible apart from one minor sequence at 38:38-38:40 where the camera operator momentarily loses focus. Shadow detail is very good as is the black level.

    Colour saturation is excellent, with skin tones lovely and pure. The backdrop for the concert changes colour throughout. At times it is a lovely blue and then changes to strong reds, oranges and yellows. Despite these strong colours, colour bleeding was not a problem.

    There was some pixelization in the opening sequence which has footage of wild horses running through a canyon. This was obviously stock footage of lower quality and the fault was not repeated during the actual performance. I also noticed some cross-colouration problems, particularly with John Denver's guitar strings (69:49-69:52) and his guitar strap (16:08-16:13) but this fault was minor and easily ignored. The biggest problem with this transfer, however, was aliasing. It occurred frequently, especially in areas of the background. Whilst relatively minor, it could not be overlooked. The director seems to be a big fan of slow camera pans which only exaggerated this problem. Some examples of aliasing can be seen at 12:18-12:22, 37:38-37:52 and again at 38:00-38:10.

    This is an RSDL disc with the layer change occurring at 58:03 during a fade-to-black. Unfortunately, the fade occurs while John Denver is still talking and the word "world" is truncated by the change. If only they'd waited a poofteenth of a second longer!

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

Audio

     There are two audio tracks on this DVD, the default English Linear PCM 48/16 2.0 and English Dolby Digital 5.1. You should note that the packaging incorrectly refers to the LPCM track as Dolby Stereo. Both are excellent audio tracks. I listened to both and while the Linear PCM 2.0 soundtrack was very good, the DD 5.1 mix was better. This is the first time that I have experienced a Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track that is superior to the Linear PCM track on a concert DVD.

    When I first played this disc, my receiver decided that it could decode the LPCM as a surround track and dutifully pumped audio to all channels. It sounded dreadful, like the old mono am radio in my 21 year old car! I quickly switched to stereo mode and all was forgiven. This is a very good mix that is lovely and clear with a full sound stage and excellent separation. Quality all the way.

    Dialogue during the interview segments was always clear, as were the vocals. There were no audio sync problems that I could detect.

    The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix is really wonderful. A very wide front soundstage is created, with John Denver's vocals spread right across the front channels. Individual instruments are each placed within this wide front soundstage, and sometimes move as the camera pans to feature that particular performer. The rear channels are used as reverb which helps draw the sound out and away from the front somewhat. This is a more realistic technique for mixing a live performance as it more closely matches what you actually experience at a good concert venue.

    Audience noise is nicely handled in this mix. Applause is mixed in both the front and rear channels which immerses you in the concert experience without sounding phoney. This is such a good mix and such an excellent concert that after the song Amazon I, too, felt compelled to clap.

    The subwoofer supported the music beautifully. The bass was smooth and clear without being overpowering.

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

Extras

    The extras on this DVD are limited to a discography, a biography for John Denver, information on John Denver fan clubs and information about The Wildlife Conservation Society.

R4 vs R1

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

    This DVD appears to be identical to the Region 1 release.

Summary

    John Denver The Wildlife Concert is an excellent concert DVD and well worth taking a look at.

    The video quality is quite good although aliasing often occurs in the background.

    The audio quality is superb.

    Extras? Well there are some.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© John Richardson (read my bio)
Saturday, September 23, 2000
Review Equipment
DVDLoewe Xemix 5006DD, using RGB output
DisplayGrundig MW82-50/8. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVR-2801
SpeakersMains and Rears: Tannoy Mercury M1. Centre: Tannoy Mercury MC. Subwoofer: Aaton SUB-120.

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