Joe Satriani-Live in San Francisco (2001)

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Released 3-Dec-2001

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Music Menu Animation & Audio
Multiple Angles-Time; Devil's Slide; Crush Of Love
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 2001
Running Time 147:39 (Case: 150)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (61:37)
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By None Given

Sony Music
Starring Joe Satriani
Case Click-Double
RPI $39.95 Music Joe Satriani

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Linear PCM 48/24 2.0 (2304Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 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 first heard Joe Satriani on JJJ one night whilst heading home from work. The track was Return to Shalla-Bal and I was instantly hooked. Since then, I've managed to collect nearly all his albums and when the chance to review this DVD came along, I snapped it up. Filmed in concert over a couple of nights (from the way it's cut, possibly even 3 or 4 nights) this is a selection of some of his best and favourite tracks presented in a very stylish package with some superb sound and visuals.

    Some might consider this one only for the fans, but any first-timer buying this off-the-shelf with a view to sampling his music will find this a very presentable disc that shows off his amazing talent brilliantly. Worthy of a look for any discerning 'axeman' as well.

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

Track Listing

1. Time
2. Devil's Slide
3. The Crush Of Love
4. Satch Boogie
5. Borg Sex
6. Flying In A Blue Dream
7. Ice 9
8. Cool #9
9. Circles
10. Until We Say Goodbye
11. Ceremony
12. The Extremist
13. Summer Song
14. House Full of Bullets
15. One Big Rush
16. Raspberry Jam Delta-V
17. Crystal Planet
18. Love Thing
19. Bass Solo
20. Mystical Potato Head Groove Thing
21. Always With Me, Always With You
22. Big Bad Moon
23. Friends
24. Surfing With The Alien
25. Rubina

Transfer Quality


    Quite obviously, these two discs are either direct-from-source tape or off a master print since they are almost totally flawless in regards to the video presentation.

    The only real letdown as far as I was concerned with the video on these discs was their presentation in 1.33:1/Full Frame and not widescreen mode. I guess that's more a personal issue though, and no reflection on the transfer or the original source material.

    The sharpness was quite exceptional with no trace of edge enhancement noted. Shadow detail was a little lacking due to the lighting at times, but since there isn't a whole lot going on in the background that you need to discern, this wasn't a problem. Grain was very minimal, only raising its head where smoke was used and even then it was almost unnoticeable. Low level noise was not detected.

    Typical of a concert, the colour is all over the place. Excessive reds, greens, blues and purples dominate for the most part. Where normal lighting is used, everything looked fine, skin tones on the mark and no bleeding was seen. Saturation is pretty self-evident as you'll note, but you get used to it within a few minutes.

    This is almost a pristine effort in regards to artefacts and compression problems. If you wanted to be really picky there was some minor aliasing and pixelization on offer, but you need to look for them rather than them being obvious problems. The normal film artefacts are totally absent making this a stylish presentation.

    There are no subtitles on either disc, but then the amount of singing and talking involved make this almost irrelevant. The only thing that might have been of value would have been the song titles before each track, but again this is a personal preference only and I am sure purists would disagree with having the vision marred with burned-in titles. All-in-all though, I doubt there will be too grievance with the lack of subtitles.

    The concert is split over two discs using RSDL discs. Disc 1 had a layer change at 61:37 and Disc 2 at 44:17. Due to the nature of any live concert, any location for the changes would have probably been noticeable. As it is, these are well-placed so as to interfere as little as possible with the flow of proceedings.

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


    There are two soundtracks in use on these two discs. The first is a Dolby Digital 5.1 track at 448 kilobits per second and the alternate is a PCM track at 2304 kilobits per second (2.0 channels, 48kHz sampling rate, 24 bit sampling depth). To be honest, after listening extensively to both, I doubt whether you'll be able to make much of a case for either being preferable unless you prefer surround channel activity and an active subwoofer. For the purists, the PCM track is every bit as listenable as the Dolby Digital track. My personal preference for the most part (being a philistine) is to go for the surround sound offered by the Dolby Digital track, although I did listen extensively to the PCM track, especially on Disc 2 (kudos to one of our readers, Ben, for alerting us to a MAJOR flaw with this track).

    There is little dialogue on offer but it is clear and understandable. The audio sync on Disc 1 is fine on both Dolby Digital 5.1 and PCM tracks, but the second disc has a real problem with the PCM soundtrack. A delay of approximately 1 second makes this very annoying when tied into the video. The lag is consistent over the entire disc and makes it almost unwatchable at times. Just watch the track Big Bad Moon (the only one Satriani sings on) for just how obvious it is. If you are playing the DVD as a CD/via headphones or with the video off, you won't have a problem.

    The Dolby Digital soundtrack offers a decent amount of surround usage. There is no separation of the rears and it simply adds a dimension to the whole sound envelope that, unless you are a purist, is hard to go past. The surrounds are very active throughout both discs. The Dolby Digital 5.1 track offers some nice redirection to the subwoofer without going overboard. For the most part, the sound is subterranean but occasionally certain songs cut in and give you that hard thumping sound you want to hear from the .1 channel.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


Menu Animation & Audio

    Not much to rave about with the animation, but the music overlay (Disc1/Track3 - The Crush of Love) is good.

Multiple Angles

    Three songs are chosen from Disc 1; Time, Devil's Love and The Crush of Love. Interesting concept with some unfortunate problems. Far too many times the cameras were pointing at the floor, shoes, legs, anything but the performers and far too often the angles were all wrong (personal opinion only). A more fruitful use would have been to concentrate each camera on one of the band members, on the audience or just as a general overview. The other slight annoyance (for some I suppose a feature) was having inserts on the left of the screen showing what each camera was showing, which had the effect of reducing the picture area quite substantially. Nevertheless, an interesting alternative for each of the tracks which may encourage any future recordings/DVDs to incorporate more of this.


    With a running time of 8:59, this is a fairly short journey through the setting up of the show, Satriani's influences and some of the 'gimmicks' he employs with his guitars. A set of 3 small screens with Joe in centre picture explaining things while you see added bits in the other two screens. Due to the compressed nature of the pictures, there were some quite noticeable artefacts, such as aliasing and moiré.


    Click on each song and it takes you through a discography, the album it is from, possibly some background on the disc and the tracks on each of his records. A nice addition for the novice, for the fan of only marginal interest probably.

R4 vs R1

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

    The Region 1 version of this DVD appears identically featured to the local release, although no mention is made of an audio sync problem with Disc 2 in what limited references we could find.


    A decently presented 2 disc set with one major audio flaw, this is definitely one for the fans and also those who enjoy a great guitarist. Satriani may not jump and prance about but he certainly can play that 'axe'.

    The video quality makes this DVD worthy of a place in any collection. Solid, spectacular, bright and almost flawless (except not in widescreen).

    For the most part, the audio is the equal of the video. Only a spectacular flaw in Disc 2's PCM soundtrack makes this less than stellar. Otherwise, it's a joy to listen to.

    The extras are pretty standard for a concert-type DVD, but the multi-angle tracks plus the backstage documentary were nice additions.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Carl Berry (read my bio)
Wednesday, December 26, 2001
Review Equipment
DVDLoewe Xemix 5006DD, using RGB output
DisplayLoewe Xelos (81cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderRotel RSP-976. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationRotel RB 985 MkII
SpeakersJBL TLX16s Front Speakers, Polk Audio LS fx di/bipole Rear Speakers, Polk Audio CS350-LS Centre Speaker, M&KV-75 Subwoofer

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Comments (Add)
audio problem? not on my copy! - Anonymous