Widespread Panic-Live at Oak Mountain (2000) (NTSC)
Trailer-Don't Tell The Band
|Year Of Production||2000|
|RSDL / Flipper||
Dual Disc Set
|Cast & Crew|
|Start Up||Ads Then Menu|
|Region Coding||1,2,3,4,5,6||Directed By||Christopher Hanson|
Domingo S. Ortiz
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Video Format||480i (NTSC)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.33:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Before taking on the task of reviewing Live At Oak Mountain, I had never heard of Widespread Panic. The only thing I knew about them from some very quick research was that their style was supposedly similar to that of Blues Traveller. Being a big fan of the latter band, it was with great curiosity that I placed the concert discs into the player — and the curiosity was very much rewarded (who said that it was a bad thing?), for Widespread Panic are an incredibly talented outfit who put on an excellent concert that is all about the music.
In actual fact, there is not all that much in common between Widespread Panic and Blues Traveller, as while they are both blues bands (and both have recently lost members to untimely deaths), the latter are far more towards the country/bluegrass end of the blues scale with Widespread Panic being a far more rock-oriented blues band. It is also no real surprise that Widespread Panic have not received the same level of attention that Blues Traveller has, because while they are certainly imbued with immense talent, and are focused almost entirely upon producing brilliant music, they lack the more immediately satisfying melodic hooks of Blues Traveller, making their music a little more difficult to get into. But that is an effort well worth making, as they are a brilliant band. This concert is excellent, as the band move directly between songs for well over two hours. On almost all songs, they deviate from the "script" to jam for many minutes — and this often works to spine-tingling effect. This is what a concert should be.
Finally, a note about the presentation of this concert. This two disc set is comprised of two single layer discs (despite the "layer transition may trigger slight pause" disclaimer - strange), and it is in NTSC. The low-profile nature of the band in Australia is most likely the reason for these choices, but regardless, this is a fantastic concert, and well worth checking out.
|1. Imitation Leather Shoes|
3. I'm Not Alone
4. Climb To Saftey
5. Ride Me High
6. Makes Sense To Me
9. Henry Parsons Died
10. Big Wooly Mammoth
11. Chilly Water
|12. Thought Sausage|
13. Red Hot Mama
14. Porch Song
16. Papa's Home
17. Surprise Valley
18. Papa's Home
19. All Time Low
20. Wish You Were Here
21. Flat Foot Flewzy
Presented at 1.33:1, this transfer is not 16x9 enhanced. Given the filming location, and the composition of the shots, this is most likely the correct aspect ratio.
This transfer is not particularly sharp, although the filming conditions do not help — being at night, and with relatively poor lighting. There is sufficient detail to make out the necessary action, but little more. Shadow detail is in the same category, where large dark areas will easily consume all within them. Again, there is sufficient detail to discern useful information, but nothing more. There is no low-level noise present.
Colours are heavily affected by the concert lighting. There are a few occasions where unusually hot lighting leads to blooming, but in general, the colours reflect the concert lighting well enough.
There are no compression or film artefacts at all. There are a few interlacing artefacts noticeable on close-ups of fast moving drum sticks (such as at 46:45), but the only real problem with the transfer is aliasing. It is virtually impossible to find a shot without aliasing. In fact, I had noted more instances of aliasing during the first song alone than in many full movies. Every guitar string, microphone stand, and drum stick consistently shows bad aliasing. Even the arms of the keyboard player are constantly affected by aliasing. The one consolation to all the aliasing, is that it almost never takes over the whole screen, displaying little continuous shimmer. It is possible, after a while, to shut the aliasing out, although those who are particularly annoyed by aliasing may want to check out this transfer before considering a purchase. Certainly the choice to release this as an NTSC set has contributed to the aliasing problem, but the severity of the aliasing present suggests that even a higher resolution PAL transfer would still suffer (although probably not to the same extent).
There are no sub-titles on this disc, and as the lyrics are really secondary to the music, that is not a problem.
Both these discs are single layer, with one "set" on disc one, and the second "set" on disc two. Discs need to be changed after 65:29.
There are two soundtracks present on this disc, both being the original English recording, in Dolby Digital 5.1 (at 448 kbps) and Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo (at 192 kbps).
Vocals are clear, although the singing styles largely make them difficult to understand. The instrument separation is quite good, and it is possible to pick out the individual sounds of most instruments. Audio sync is spot on throughout the transfer.
There are only two real differences between the stereo and surround tracks — firstly the surround track provides a more "concert-like" feel to the audio, placing crowd noise, and light audio reflection in the rear channels, and secondly the surround soundtrack carries more bass. Both soundtracks provide a very wide and expansive front soundstage, and work it well, presenting a dynamic soundtrack that is a pleasure to listen to. It is really up to personal preference as to which is the better soundtrack — I prefer the surround track for the better "concert" feel, although the more pronounced bass may put some off this track in favour of the stereo.
The subwoofer is well used in the surround soundtrack, backing both the bass guitar and the kick-drum to excellent effect. It really does add to the experience a little. The stereo soundtrack on the other hand carries considerably less bass, and never really moves the subwoofer beyond a murmur.
|Surround Channel Use|
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The video quality would be decent, if not for the constantly high levels of aliasing. Note that this presentation is in NTSC, so capable equipment is necessary.
The audio quality is very good, presenting an extremely enjoyable concert experience.
The extras, while brief, are quite interesting.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-535, using Component output|
|Display||Loewe Xelos 5381ZW. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Amplification||Onkyo TX-DS787, THX Select|
|Speakers||All matching Vifa Drivers: centre 2x6.5" + 1" tweeter (d'appolito); fronts and rears 6.5" + 1" tweeter; centre rear 5" + 1" tweeter; sub 10" (150WRMS)|