Party at the Palace: The Queen's Concerts, Buckingham Palace (2002)
Menu Animation & Audio
Featurette-Fireworks Display (4:16)
|Year Of Production||2002|
|Running Time||175:25 (Case: 180)|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (89:53)||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||1,2,3,4,5,6||Directed By||Geoff Posner|
Select Audio-Visual Distrib
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English Dolby Digital 2.0 (256Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.78:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||Yes, during credits|
Having any sort of anniversary is a fine excuse for a party, but when the celebratee is Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II... well, the party takes on a slightly different flavour. More especially so when it is a celebration of fifty years on the throne. Not too many monarchs make that number, so why not celebrate? So celebrate they did - with two concerts: one for the masses being the subject of this DVD, with the other being slightly more highbrow and being the subject of a shortly to be reviewed DVD.
Party At The Palace: The Queen's Concerts, Buckingham Palace presents nearly three hours of popular music covering music from both sides of the Atlantic between the 1960's and now. The usual collection of 1960's, 1970's and 1980's rockers get dragged out to meet the more recent 1990's and 2000's acts, which really are not in the same category. The artist list is long and fairly distinguished, the venue could hardly be more unusual and distinguished, whilst the guest list was also fairly well distinguished: Prince Charles, Prince William, Prince Andrew, Prince Harry, Prince Edward, Prince Philip (is this the founding membership of the Prince fan club?) and a bunch of others, including Her Majesty.
Whilst there is the usual sense of formality as befits a royal presence, this remains a reasonably enjoyable concert in the broader sense. It would have been nicer if there were fewer acts and more songs from each, but you could hardly call this disappointing. The full track listing is as follows:
Stand outs? Well, none more so than Atomic Kitten, most especially for Jenny Frost doing her best to boost the rating of the show from G to M. An obviously-not-well Brian Wilson doing a stand up Ronald Reagan impersonation, albeit unintentionally. Ozzy Osbourne looking like he was not on this planet but somewhere else - this is obviously not his sort of gig. Lowlights are easier to note: Blue desperately destroying a classic song through a complete lack of talent, Mis-Teeq for proving that all you need to succeed in music nowadays is to look good, Queen for proving why we miss Freddie Mercury so much, Sir Elton John for that hair cut....
Decent enough concert experience, but if you saw it on television I am not so sure that you will be that eager to watch it again and again on DVD.
Whatever qualms the concert might create, the video transfer presents none other than those that can be condensed into a single word: aliasing.
The concert is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and it is 16x9 enhanced.
Since there is only the one issue with the transfer, it may as well be gotten out of the way straight away. Aliasing is it. Indeed, after recording nine instances in the first two minutes of the show, I simply gave up recording the problem any more. Suffice to say that it is constantly present throughout the show, and at times very annoyingly so. The worst culprit is the camera dolly track in front of the stage - the moment that comes into the scene, you cannot miss the aliasing. It is by no means the only problem. Shoulders tend to alias, along with various portions of the stage. I found the whole problem way too noticeable and it did really restrict the enjoyment of the show.
Beyond that there is really nothing wrong with the transfer. Wonderfully sharp and detailed, with plenty of shadow detail where required, very clear with no grain issues at all and with a complete lack of any other issues such as MPEG artefacts, film-to-video artefacts and film artefacts. Were it not for the aliasing issue, this would be close to reference quality.
It has been a while since I have really had the chance to check out a good quality recent transfer so the immediate thing I noticed after the aliasing was how good the colour was here. Superbly vibrant, wonderfully saturated and looking like a million pounds. There is nothing at all wrong with the colour, other than those associated with intense stage lighting as is usual for any concert video.
This is an RSDL formatted DVD with the layer change rather obviously coming at 89:53. Obvious as it comes during some dialogue between songs, which is noticeably interrupted. This is not an unusual problem for concert DVDs even if it is a tad abrupt.
There are three subtitle options on the DVD, but these do not include an English option. This seems rather odd and will not impress our hearing impaired readers.
You might get the impression from the back cover that there are two soundtracks on the DVD. In fact there is just the one soundtrack on offer: an English Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.
There is nothing wrong with the vocals here, which come up pretty well in the soundtrack and are easy to understand. There are moments here and there where the vocals are not quite so easy to hear, but these are most likely the result of problems with the source recording. There did not appear to be any issue with audio sync in the transfer.
There is obviously a wildly disparate collection of music on offer here, most of which would be well known in general. The soundtrack does a sterling job of bringing the music to life, albeit with something only slightly removed from being a straight 2.0 soundtrack. There is really just a smidgen of activity in the rear surround channels, otherwise this is very much a frontally based soundscape. Not that there is anything wrong with the soundtrack as is, but really a nice 5.1 effort would not have gone astray.
|Surround Channel Use|
Not a whole heap here, but then again I guess that there is not exactly a huge amount of space on the disc after a 176 minute programme.
Suitably regal looking - nothing flashy but quite stylish, with very modest audio and animation enhancement.
Hardly qualifying for the title really, being just a folded piece of paper with a few photographs of Her Majesty and a track listing.
After the show there was a fairly impressive fireworks display thrown on for good measure. We get to see a little of this as recorded by the BBC cameras. The presentation is the same as for the main programme.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
While I have not located a Region 1 review, I would suspect that there would be little difference between the two versions.
As an inevitable record of a "big event", the DVD does not really offer us much more than a record of the concert. That is no bad thing I guess but it really would have aided the whole deal if the aliasing had been controlled somewhat better. It is not the worst I have ever seen but after nearly three hours of being unable to avoid noticing it, grating is hardly the word I would use for the issue.
|DVD||Denon DVD-1600, using S-Video output|
|Display||Sony Trinitron Wega (80cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Energy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right C-2; rears EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL|