The Tea Party-Illuminations: The Tea Party Collection (2000)

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Released 25-Oct-2001

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Music Menu Animation & Audio
Audio Commentary
Audio-Only Track
Featurette-Behind The Scenes
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2000
Running Time 60:40 (Case: 59)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By None Given

Warner Vision
Starring Jeff Burrows
Stuart Chatwood
Jeff Martin
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $39.95 Music The Tea Party

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English dts 5.1 (1536Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary 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 English Song Lyrics Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    The Tea Party have helped shaped the last decade of rock music with a very strong fan base in Australia, with many similarities to the Doors in their early years and shades of U2 in their later years. The Tea Party have managed to mould their own niche in the world of alternative rock, best described as an unusual blend of Indian, Eastern, and Exotic influences combined with their evolution from blues-rock to eastern-rock to industrial-acoustic with a little electronica thrown in for good measure.

    Formed in 1990, it wasn't until 1993 that the band signed with EMI Canada as they required full control over their productions. In 1993, "The River" and "Save Me" were made very popular by JJJ and other alternative rock stations in Australia. It was this popularity that saw the first international tour land on Australian shores with great success. This success paved the way for future albums and also was shown in the band's renowned history of over 700 live performances.

    The Tea Party have a lot to say in their songs. These messages and themes are very well-presented on this DVD. I have not had a lot of experience with their music before this review but I must say that the music is truly excellent and well worth the price of this DVD or an album. I was very impressed with the depth of talent, discovering that they have used 31 different instruments, both classic and exotic, in their 10 year history.

    This music DVD is presented as a collection of their most successful songs from all six albums. The tracks are presented as music videos, made at the time of releasing the songs. The music is excellent and the DVD is very good. Heartily recommended.

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Track Listing

1. The River
2. Save Me
3. Certain Slant of Light
4. Fire In The Head
5. The Bazaar
6. Shadows on the Mountainside
7. Sister Awake
8. Temptation
9. Babylon
10. Release
11. Psychopomp
12. Heaven Coming Down
13. The Messenger
14. Walking Wounded

Transfer Quality


    In general, the video transfer for this DVD is good. The quality improves dramatically the further into the collection that you go. This is indicative of problems with the source material. Being music videos, artistic license is often used to strange effect in filming. Grain is the only stand-out problem with this transfer.

    The video is presented in 1.33:1, being the original aspect ratio. One track is recorded in 1.78:1 non-enhanced, presumably for DTV.

    The quality of the tracks improve dramatically as the age of the video decreases. Grain is very noticeable in the first few tracks, recorded in 1993/94, but diminishes steadily in the remaining tracks. Sharpness is hindered by the grain as well as the production techniques used for the music videos, which generally tend to move in and out of focus frequently. The transfer is more than adequate as the DVD is about the music - the visuals are merely ancillary.

    Colour is well-rendered throughout, particularly well-saturated on "The Bazaar" where the colours are used to heighten the effect of the music video.

    MPEG artefacts were not obvious and there were limited film artefacts, besides those introduced purposefully into the film as is often the case in music videos.

    The lyric subtitles are accurate and often useful to aid in understanding what is being sung. English is the only option unfortunately.

    The disc is dual-layered. There is a pause between each track which made my amp have to constantly redetect the audio format. This was not disruptive, merely interesting.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    The audio transfer is excellent. There is excellent use of the 5.1 soundfield with great clarity. Interestingly, the 5.1 mix was done partly by Jeff Martin so it is good to know the final product has been approved by The Tea Party.

    There are four audio tracks available on this DVD; a Dolby Digital 2.0 track at 192Kbps, a Dolby Digital 5.1 track at 448Kbps, a DTS 5.1 track at the full 1536Kbps bitrate, and a Dolby Digital 2.0 audio commentary track at 192Kbps. I watched the entire feature in Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS. The DTS track has marginally better use of the soundfield and seemingly more clarity, while the Dolby Digital track is mastered about 4 - 5dB louder. The Dolby Digital 2.0 track is not surround encoded and is fine for a stereo track but does not compare to either 5.1 mix.

    Audio sync was fine throughout and the singing was understandable for the most part. Occasionally, the lyrics can be hard to understand, but this is not a fault of the transfer. The reproduced quality of the instruments is quite phenomenal throughout. Apart from a pop at 38:25 during the audio commentary, there were no other problems.

    The Tea Party have made maximum use of the 5.1 soundfield, creating a very immersive track that is a great example of how music should sound when mixed to 5.1. "Save Me" is a great example of immersive use of the soundfield while "Babylon" makes aggressive use of the subwoofer. The subwoofer is used throughout but never without merit.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    There is a good selection of extras presented on this DVD, including an audio commentary by all the band members and a behind-the-scenes featurette.


    The menus are well themed with music taken from the DVD. The menu transitions are nice, and not too slow.

Audio Commentary

    This is a very insightful commentary. Jeff Martin, Jeff Burrows, and Stuart Burrows have a very dynamic presence and produce a lot of information. The themes and messages behind the various tracks as well as the inspiration from which they were derived is discussed, along with numerous technical tidbits of information concerning the production of the music video. It is good to hear that Australia has really supported The Tea Party throughout their career.

Behind the Scenes - Walking Wounded (11:15)

    An interesting go-to-whoa look at the creation of Walking Wounded, both the song and the music video. This extra is hard to find. You must go to the scene selection, choose Walking Wounded, choose Supplementary materials and then Behind The Scenes. Well worth a look, the video is average but the audio is quite good (Dolby Digital 2.0 at 192Kbps).


    Nothing special here, a complete run-down of the albums released by EMI Canada.

Band Biography

    Contains quite a bit of information about the band with about 20 pages of biography from the beginnings of their career to the present day.

Picture Gallery

    About 10 still frame promotional images. Nothing special at all.

R4 vs R1

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

    This is an all-zone DVD so there is very little chance that the American/Canadian version has any more extras than our local version. I could not find any information to refute this so it is likely that we are looking at both versions being equal. Go for the cheapest in my opinion.


    The Tea Party Collection is an excellent DVD with insightful and enjoyable music. The DVD transfer is very good with the audio quality being a highlight.

    The video quality is adequate for a music DVD

    The audio quality is excellent.

    The extras are good with the audio commentary being very worthwhile.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Nick Jardine (My bio, it's short - read it anyway)
Tuesday, November 06, 2001
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-535, using S-Video output
DisplayRCA 80cm. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-DS787, THX Select
SpeakersAll 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)

Other Reviews
Jeff K's Australian DVD Info Site - Kevin S
DVD Net - Shaun B

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