Lou Reed-A Night with Lou Reed (1983)
|Category||Music||Subtitle Commentary-Minimal info on each song|
|Year Of Production||1983|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Clarke Santee|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||English Dolby Digital 2.0 (384Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.33:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||Yes, Backstage footage of the band during credits|
The style of the set is best described as raw. No special effects or girlie backing vocals here - just a plain old 4 piece band playing good ol' alternative rock. Herbie Flower's dual, opposing bass-lines on Walk On The Wild Side is replaced by a simpler, yet pleasing, arrangement by Fernando Saunders. Varied guitar tone and style is achieved by swapping and changing Strats and we are treated to a How-I-Do-Feedback lesson by Lou on Kill Your Sons (40:25). The 13 songs cover a 15 year span from 7 albums starting with rock'n'roll from The Velvet Underground and Nico (1967) to the current (at the time!) Martial Law and Don't Talk To Me About Work from Legendary Hearts (1983).
This is a vintage performance from the Godfather of punk and alternative rock and the antithesis of most modern popular music production. It represents a return to live performance after 2 years off the road. Lou Reed was in fine form and looked like he was enjoying a triumphant return to his club roots in Greenwich Village. The adulating crowd included Andy Warhol, and Adam Ant was also mingled in there (though I'm not sure I'd recognise him without the make-up!). You can also explain to your kids the memories of club cigarette-smoke haze as, in these politically correct times, we're unlikely to see tobacco-enhanced public performances ever again!
|1. Sweet Jane|
2. I'm Waiting For The Man
3. Martial Law
4. Don't Talk To Me About Work
6. Waves Of Fear
7. Walk On The Wild Side
|8. Turn Out The Lights|
9. New Age
10. Kill Your SOns
11. Satellite Of Love
12. White Light / White Heat
13. Rock 'n ' Roll
The video transfer was quite good considering its age and is a testament to the enduring qualities of video as opposed to film archiving.
The transfer is presented in its original 1.33:1 ratio and is thus not 16 x 9 enhanced.
The whole video is beset by soft focus and slightly jerky action; probably a legacy of its NTSC origins. The set was pretty gloomily lit and shadow detail was limited, but there is no significant low level noise.
Lou's skin colours were accurately rendered in the spotlight, but due to the minimalist lighting, the rest of the band and audience were largely drowned out in the blue-red, brothel-style lighting so much loved by lighting techs of the 80s.
There was mild posterization of Lou's facial features as highlighted by the spotlight but aliasing was pretty well absent which is a credit to the transfer. The feature was shot in video and so there are no film artefacts; fortunately there aren't any signs of analogue video tape defects.
There aren't subtitles, as such, but enabling the feature provides a caption to the beginning of each song with its title, origin and author.
The disc is a single layer DVD-5 and hence has no layer transition point.
Just the one track available, in strictly stereo Dolby Digital 2.0 recorded in 48/24 at 384 kbps.
Dialogue was reasonably easy to discern despite lapses of microphone technique and subsequent processing. Subtitles of the lyrics would have been good as most of Lou Reed's songs stand alone as poetry without the music.
There were no problems with audio synch.
As this was Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo there was no use made of centre, surround or subwoofers. Stereo imaging was good, even with just the two channels, with no difficulty in locating the source of instruments on the soundstage.
|Surround Channel Use|
Extras were conspicuous by their absence - this is a straight transfer of a TV special, from the Madman stable. Those interested in more background information are recommended to check out the Classic Albums feature on Transformer.
1.33:1 static selection of chapter, random play with or without captions.
Single sentence title of song, author, source album and date of release.
The only apparent difference between the R1 and R4 is that the R1 version is listed with a PCM stereo, rather than Dolby Digital, soundtrack. If this is correct the PCM version may be slightly superior due to its higher bitrate.
The video quality is suitably good for the occasion.
The audio quality is good, though of the bare-bones two channel variety.
The extras are just about non-existent. Sourcing and authoring DVD extras is a time consuming and expensive business and publishing houses have to judge the equation between quality and quantity of material. I am very happy to see a rare and decent live recording of Lou Reed made available at all, but think that with an artist of his stature and importance at least a discography and bio could have been included - for now the Classic Album mentioned above makes a good companion disc.
|DVD||Toshiba SD-900E, using RGB output|
|Display||Pioneer SD-T50W1 (127cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Naim AV2. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Amplification||Theta Digital Intrepid|
|Speakers||ML Aeon front. B&W LRC6 Centre. ML Script rear. REL Strata III SW.|