Giants of Rock 'n' Roll: Filmed in Rome (1990)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 5-Feb-2003

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Music Main Menu Audio
Biographies-Cast
Gallery-Photo
Rating Rated E
Year Of Production 1990
Running Time 131:36 (Case: 139)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (77:20) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Bruce Gowers
Studio
Distributor

Warner Vision
Starring James Brown
Little Richard
Jerry Lee Lewis
BB King
Ray Charles
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $31.95 Music None Given


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 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

    This DVD is a re-release of the Legends of Rock'n'Roll Live concert, already available. The only difference between The Legends of Rock'n'Roll Live released in April this year by Umbrella and The Giants of Rock'n'Roll Live released now by Warner Vision is that this new disc is the full 2 hour concert version, whereas the previous release was only a 1 hour edited version of the same event. Note however that both discs are recordings of exactly the same event, meaning not just concerts from the same tour, but the exact same performance. We now find out from the credits on this DVD release that the performance in question actually took place in Rome on the 1990 tour and this particular show was evidently originally filmed as a made-for-television broadcast.

    For a basic plot synopsis of this event, refer to my original review. For those who have already purchased the original DVD release, it is questionable whether or not you may find the need to purchase this new version, as the extra one hour's footage contained in this new release is really just more of the same. In fact, after having reviewed both versions, I can honestly say that the one hour version was indeed a very well edited summary of the highlights.

    For those who didn't purchase the original DVD, but are considering doing so now, you now have a choice; either purchase the original one hour edited highlights version, or see this concert in its entirety. Now as a personal opinion, if faced with this choice I would normally always opt for the unedited version, as I like to see these sorts of events in full in order to get a proper feel for the event in its context. I am also as a rule vehemently opposed to being subjected to edited versions of live concerts, be they either on CD or DVD, as it always leaves me wondering what songs I missed out on and why. However in this case, if you want my personal opinion after reviewing both versions, I would honestly recommend you go for the edited version. This is for two principal reasons; firstly the extra one hour of footage now available contains quite a lot of "filler" songs in my opinion, and secondly this new disc only has limited chapter indexing, making it hard to skip past individual songs.

    The chapter indexing on this disc actually corresponds to the artists, not the songs, so that for example Chapter 1 contains the 4 songs by James Brown. This means that if you didn't like song number 3, "Please, Please, Please", and wanted to skip forward, you would end up going straight to chapter 2/song 5, the first song by Bo Diddley. This was obviously done to make it easy for the viewer to jump straight to their favourite artist from the main menu, which is great. However the pain of it is that once you start to watch the feature, if you do come to a "filler" track that you decide you want to skip (and believe me you will!), unfortunately you're either stuck with listening to it or being forced to resort to the manual fast forward button, which is rather impractical in a live concert where you can't easily discern where the song ends and the next begins.

    If you've read my original review plot synopsis then you will appreciate that I did not really warm to this concert the first time around. I certainly didn't warm to it again this time around and reiterate my original comment that I would have much preferred to see documentary footage of all of these greats performing from their heyday, rather than a modern concert of aging, fat, has-beens who should know that they are past it.

    Following is a legend of the artists appearing in this full concert version, to reconcile to the track listing below. You will note there is one new artist this time around. Also, for what it's worth, following are my opinions of the performance of each relevant artist, indicating some of the highlights and lowlights of the event:

1 = James Brown:  whatever magic and audience appeal this man had - and I'm sure he did have it - I'm afraid he must have lost it decades ago!
2 = Bo Diddley:  now this guy still does have energy and pizzazz, and he still enjoys playing the guitar and having fun. This artist was a highlight for me.
3 = Ray Charles:  a genuine and talented song writer and pianist. Mr Charles is always a pleasure to listen to and, maybe because he remains sedate and seated, he stands out as a man who doesn't look out of place still performing in this concert.
4 = Little Richard:  ahem, now this man is really scary!  I sure hope Michael Jackson doesn't look this scary in about twenty years' time! Mr Richard comes across to me as almost senile in this concert, which is very very sad for a past legend of his stature. I wish he'd stayed at home. This is definitely the low-light of the concert for me. It is obvious why nearly all of his performance was edited out of the previous release.
5 = Jerry Lee Lewis:  this guy can still tinkle the old ivories. He's a talented, no nonsense performer and interesting to see.
6 = Dave Edmunds (NEW):  I didn't know of this "legend" previously, but found him fairly forgettable on my first introduction to him.
7 = Fats Domino:  obviously a very genuine fellow,  but I did not find him very entertaining.
8 = BB King:  another gentleman of music, as well as an undisputed and talented blues legend. Mr King was another highlight for me.

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

Track Listing

1. Papa's Got A New Bag (1)
2. I Feel Good (1)
3. Please, Please, Please (1)
4. Get Up (Feel Like A Sex Machine)(1)
5. Bo Diddley (2)
6. I'm A Man (2)
7. Who Do You Love (2)
8. Doin' The Mess Around (3)
9. I'm A Fool For You (3)
10. Down In My Heart (4)
11. No Place Like Home (4)
12. Great Gosh A'lmighty (4)
13. Wild One (5)
14. Home (5)
15. Great Balls of Fire (5)
16. Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On (5)
17. The Wanderer (6)
18. Sweet Little Rock & Roller (6)
19. Fat Man (7)
20. Blueberry Hill (7)
21. Hello Josephine (7)
22. I'm Ready (8)
23. I'm In Love Agaiin (8)
24. Let The Good Times Roll (8)
25. Downhearted (8)
26. The Thrill Is Gone (8)
27. All Star Jam (everyone)

Transfer Quality

Video

    The quality of the video transfer is much the same as the last release and so consequently many of the previously made comments are reiterated.

    The video transfer quality is generally fine for a concert that was evidently shot on analogue video for TV broadcast. The transfer is presented in the original aspect ratio of 1.33:1, is as sharp as might be expected for its source, and is generally acceptably coloured.

    Foreground resolution is generally OK. On closer inspection however, you can see that the outlines of images for the main foreground artists is quite soft and indistinct; this is a source issue rather than a transfer issue. Background detail is not great and there is plenty of low level noise apparent if you care to zoom into the image - expectedly so for an analogue video source - however the background resolution does remain ineffectual enough  when viewed normally at full frame.

    Colour is satisfactory for the most part, with skin tones occasionally a bit off and some colours not perfectly saturated, but hey, let's allow a bit of leeway here in acknowledgement of how hard it is to capture the harsh bright colours in a live rock concert environment. In addition, the ability to capture colours correctly, particularly the blacks, is again going to be limited by the analogue video source.

    There are no material MPEG artefacts, distracting film-to-video artefacts such as wholesale aliasing, or film artefacts per se, other than the noise and resolution deficiencies inherent in the source material. There is a prominent and noticeable image jar at 112:42, but it is momentary.

   There are no subtitles.

    The disc is RSDL formatted, with the layer change occurring rather jarringly at 77:20, just before Jerry Lee Lewis' set.

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

Audio

    The audio transfer may be described as adequate, but it does have many faults. This time around we are presented with a Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround mix, as opposed to the non-surround stereo mix last time.

    All-in-all, the audio mix serves the purpose OK for this particular feature, as after all this is not an overly demanding, high-tech, multi-layered live concert sound to be reproduced here. The mix's many faults include:

    On the positive side, dialogue quality is mostly fine - apart from the aforementioned isolated instance bordering on distortion, which is the noted exception to the rule.

    Audio sync is not perfect, at least on my player, with the audio tending to arrive just a tad ahead of the video, but this is only noticeable with some of the facial close-ups and is otherwise not problematic.

    The surround presence is surprising in this transfer - it is quite pronounced and effective at times. Possibly too effective in fact, owing to some unnatural weighting in the mix.

    The subwoofer gets only limited deployment, as many songs are devoid of substantive bottom end in this mix.

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

Extras

    Extras are limited to a chapter select screen (one chapter for each of the 8 artists), biography text screens, and a short "Picture Gallery", which is actually a slide show running 3:32 and set to one of the songs.

    The bio text screens are a great inclusion. There are a good 7 or 8 screens of text information for each individual artist, providing effectively a short essay on the life and musical achievements of each performer, helping to place each in context as a "legend" or "giant" of the era. This is a worthy inclusion as an extra and makes for very interesting reading. The omission of this extra from the original DVD release is a sore loss.

    For the record, all menu screens are 1.33:1 still screens. The main menu screen and most of the other screens have audio underscoring.

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 not available yet in Region 1 or Region 2, however I'm sure just like The Legends of Rock'n'Roll Live release it will also become available in identical specifications (apart from PAL vs NTSC issues).

Summary

    Now you have a choice of either the edited version or the full length version for this concert event. The choice is really one of preference for length, as both video and audio quality are comparably just adequate for both releases. This new release does contain a nice additional extra in the biography text screens, but I would suggest this is hardly going to be a major deciding factor.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Sean Abberton (read my bio)
Sunday, December 15, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDToshiba 2109, using Component output
DisplayToshiba 117cm widescreen RPTV. Calibrated with AVIA Guide To Home Theatre. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderYamaha RXV-1000. Calibrated with AVIA Guide To Home Theatre.
AmplificationElektra Home Theatre surround power amp
SpeakersOrpheus Aurora III mains, Orpheus Centaurus 1.0 centre, Velodyne CT150 sub and B&W DM303 rears

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE