James-Getting Away with It...Live (2002)

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Released 15-Jul-2002

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Music Booklet
Menu Animation & Audio
Featurette-Story
Music Video-She's A Star
Music Video-Say Something
Music Video-Laid
Active Subtitle Track-Links To Documentary Clips
Rating Rated E
Year Of Production 2002
Running Time 111:00 (Case: 165)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Dick Carruthers
Studio
Distributor

Warner Vision
Starring Tim Booth
Saul Davies
Mark Hunter
Dave Baynton-Power
Michael Kulas
Jim Glennie
Adrian Oxaal
Larry Gott
Andy Diagram
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $39.95 Music James


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

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

Plot Synopsis

    Every now and then you get a disc to review that proves to be an absolute gem. One that leaves you wondering how you could have otherwise missed it had it not popped up for review. Such is the case with this absolutely superb concert disc from Manchester outfit James. It is not only the quality of the disc that astounds me, as it has surely been produced to the highest quality, but also the highly enjoyable and energy packed show that the band stages. This is just about as good as a music DVD can surely get.

    James has really not experienced much success in this country and apart from the song Laid which copped a fair bit of mainstream airplay several years ago have found local radio stations just not willing to play their stuff. This is a real shame and we are all so much poorer for it. James' songs are among those tunes that despite not being instantly recognisable to all, are instantly likeable. They have you tapping along from the opening chord and force you to join in. To call them anthems is particularly apt for this show, as all the punters raise their voices and join in on almost all tracks. Songs such as Say Something, She's A Star, Sit Down, Come Home, and Sometimes sound wondrous in the live stage mode. The band interact so well with the audience as well. Lead singer Tim Booth pops up in the crowd a couple of times, and there is plenty of idle chat between the band members and the audience. There's even a couple of equipment breakdowns and feedback problems that allow the band to show their ad-lib capabilities and have a further joke or two. This really adds to the enjoyment of the show.

    Filmed at the Manchester Arena on 7 December, 2001 this was essentially the final gig for the band in their hometown in their current incarnation, as lead singer and the man with the very distinctive voice, Tim Booth, was set to leave. The band featured a seven member lineup at the time, and they are also joined on stage for several songs by original members Andy Diagram on trumpet and Larry Gott on guitar. The latter is a classic story. Apparently Larry started out as a music teacher to two of the original members and eventually joined the band. At the time of this concert he was basically an amateur muso who hadn't played guitar for several months. And here he was in front of 16,000 paying punters in one of the biggest shows of the year. Classic stuff.

    The concert runs for a little under two hours, but thankfully that isn't the end of the material on the disc. In addition to three very good music videos we get a forty odd minute doco style feature about the band that details how they started with nicked instruments and very little talent.

    I hate to sound like Ian 'Molly' Meldrum, but seriously, do yourself a favour, invest thirty odd bucks, and have a look and a listen to how all music DVDs should be made and how every band wishes they sounded live. You'll love every minute of this.

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

Track Listing

1. Say Something
2. Waltzing Along
3. Laid
4. God Only Knows
5. Someone's Got It In For Me
6. Vervaceous
7. Protect Me
8. Out To Get You
9. Johnny Yen
10. Getting Away With It
11. Tomorrow
12. Born Of Frustration
13. Ring The Bells
14. Top Of The World
15. Sound
16. Space
17. She's A Star
18. Come Home
19. Sit Down

Transfer Quality

Video

    This is a superb video transfer, it is near on faultless - a somewhat rare occurrence for a concert disc. The only real negative that I can highlight is the lack of time code and track number information on the main concert. Very strange, though all the songs can be selected either via the menu or as individual chapter stops throughout the show. You just don't know what the elapsed time is or which track number you are playing, which can become a little annoying.

    We're greeted with an aspect ratio of 1.78:1. It is also 16x9 enhanced. This would appear to be the intended aspect.

    This is nicely detailed and sharp throughout. Not quite as sharp as a reference quality film, but certainly just about the best concert footage I have seen. There are no problems with shadow detail. Grain is barely present and there is no low level noise. Colours often suffer in concerts, but thankfully this transfer handles all the intense shades with aplomb. Vivid blues, reds, greens, multi-coloured swirls and bright white light on occasion are all rendered evenly with no hint of over saturation. There is some mild posterization on a couple of the crowd shots, but these are quite fleeting and almost unnoticeable.

    There are no MPEG artefacts. Some mild shimmer pops up on a couple of surfaces but is so minor its barely worth mentioning. There is what appears to be minor halo effect when the red stage lighting is used on the band members, though this again is very minor and no way detracts from the viewing. Video artefacts are noticeable in their absence.

    There are subtitle options available (including the active subtitle stream - see extras section). I love subtitles in concerts, and this one gave me the opportunity to turn on the English variety and have a good old sing-along.

    This is a dual layered disc with RSDL formatting. The layer change occurs between the tracks Ring The Bells and Top Of The World, and despite being quite obvious is about the best place for it.

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

Audio

    The stunning video is matched by a couple of excellent audio soundtracks.

    There is a choice of two audio tracks on this disc. A rather good Dolby Digital 5.1 track encoded at the higher bitrate of 448 kb/s is joined by a Linear PCM 48/16 2.0 soundtrack. Both tracks are top shelf, make no mistake about it. I listened in total to the Dolby Digital 5.1 track and sampled the PCM track on three or four of my favourite songs. Separation of instruments and vocals across all channels is very much in evidence and all are delivered with gusto and clear, clean power. This track really does rock.

    The vocals are certainly amazing, packing a real punch. The distinctness of Tim Booth's voice plays a big part here, but the crowd singing along is also a highlight on occasions.

    There is almost constant surround channel use, and it is presented in a manner that provides for a superb enveloping experience.

    The subwoofer kicks along all show long. It adds a real oomph to the bottom end without being glaringly obvious. This would be the best concert subwoofer use I have heard without it going over the top (which seems to happen often). Constant but seamlessly integrated.

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

Extras

Booklet

    A six page booklet that has a couple of colour photos and some paragraphs from the two of the lads on what the last show in Manchester meant to them.

Menu Animation & Audio

    Several randomly selected snips of interviews and other quick sound grabs from the band are placed between menu transitions. They can be turned on or off via the system setup menu. Thankfully.

Featurette - The Story (43:43)

    This is a rather substantial featurette and covers pretty much the whole history of the band in their own words. All the band make an appearance, as well as production guru Brian Eno, who produced one of the band's albums. Insightful, funny, and well worth a look.

Music Video - She's A Star (3:44)   

    This is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1. It is not 16x9 enhanced. Audio is provided by a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack. English subtitles are also available. Filmed in Black and White, the quality is rather good.

Music Video - Say Something (3:14)

    This is presented in the full screen aspect ratio of 1.33:1. It is also not 16x9 enhanced. Audio is again provided by a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack. English subtitles are also available for this video.

Music Video - Laid (2:45)

    This is presented in the full screen aspect ratio of 1.33:1. It is also not 16x9 enhanced. Audio is also provided by a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack. This must be the sanitised version of the song (unless someone can tell me otherwise) as the line 'she only comes when she's on top' is played as 'she only sings when she's on top'.

Active Subtitle Track

    Switch this subtitle track on and throughout the concert whenever the small James flower logo appears in the top right hand corner of the screen, you can hit the ENTER key on your remote and you divert off to the particular section of The Story Featurette that highlights the song you are listening to. I prefer to watch the concert proper and then watch the doco, but you may like to do it the other way.

R4 vs R1

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

    This disc is coded for Regions 2 to 6, and from the information I can find it is not currently available in Region 1. It would be difficult to imagine the Region 1 disc bettering this one for quality though. Pick up the local product would be my suggestion.

Summary

    Fans will no doubt already own this one. It's been out for a little while and would be a difficult-to-ignore item on the shelves. For the rest of us, this concert and DVD package exhibits all that is great about the medium. If you want to add another title to those handful of reference music/concert discs then this is the one. It will quite happily sit in my collection alongside The Eagles Hell Freezes Over, Sting - All This Time, and The Bee Gees - One Night Only as the best music titles I own.

    The video is exceptional. Possibly the best concert video transfer I have seen.

    The audio is also near reference quality, with plenty of surround use and plenty of dynamic range.

    The extras are plentiful and of the highest quality.

    This disc cannot come more highly recommend. So just SIT DOWN and enjoy!

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Darren Walters (It's . . . just the vibe . . . of my bio)
Saturday, October 05, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDLoewe Xemix 5106DO, 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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