Etta James and the Roots Band-Burnin' Down the House (2001)

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Released 11-Sep-2002

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Music Main Menu Audio
Rating Rated E
Year Of Production 2001
Running Time 91:23 (Case: 90)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (62:09) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Daniel E Catullo III
Studio
Distributor

Warner Vision
Starring Etta James
Case Click
RPI $34.95 Music None Given


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English dts 5.1 (1536Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (256Kb/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 None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    One of the all-time legendary female R&B artists, Etta James has been belting out the Blues longer than most of us have been alive. From the early 1950s when she was 'discovered' by Johnny Otis, with whom she co-wrote and recorded The Wallflower (which became an R&B chart Number 2 hit), she has had a string of successful blues hit songs. This culminated in her induction into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame in 1993.

    For this show, recorded last year at The House Of Blues in Los Angeles, Etta James effortlessly switches between blues, rock 'n' roll, and jazz with ease. Classic songs such as Take Me To The River and You Can Leave Your Hat On are covered, in addition to some classics of her own, such as I'd Rather Go Blind and her signature tune At Last. A large and varied twelve-piece band accompanies her, though the focus on them is quite minimal as Etta takes centre stage, sitting for the duration of the show. The band is accomplished, impressive and apparently features two of Etta's sons in the line-up.

    The following songs are performed in this ninety-minute concert:

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Track Listing

1. Come To Mama
2. I Just Want To Make Love To You
3. Born To Be Wild
4. I'd Rather Go Blind
5. All The Way Down
6. Breaking Up Somebody's Home
7. At Last
8. You Can Leave Your Hat On
9. Something's Got A Hold On Me
10. Your Good Thing Is About To End
11. Rock Me Baby
12. Love & Happiness
13. Take Me To The River
14. My Funny Valentine
15. Sugar On The Floor

Transfer Quality

Video

    Ignore what the packaging says -- this is a widescreen concert, presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and complete with 16x9 enhancement. A review I have read from Region 1 suggests that their equivalent title is full screen 1.33:1. I have been unable to determine whether this is correct. Has the Region 4 version been filmed anamorphically, or matted down from 1.33:1? I suspect the latter, though there are no instances of improper framing to suggest that it was originally intended to be 1.33:1. Anyway it looks fine at 1.78:1, making the most use of the screen for those of you with widescreen displays.

    This is an almost flawless transfer, which aside from a little aliasing here and there is quite pristine. Sharp and detailed, with no edge enhancement at all. There is some aliasing on a couple of the guitar strings and frets, but nothing to get overly excited about. There are no apparent MPEG artefacts.

    The colours are dominated by blue and red, mostly from the stage lighting obviously, though Etta James is decked out in a very bright red sequinned top that commands much attention. There are no apparent problems with bleeding or oversaturation.

    There are no subtitles on this disc, which is a shame.

    Etta James and the Roots Band is a dual-layered disc with RSDL formatting. The layer change occurs at 62:09, between Rock Me Baby and Love and Happiness. It must always be tough to find a decent spot to place a layer change in a concert disc, and this one is about the best that can be expected. Noticeable but forgivable.

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

Audio

    There is a choice of three audio soundtracks on this disc, these being Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 tracks encoded at bitrates of 448 and 256 Kb/s respectively, and a full bitrate dts 5.1 soundtrack, which is the highlight. I listened to both 5.1 tracks and briefly sampled the Dolby Digital 2.0 track. The 5.1 soundtracks are very similar, exhibiting clean and rich separation of instruments and vocals. They are equally powerful with no audible problems. I would lean slightly in favour of the dts soundtrack for its better rendition of the low end bass, though both soundtracks are excellent whichever one you choose.

    Vocals are very prominent in the overall sound mix, with the growling tones of Etta James dominating the performance. There are no audio sync problems.

    There is some surround use, though mostly to provide audience fill-in between songs.

    The subwoofer receives pretty near-constant, though restrained, use throughout.

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

Extras

Main Menu Audio

    The static menu plays the track I Just Want To Make Love To You in a loop.

R4 vs R1

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

    The Region 4 version of this DVD misses out on:

    The Region 1 version of this DVD misses out on:     Based on the only Region 1 review that I can find, the equivalent title is available but presented in an aspect of 1.33:1. If this is correct (and based on the Region 4 packaging that could quite be possible), I would most certainly favour the local disc, with its superior image and inclusion of a full bitrate dts soundtrack.

Summary

    Fans of the legendary Etta James will no doubt be keen to add this disc to their collection. She growls her way through fifteen songs in this ninety-minute show, so the value for money is pretty good. Even though not all of the songs performed are that memorable, there are a couple of gems hidden in the set.

    The video quality is excellent, and regardless of what the packaging says, the transfer is widescreen with 16x9 enhancement.

    With a choice of three soundtracks the audio is first class, including a somewhat rare full bitrate dts 5.1 soundtrack.

    There are no extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Darren Walters (It's . . . just the vibe . . . of my bio)
Wednesday, November 27, 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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