David Gray-Live (2000)

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Released 19-Mar-2001

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Music Booklet
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Featurette-David Gray-Up To A Point
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2000
Running Time 87:08
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (67:46) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Kieran Evans
Russell Thomas
Studio
Distributor

Warner Vision
Starring David Gray
Clune
Tim Bradshaw
Rob Malone
Case Amaray-Opaque
RPI $39.95 Music David Gray


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 5.0 (448Kb/s)
English Linear PCM 48/16 2.0 (1536Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Born in Manchester, raised in Wales and lately adopted by the Irish, this DVD features David Gray singing his heart out, with trademark head-bobbing, to the rapturous crowd at Dublin's Point venue. No zany synthesiser or wild guitar breaks on this album - this band features ballads with simple accompaniment that rely on the poetry of the lyrics and intensity of the delivery for their effect. This set of 18 songs is taken from his previous 4 albums, the first of which (A Century Ends) released in 1993. Although achieving considerable popularity through bootleg recordings from his first 3 albums, lack of record label interest in a 4th album led to David hocking his house, recording the songs in a London flat and releasing it on his own label, IHT. The formula worked and White Ladder went straight into the Irish Top 30 and 5 songs were featured in the Kathy Burke film The Year's Love. This Year's Love and Babylon were released as singles and a full Irish tour in December '99 culminated at the Point Depot in Dublin and sold out for every gig.

    The content of the songs covers the usual inspirations of life and love with a terse potency almost reminiscent of the haiku. David Gray's singing style could be described as a mix of Dylan (Bob not Thomas!) without the anger and Chris de Burgh. Casual listening at low volume definitely does not do this artist justice as there is a certain sameness of style to those accustomed to the wild exotica of latter-day music - sit down, turn on the lyric subtitles, settle back and relax - repeat listenings definitely recommended.

    Dressed like a soccer hooligan in denim jacket and jeans, shirt hanging out and crew cut, David nevertheless comes across as a sincere musician without a "trace of the sinister" and still seemingly bemused and, as yet, unspoilt by the cycle of  "Talk Sh*t, Do Gigs, Get P*ssed". The songs have a raw simplicity, unspoilt by the corruption of rap and disco and are delivered with a basic acoustic guitar strumming style. The 4 piece band provides a competent yet unobtrusive rhythm accompaniment with decorative keyboards supplying the twiddly bits to break up the songs.

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Track Listing

1. Introduction
2. Sail Away
3. White Ladder
4. Late Night Radio
5. Faster Sooner Now
6. Lead Me Upstairs
7. Babylon
8. The Light
9. We're Not Right
10. Flame Turns Blue
11. This Years Love
12. Coming Down
13. Shine
14. A Century Ends
15. My Oh My
16. Wisdom
17. Silver Lining
18. Please Forgive Me

Transfer Quality

Video

    The video transfer of this recording overall was pretty good. Video effects were tastefully used to good effect to enhance the fairly featureless stage show and ranged from a 'bridge-cam' on the bass guitar to monochrome black and white and sepia effects. Low resolution graininess was used to further spice up the video and I thought it worked quite well. A large projection screen at the rear of the set was used to provide a backdrop of scenery ranging from an uninviting bleak North Sea coastline to mild psychedelic patterns.

    Seemingly shot for TV, the recording is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and is not 16 x 9 enhanced for both the main concert feature and the documentary.

    Most of the transfer is sharp, with consequent mild aliasing throughout the feature, apart from the intentional low resolution grain-cam shots. Shadow detail was limited but as the action effectively centred on David Gray's guitar and vocals this did not detract from the feature.

    The colours were subdued for the most part, apart from the spotlight centred on the singer. This augmented focus on David Gray and made a welcome change from the frequent blue-red bichromality of many stage lighting shows. There was some chroma noise at 5:59.

   No MPEG artefacts apart from mild aliasing were seen and as the concert was filmed in video, no film artefacts were present.

    Subtitles were in English and available just for the song lyrics or the whole feature. They were accurate and there were no synching problems.

    The disc was single sided and dual layered with the RSDL time occurring at the end of Track 15 at 67:46 with minimal disruption to the concert flow.

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

Audio

    The quality of the audio tracks was excellent.

    There were two audio tracks on offer; a 2 channel PCM stereo track and a Dolby Digital 5.0 surround track. Both were superbly recorded. The PCM 2 channel track provided a rich tapestry of sound with impressive resolution of the quite assorted percussion effects. It also provided a wide and deep soundstage with excellent 3 dimensional imaging - at one point I assumed I was listening to the surround version only to realise with a surprise that I was still in 2 channel mode. The 5.0 surround puts you decisively into the audience. At one point during Babylon, I was almost deafened in the right ear by enthusiastic clapping from the rear, right surround.

    The dialogue was clear but the very nature of Northern English accents modified by Welsh and Irish means that some of the lyrics were a tad hard to decipher, making the lyric subtitles particularly useful.

   There were no discernible problems with audio sync.

   Most of the music presented was composed by David Gray with the exception of a cover of the Everly Brothers "Let It Be Me" in the documentary.

    The surround channels were very effectively used during the concert not only to provide the usual rear audience effects but also to provide an immersive rear right piano accompaniment to the front focus of the singer.

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

Extras

    The extras, though limited, were worthwhile and comprised lyric subtitles together with a 52 minute documentary.

Menu

    The menu was simple, stylish and functional with two to three animated screenshots of the concert with selection options. It is presented in 1.33:1.

Booklet

    A few screen shots and review quotes together with credits make this only of limited interest to the average fan.

Subtitles

    Available only in English for the song lyrics or inclusive of the very limited twixt song banter.

Documentary - David Gray - Up To A Point

    A 52:24 minute feature documenting the seven day Irish tour at the end of 1999 which included Derry, Belfast, Cork, Galway, and Limerick venues and culminated in the finale at Dublin's Point Depot. Snippets from each venue and location are featured and the doco comes with an impressive range of subtitles and is conveniently subdivided into separate chapters for each location. Interviews with journos, fans and a poet seek to explain the merits of David's songs and why he is so popular in Ireland.

R4 vs R1

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

    The R1 release is not due out until 11th December 2001 and thus information is limited about it other than its likely NTSC format and R1 encoding.

Summary

    Although not a fan of David Gray, and actually not having heard of him prior to this review, I enjoyed this concert and appreciated it the more I listened to it. Whilst checking it out on the 50 inch plasma screen at the local HT store, several passers-by and staff were moved to comment that "that sounds good!" 

    The video was pretty good with only minor aliasing to detract from it.

    The audio in both PCM 2 channel and Dolby Digital 5.0 surround was superb though sub-woofer coding was absent.

    I would recommend this DVD to David Gray fans and to those who appreciate basic acoustical ballads with meaningful, impassioned lyrics.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© John Lancaster (read my bio)
Monday, December 03, 2001
Review Equipment
DVDToshiba SD-900E, using RGB output
DisplayPioneer SD-T50W1 (127cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVC-A1SE
SpeakersB&W 602 front/rear. B&W LRC6 Centre / Solid (AKA B&W) 500 SW

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