A Reggae Session (1988)
|Category||Music||Main Menu Audio & Animation|
|Year Of Production||1988|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||
The Neville Brothers
Solomonic All Stars
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/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||No|
The influence of reggae music across other forms of contemporary blues, pop and rock styles is of course undeniable; you need only listen to anything from The Police to The Pretenders. It is appropriate and great to see then that some of the big names (for 1988) from these other contemporary music styles have come out to pay homage to their reggae influences in this concert, including artists Chrissie Hynde, Carlos Santana and The Neville Brothers.
The artists and the audience are clearly connecting and enjoying themselves at this concert and it makes for great fun for both die-hard reggae fans and the curious alike. If you're like me and don't have too much knowledge about the roots of this style of music, but are aware of the influences it has had on many other musical styles nonetheless, then this the concert is definitely worth a look-see. This concert will probably surprise you - as it did me. It showcases some great music that is not just limited to the more traditional reggae structures you might think of, but rather it's much more contemporary and mainstream in its application.
My only complaint about this concert is that it is obviously an edited extract of the event. At a run time of only 59 minutes, the edited concert footage is far too short. It is apparent that this must have been originally taped for television broadcast, however given the release on DVD now it would have been much more beneficial to have sought out and added in the extra footage to make this a full length concert release for the fans. Perhaps the extra footage was unable to be located? If so then more's the pity.
The legend of artists in the track listing below is as follows:
1 = The I-Three
2 = Bunny Wailer
3 = Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers
4 = Chrissie Hynde
5 = Toots Hibbert
6 = Grace Jones
7 = The Neville Brothers and Carlos Santana
8 = Jimmy Cliff.
|1. Buffalo Soldier (1)|
2. Roots, Radics, Rockers and Regga(2)
3. Rise and Shine (2)
4. Conscious Party (3)
5. Waiting In Vain (4)
6. Steppin' Razor (4)
7. Country Roads (5)
|8. 5446 Was My Number (5)|
9. My Jamaican Guy (6)
10. My Blood in South Africa (7)
11. It Ain't No Use (7)
12. Hanging Fire (8)
13. Love Me , Love Me (8)
14. The Harder They Come (8)
Being a made-for-TV production in the late 1980s, the feature is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and is not 16x9 enhanced.
Apart from some intro and exit footage of the arena and island, taken from helicopter, the concert footage proper would appear to have been shot on analogue video. This would certainly explain why sharpness is lacking throughout and why the image suffers from such a high amount of grain and noise. Background resolution and shadow detail ranges from average to poor. Low level noise is also apparent in most of the dark backgrounds.
Colours in the transfer are variable. For the most part, colours are adequately saturated and this is certainly the case where it counts, for the principal cameras covering the front of the stage. However the quality of colours from some of the other camera angles is more lacklustre, particularly for footage from secondary cameras covering the sides of the stage and particularly the hand-held cameras used to intersperse footage amongst the crowd. This variability in colours, and image quality generally, becomes more noticeable during the second half of the concert, when more cuts are used to highlight the crowd's enjoyment and the atmosphere of the event. See Track 8 as a very good example of this.
MPEG artefacts are a problem. It is apparent from very early on that the source image has been overcompressed in the transfer to DVD. This overcompression leads to some obvious loss of image data in many scenes, particularly in the backgrounds. Thankfully, it doesn't really deteriorate to very obvious macro-blocking in the image, but it is certainly quite perceptible as a loss of data in the image nonetheless. Indeed, it is probably only the level of grain and noise in the rest of the source image that prevents many backgrounds from deteriorating into more noticeably blocky effects. A very good example of this problem can be found at 13:14, a shot taken from a camera on the right of the stage, framing lead singer Ziggy Marley at the back of the frame and three back-up singers at the front of the image. The compression algorithm appears to have trouble deciding exactly which part of the image is the most important part to which to devote its limited store of pixels - actually, all elements of this particular frame are important - and consequently none of this image is satisfactorily resolved. The effect of the macro-blocking can also be seen in most glimpses of people on the bridge in the background, behind and above the stage. These images, admittedly dark and noisy anyway, always suffer from a distinct lack of resolution due to loss of data.
Apart from the pixelization in the image, posterization also appears to plague many of the facial close-ups (refer to many shots of the male singer duetting with Chrissy Hynde on Track 6 for example). Finally, chroma noise is also very evident in many sequences, for example at 18:41, involving a frame of a male singer lit against a backdrop of harsh and very uneven red light.
At least it can be said that aliasing is not a problem in this transfer. Film artefacts are also thankfully not a real issue, apart from some notable variability in source image quality, as discussed above.
There are no subtitles on this disc.
The one and only track is a 2 channel stereo mix (at 224 Kb/s). Being a live recording taken on location at a small outdoor arena, I was not expecting this source recording to set my home theatre system on fire, and it certainly did not surpass my modest expectations. The mix is equivalent to that of an average quality live concert CD; not unsatisfactory, but just average.
The vocal volume is fine in the mix. Audio sync is also fine.
The mix delivers some decent bass, with the sub helping to fill out the bottom end. However, the recording of the bass is not overly discrete, with the result that the bass guitar track does tend to bleed a little bit into some of the other instrument tracks (guitars) at times (listen to Track 6 for example). Percussion and the other high end sounds are generally carried well, however it is the mid-range that definitely lets this audio track down. The mid-range lacks any real substance or depth in this mix. As I said, think of the quality of an average live concert CD recording, and you've probably got the idea of this audio transfer.
Surround presence is non existent, ignoring some inadvertent and ineffectual spillover of sound information from the front mains.
|Surround Channel Use|
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
|DVD||Toshiba 2109, using Component output|
|Display||Toshiba 117cm widescreen RPTV. Calibrated with AVIA Guide To Home Theatre. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Yamaha RXV-1000. Calibrated with AVIA Guide To Home Theatre.|
|Amplification||Elektra Home Theatre surround power amp|
|Speakers||Orpheus Aurora III mains, Orpheus Centaurus 1.0 centre, Velodyne CT150 sub and B&W DM303 rears|