Billy Joel-Live at Yankee Stadium (1990) (NTSC)
Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio & Animation
|Year Of Production||1990|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||1,2,3,4,5,6||Directed By||Jon Small|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||
English Linear PCM 48/16 2.0 (1536Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/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||Yes, See NOTE in Plot Synopsis|
Billy Joel - Live At Yankee Stadium has been amongst my list of highly anticipated DVDs since I first purchased my DVD player. I have almost worn out the decade old VHS version of this concert, so when the chance came to review this title I jumped at it.
Recorded in June 1990 as part of the 15 month long Storm Front tour (which came to Australia in February 1991), this was the first ever rock concert to be held at the legendary home of the New York Yankees baseball team - Yankee Stadium. Apparently the Yankees were very protective of their stadium and surface and had not allowed anybody to set foot on it unless playing 'ball. Billy asked if he could play there and they agreed! (He must have asked nicely.)
The band that played with Billy on this tour has pretty much stayed with him since. There are of course the old stalwarts such Liberty DeVito on drums and Mark Rivera on saxophone. Newcomers for this tour included Tommy Byrnes on guitar and Crystal Taliefero on percussion and backing vocal.
If there is one performer around that knows how to put on a stadium concert, it is Billy Joel. He is true showman in every sense. He feeds off the crowd and gives them everything that they ask for. The last time I saw him was in 1998. I went along with a friend who was not a really big fan of Billy Joel before the show. Afterwards, he was a convert. He was amazed at the energy and sheer enjoyment that Billy displayed in his performance.
Two things did, however, disappoint me when I first received this disc. Firstly the sticker on the front proudly proclaiming it to be an NTSC disc. Secondly, it's only 85 minutes long. I thought hours of footage could be crammed onto a DVD. How about making the most of it? Maybe the good folk at Sony Music are saving it all up for the special Madison Square Garden Millennium Concert Edition (I can dream, can't I?)? Nonetheless, it was with great anticipation that I slid this disc into my player and cranked up the volume for what would hopefully be a special experience.
The disc opens with a seven minute introductory feature on the lead-up to the concert, comprised of some interview material with Billy Joel, some fans and the general feeling of New York City in the lead-up to what was quite a big event in the summer of 1990.
NOTE: The end credits feature the complete studio version of And So it Goes, complete with subtitles, so there are really 13 songs on the disc.
|1. Storm Front|
2. I Go To Extremes
3. Scenes From An Italian Restaurant
4. The Downeaster 'Alexa'
6. New York State Of Mind
|7. We Didn't Start The Fire|
9. That's Not Her Style
10. Miami 2017 (Seen the Lights Go...
11. A Matter Of Trust
12. Piano Man
The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and is not 16x9 enhanced.
The sharpness level is excellent thoughout, though I did notice the effects that NTSC can have on the edges of straight lines (particularly Billy's piano), where they can appear slightly jagged. Shadow detail was the biggest surprise. I was expecting some problems here but the transfer handled it magnificently, with nobody disappearing at all in blackness unless it was intended. There was some low level noise scattered throughout, though this was minor. It was most noticeable during the opening track Storm Front.
Colour levels were muted with little vibrancy and as a result there were none of the oversaturation problems that often occur under stage lighting. This isn't to say that it was a dull presentation, just not overpoweringly bright or intense in colour.
There were no visible MPEG artefacts and aliasing was never a problem. There were several metal grilles on the floor next to Billy's piano that I would have expected to cause a problem, but they didn't, which was a nice surprise.
There is only one set of subtitles on this disc; English. I turned these on for several songs and knowing most of the words to Billy's songs by heart, I did not notice any problems. Even when the concert lyrics differ from the studio version of the song, as is a habit of Billy's, the subtitles were spot on.
Dialogue was always clear and there were no visible audio sync problems.
I was impressed with both tracks, although after listening to the analogue stereo 2.0 version on my VHS tape for ten years I have a definite liking for the Dolby Digital 5.1 track. The 5.1 track has been fully mixed with the rear surrounds getting a solid workout for the entire duration of the concert. In addition to the audience sounds there are numerous instruments and backing vocals providing a nice enveloping soundstage. One particular highlight is the rear surround use on Piano Man when the crowd sing solo. It really makes you feel like you are there in the midst of it all.
Subwoofer use was moderate. Billy Joel's music, due mainly to his use of piano, tends to feature higher in the frequency range and does not exhibit excessive bass. The opening bars of The Downeaster 'Alexa' do feature some nice lower range responses.
|Surround Channel Use|
|DVD||Toshiba 1200, using S-Video output|
|Display||Loewe Calida (84cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Front - B&W 602S2, Centre - B&W CC6S2, Rear - B&W 601S2, Sub - Energy E:xl S10|