Peter Frampton-Live in Detroit (2000)

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Released 2-Oct-2000

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Music Main Menu Audio & Animation
Interviews-Cast-Peter Frampton
Discography
Biographies-Cast-Peter Frampton (autobiography)
Notes-Fan Club & Website Information
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2000
Running Time 100:10
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (66:20) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Scott Bishop
Studio
Distributor

Warner Vision
Starring Peter Frampton
John Regan
Chad Cromwell
Bob Mayo
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $39.95 Music Peter Frampton


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (256Kb/s)
English dts 5.1 (768Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

I had mixed feelings when I agreed to review this DVD. On one hand, I was not sure I was "qualified" to do a review as (prior to this) I have never even heard of Peter Frampton, let alone listened to his music. I know some of you may find that difficult to believe or even imagine. Indeed, when I remarked "Who is Peter Frampton?" at work, I received unkind comments along the lines of "Which rock did you recently crawl out from under?" and my retort of "Well, I'm not really into ageing 70s rock stars..." was not appreciated. So, to fans of Peter Frampton eagerly reading this review to find out what the DVD is like, I would like to apologize up front for not measuring up to your expectations. I won't be able to comment on the level of performance or even compare the songs played against previous concerts or studio recordings. And I'll try my best to avoid making comments about ageing rock stars!

However, on the other hand, having been disappointed by too many poor quality music DVDs, I was dying to be able to review a well-produced music DVD with, gasp, extras!!! Based on an HDTV-quality recording of a concert held on 17 July 1999 at the Pine Knob Music Theatre in Detroit, Michigan, the video transfer promises to be excellent. Similarly, I noticed that Bob Ludwig has been credited for the audio mastering. Those of you in the know will recognize Bob as being responsible for the mastering of literally hundreds of successful albums over the last twenty years. So, in short, watching and listening to this DVD ought to be a real treat, and it is.

For those of you who know as little about Peter Frampton as me, here are some quick details. Born in England, he started his musical career in a band called The Herd. He subsequently left and co-founded a band called Humble Pie (sounds like a nice Aussie name for a band doesn't it?) and pursued a solo career when the band broke up. His main claim to fame is ironically a live album called "Frampton Comes Alive!" I'm surprised the marketeers didn't capitalize on this and call the DVD "Frampton Comes Alive in Detroit" or something. I think he faded into comfortable obscurity in the late eighties and nineties but he has released the odd album or two and it's nice to see that he still has a large number of fans as evidenced by this concert. The inside cover of the DVD has a really spunky photo of him with long hair and a bare chest that probably dates from the "Frampton Comes Alive!" days, but these days I think he looks more like Andrew Denton's older brother. Look at the photo of him on the cover and I think you'll know what I mean!

So, did I ended up enjoying the concert? Yes, I did, and I even ended up recognizing 1 or 2 songs (particularly Baby I Love Your Way). Peter looks relaxed and confident, there were no obvious fluffs in the band's performance, and all the songs were quite listenable. I really liked the guitar and keyboard solos. The concert was also shot well, with no long lingering static shots, although I did find the constant changing of camera angles, panning and zooming to be a bit distracting at times. I wasn't quite sure why the DVD was rated M for Coarse Language but I did catch Peter saying "f**king b*****d" once.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Track Listing

1. Baby (Somethin's Happening)
2. Lying
3. Lines On My Face
4. Show Me The Way
5. All I Wanna Be (Is By Your Side)
6. If You Say Goodbye
7. Oh For Another Day
8. Penny For Your Thoughts
9. (I'll Give You) Money
10. Nassau
11. Baby I Love Your Way
12. Can't Take That Away
13. Do You Feel Like We Do
14. Off The Hook
15. You Had To Be There
16. I Don't Need No Doctor

Transfer Quality

Video

This DVD is presented in the HDTV aspect ration of 1.78:1 and is enhanced for 16x9 widescreen displays. It has been transferred ("downconverted") from an HDTV recording.

Given the HDTV source, it comes as no surprise that the video quality is extremely good, worthy of being labelled "reference quality". The picture is extremely sharp and clear, with near perfect colour saturation (taking stage lighting into account), and incredible amounts of shadow detail. I noted that Peter's T-shirt never appears as completely black, but with subtle variations consistent with the lighting and the creases in the clothing.

The level of detail is good, but falls short of true HDTV quality (well, obviously). I can see the pattern of the rugs covering part of the the stage floor although the pattern looks a bit blurry. Similarly, I can see individual hairs on faces and arms, but can't quite read the labels on the knobs of electronic musical instruments. Whenever the camera pans across the audience, I can make out individual faces but the faces themselves are slightly blurred.

I hope I am not coming across as being too negative with my comments - the transfer quality is very VERY good, however there are limits to PAL resolution, and I would love to see how this concert would look like at true HDTV resolution. Someone I know has watched an HDTV broadcast of a Barry Manilow concert and he says not only was he able to make out the brand name of the microphone Barry was using ("Shure") but the model number which is in a much smaller font.

A good example illustrating the level of detail on this DVD can be had by examining Bob Mayo's shiny watch over the course of the concert. Fairly early on in the concert (7:06) on my set up I can just make out the time on Bob's watch as 9:00pm as his hands fly across the keyboard on the bottom of the screen. Later on, we get another blurry look at his watch showing 9:30pm at 37:37 into the concert. A few minutes later we get a much clearer look and can easily tell the time on his watch as he does a guitar duet with Peter on stage. After that he must have taken his watch off because I noticed it wasn't on his wrist during the keyboard solo in track 12 (Can't Take That Away).

Again, given the HDTV source, there are no film artefacts evident (apart from a couple of minor lens focus issues), and virtually no MPEG artefacts. I could see slight ringing ("Gibb effect") around the "Marshall" logo on the stage speakers and also around the drums but I'm being really picky here and the effect would be unnoticeable to anyone not using a front projection display. Certainly there are no MPEG effects at a level to cause annoyance. The downconversion from 60 Hz HDTV to 50 Hz PAL may have introduced some ghosting, noticeably during fast pans (look at the ghosting of some of the audience's hands in 11:35). However, I cannot confirm that this is a true artefact present on the DVD, as opposed to being introduced by the scaler in the projector.

There are no subtitles on the disc. Putting the lyrics to the songs on a subtitle track would have been a nice bonus, but that is a minor quibble.

This is a single-sided dual layer DVD (RSDL or "DVD-9"). The layer transition occurs at the end of Chapter 12, 66:20 minutes into the title. It is mildly annoying but probably located at a spot where the pause will do the least damage (just before the start of the next song and right after Peter has just told the punchline of a joke which kind of fell flat I think because of Peter's accent).

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

Audio

This DVD comes with three audio tracks; Dolby Digital 5.1 (default), Dolby Digital 2.0 and DTS 5.1. I listened to both the Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1 tracks in their entirety, and to snippets of the Dolby Digital 2.0 track. There are no commentary tracks, although I would have liked to have been able to listen to Peter describing the history and background of each of the songs and how he felt the performance went.

All three audio tracks have been mastered at levels higher than that of most films, so you may want to keep your volume control handy. On my system, I normally listen to DVDs at a level of -10 to -12 dB and to CDs at -15 dB (0 dB on my system is supposedly set to "reference level" but I find that to be too loud for most material). For this DVD, I had to set the volume to -18 dB for comfort, and -15 dB if I wanted a more "concert-like" level. The Dolby Digital 5.1 track is mastered at a slightly higher level than the DTS track, so be prepared to adjust the volume control slightly (no more than 1-2 dB) if you are switching back and forth between the audio tracks for comparative purposes.

Incidentally, my DVD player prohibited me from switching between the DD and DTS tracks using the audio track button on the remote control, presumably as a safety measure to prevent the audio decoder from getting confused. If your player also does the same, the way to switch between the tracks is to hit the MENU button, navigate to the Extras menu, select the audio track that you want, and the concert will continue playing from where you left it.

I suspect that the higher than normal mastering level is possible because some amount of dynamic range compression has been applied during mixing. This is fairly typical for rock concerts, but kind of bothered me as I am more used to listening to jazz and classical music where such a practice would have been frowned upon. It does mean that some of the subtleties of Peter's guitar playing have been evened out, which kind of disappointed me because there were some rather beautiful guitar solos that I would have preferred to hear with their original dynamics.

The surround soundstage for the 5.1 tracks has been arranged so that the music in general is coming from the front speakers, with the rear speakers carrying ambient information and audience noises. This is a fairly realistic arrangement, as it places you in the prime listening position with the stage in front of you and the audience all around you. I prefer to listen to concerts with the music coming from the front, but those of you who prefer a more aggressive surround setting with music coming from all speakers may be a bit disappointed with this DVD.

Fortunately or unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be any sound coming the centre speaker during the entire concert - the so-called "5.1" tracks are really "4.1". This is fortunate if your centre speaker is not as good at reproducing music as your front left/rights. It's unfortunate if your left, centre and right front speakers are identical and widely spaced (so that you are relying on the centre speaker to maintain a uniform soundfield).

Apart from level differences, the Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1 tracks are both extremely good and it would be hard to tell the difference between them. I don't think there are any compelling reasons to prefer one over the other and if I were only able to listen to one of them (i.e.. if I only had a Dolby Digital decoder and no DTS) I would not be too concerned. Compared to the DTS track, the Dolby Digital 5.1 track sounded a bit shriller and not as "solid". I also noticed that the rear speakers seemed slightly more pronounced and decorrelated on the Dolby Digital 5.1 track than on the DTS track. The effect is quite subtle, but with the DTS track I felt like I was part of the audience as I could hear the audience all around me. On the Dolby Digital track I felt like I was sitting alone in the centre, but to the left and right sides there were two distinct groups of audience sitting some distance from me. My personal preference therefore is for the DTS track as I liked the more "solid" feel of the track and the more enveloping and subtle surround effect.

I also listened briefly to the Dolby Digital 2.0 track, which is mastered at a lower level compared to the other tracks but still higher than average. Compared to the DTS 5.1 track, this sounds even more insubstantial than the Dolby Digital 5.1 track. Also, the lack of ambience and surround information in the rear speakers make this track sound almost flat and two dimensional by comparison. Funnily enough, it seemed slightly more bass heavy compared to the Dolby Digital 5.1 track. I would have liked to listen to a PCM stereo track as I suspect it would have sounded more dimensional than this track.

As far as I can tell, there are no audio synchronization issues with this DVD.

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

Extras

In general, this DVD has a reasonable number of extras definitely above average for a music DVD and probably slightly under average for a movie. The only additional extras that I would wish for that are not present would be an audio commentary and lyric subtitles.

Menu

The Menu is 16x9 enhanced and animated (spinning gears with moving thumbnails). It is accompanied by an audio snippet from the concert

Video Interview with Peter

This is a reasonably extensive interview (26:46 minutes long) and is surprisingly 16x9 enhanced - they must have shot it using a spare HDTV camera. Peter talks about his career, and how he dealt with being famous, amongst other things. He answers questions posed by a hidden interviewer. Based on this interview, I really warmed to him he comes across as an easy-going, unpretentious and general all-round nice guy. Unfortunately the documentary itself was only shot from the one camera angle, so after a while I lost interest.

Biography

This is a set of text stills featuring a short biography of Peter Frampton, written from the first person perspective.

Discography

This is a set of stills featuring the covers of Peter's albums. The quality of the stills do not seem as good as the same set of stills featured at the beginning of the concert.

Notes

This is just one still showing the contact address for the Peter Frampton "Family of Friends" Fan Club and the URL for the website (www.frampton.com).

R4 vs R1

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

The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on; The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on; Both versions are equally good, and the Region 4 version trades off a high quality PCM stereo soundtrack in return for the higher video resolution of PAL. Choose depending on whether you value audio or video quality higher.

Summary

Peter Frampton-Live In Detroit is one of the best rock concerts I have seen presented on an excellent DVD. If you are a fan of Peter Frampton, my advice is to rush out and buy a copy immediately do not pass Go, do not collect $200 (but take your wallet or at least a credit card with you!). Even if you are not a fan, or haven't heard of Peter before (like myself), you may want to buy or rent it to experience how music DVDs should be made.

The video quality is superb.

The audio quality is superb, although it seems to have been derived from a mix with significant dynamic range compression.

The extras are satisfactory. A commentary track by Peter Frampton or putting the song lyrics onto a subtitle track would have made the DVD perfect.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Christine Tham (read my biography)
Sunday, December 17, 2000
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-626D, using Component output
DisplaySony VPL-VW10HT LCD Projector, ScreenTechnics 16x9 matte white screen (203cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVR-3300
SpeakersFront left/right: B&W DM603; centre: B&W CC6S2, rear left/right: B&W DM601

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