AC/DC-No Bull (1996)

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Released 6-Nov-2000

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Music Main Menu Audio & Animation
Music Video-Hard As A Rock (4:29)
Featurette-The Making Of Hard As A Rock (16:56)
Menu Audio
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1996
Running Time 121:59
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (81:36) Cast & Crew
Start Up Programme
Region Coding 2,3,4,5,6 Directed By David Mallet
Studio
Distributor

Warner Vision
Starring Angus Young
Malcolm Young
Cliff Williams
Phil Rudd
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $39.95 Music AC/DC


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.0 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.66:1
16x9 Enhancement
Not 16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio Unknown Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    This DVD features one of rock's biggest acts, AC/DC. It was recorded live in Spain on the 10th July, 1996 at the Plaza De Toros de Las Ventas - from the looks of it, a bullfighting ring by day. With a running time of a little over two hours, it's a high energy trip through some of the band's best and, at the time, latest tracks. I must confess that I haven't really been a big fan of AC/DC since the Highway To Hell album, so this gave me a chance to check out some of what I've been missing.

    The track listing of the concert is as follows:
 

Intro (2:01) The Jack (6:50)
Back in Black (4:08) BallBreaker (4:38)
Shot Down in Flames (3:31) Rock and Roll Ain't Noise Pollution (5:09)
Thunderstruck (5:37) Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap (4:38)
The Girl's Got Rhythm (4:05) You Shook Me All Night Long (3:55)
Hard as a Rock (4:47) Whole Lotta Rosie (5:25)
Shoot to Thrill (5:33) T.N.T (3:50)
Boogie Man (10:13) Let There Be Rock (17:26)
Hail Caesar (5:44) Highway to Hell (4:23)
Hells Bells (5:59) For Those About to Rock (We Salute you) (9:18)
Dog Eat Dog (4:49)

    This was an excellent mix of old and new. Many of the songs came across as live versions of album tracks. Tracks like Boogie Man and Let There Be Rock really stood out as examples of what gives this band such huge worldwide appeal. The crowd really gets into the show (as did I) making this a really fun disc to review.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The transfer of this concert varies considerably. The whole is very reasonable, but there are a couple of problem areas.

    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.66:1. It is not 16x9 enhanced.

    Sharpness is generally good but blurring is quite common, more due to artistic licence (and choice of camera angle) than faulty processing. Shadow detail and low level noise are also generally good. Blacks are mostly solid but with the rapid chopping and changing, interspersed with differing lighting conditions, it is often hard to be totally objective. Sometimes the blacks look positively grey and in the very next shot, pristine. Grain was minimal.

    Probably the hardest aspect to review was the colour. The lighting tended to cause oversaturation in some shots, yet others were simply spectacular (the long shots of the crowd from the back of the stage are magnificent). Again, because of the editing, there was no way to 'nail down' any single instance without being pedantic. There was heavy chroma noise whenever predominately blue or red lighting was used - the introduction with the wrecking ball was a prime example.

    There were no MPEG artefacts visible in the transfer. I saw no visible aliasing, although there were a few film artefacts, mainly slight marks on the print or fine flecks of missing emulsion. Most of these were nearly invisible - I never actually noticed them until watching in slow motion, which of itself speaks volumes. The transfer was very clean and no edge enhancement was used.

    There is a good selection of subtitles available. Apart from the standard English there are Italian, French, Spanish and Dutch subtitles available. These subtitles are also available for the "Making Of" extra. The subtitles for the concert come in two formats; the song lyrics only and a second set including dialogue. They are easily readable.

    The disc is RSDL formatted with the layer change occurring at 81:36, at the end of You Shook Me All Night Long. The change was very noticeable (about 1 second) but was reasonably placed all things considered.

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

Audio

    There are two audio tracks on this DVD. The first is an English Dolby Digital 5.0 soundtrack and the second is an English Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.

    Brian Johnson's vocals are sharp and clean (but given his singing voice I challenge anyone to understand a single word he sings at the best of times!). The 'between tracks' dialogue is quite clear. Audio sync was not an issue.

    The Dolby Digital 5.0 track is fundamentally two channel audio with a bitrate of 448Kb/s. It sounds almost monaural in quality. The audio is 'sliced' up into 5 channels meaning there is a lack of any true surround sound, although it does give the music an excellent enveloping quality.

    I also listened to the Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack. There is at least a 10db difference between the tracks, with the Dolby Digital 5.0 having the louder sound level. You will need to pump up the volume a little if you choose to listen to the 2.0 track. The lack of rear speaker activity means there isn't the same envelope of sound present, but the clarity is the same on both tracks so if you don't own a surround sound system you won't lose out too much. Naturally, I preferred the Dolby Digital 5.0 soundtrack.

    The lack of any subwoofer activity is probably the biggest letdown. Given that AC/DC is a heavy rock band and have a thumping beat to their music, a dedicated subwoofer channel was sorely missed.

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

Extras

Menu

    The opening menu animation has a brick wall inlaid with vision from the concert. The loop terminates as a wrecking ball crashes into the wall and the loop begins again. The overlaying music is an excerpt from Let There Be Rock.

    Navigation of the menus is simple and straightforward. There are 4 options; The Concert, Lyrics / Captions, Audio and Special Features. Each subsequent sub-menu has a different static picture with music overlaid (no animation).

Hard As A Rock - Music Video (4:29)

    Shot in an aspect ratio of 1.66:1 and not 16x9 enhanced. The audio is reasonable Dolby Digital 2.0. The video is soft and blurry (possibly deliberately so?), with low level noise and grain. Shadow detail is passable, but this is nothing more than a standard music video.

Making of "Hard As A Rock" (16:56)

    A rather interesting featurette on the making of the Hard As A Rock video clip. The shooting of the video is interspersed with interviews with fans and band members Brian Johnson and Angus Young. We see the band signing autographs, clowning around and Angus doing special effects for the video. The video is in 1.66:1, non-16x9. It is reasonably sharp with little grain. The audio is Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s) and reasonably clean. The dialogue is good and easily understandable. Subtitles are available for all listed languages. The interview with Brian Johnson is quite good, but Angus should stick to playing guitar. The interaction with the fans was quite well done and I did like the "mooning" as the fans were bussed around. All-in-all, very lightweight but interesting nonetheless.

R4 vs R1

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

    There are no specific differences between the R1 and R4 versions of this DVD. Given PAL's innate superiority, I'd probably opt for the R4.

Summary

    Great music. The boys definitely 'rock' the house. The video quality is very presentable and if you are used to music videos on TV then the superior resolution of DVD makes this even better. The audio is solid without being exceptional. I would expect more recent DVDs from AC/DC to be better again. Overall, a good video of an excellent concert and definitely worth a look. This will fill the gaps in your collection quite nicely. What can I say? ... "Let there be rock...".

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Carl Berry (read my bio)
Monday, April 09, 2001
Review Equipment
DVDLoewe Xemix 5006DD, using RGB output
DisplayLoewe Xelos (81cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationYamaha RXV-595a
SpeakersJBL TLX16s Front Speakers, Polk Audio 3MIIs Rear Speakers, Polk Audio CS245 Centre Speaker, M&KV-75 Subwoofer

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
AC/DC live in Plaza De Toros de Las Ventas - Madrid -