Electric Light Orchestra-Zoom (2001)
Main Menu Introduction
Menu Animation & Audio
Featurette-The Fan Club
Notes-A Brief History Of Zoom
|Year Of Production||2001|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (57:54)||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||Lawrence Jordan|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
English dts 5.1 (1536Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.78:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Electric Light Orchestra or simply ELO, were one of the more unique sounding British groups from the 1970s and 80s. Under the leadership of front-man Jeff Lynne, they combined rock/pop instruments (guitar, keyboards, drums) with orchestral instruments (primarily cellos) to forge a quite distinct sound. I have very strong memories of ELO songs during my childhood. My parents (and several thousand others) had copies of the band's huge selling 70s albums A New World Record, Out Of the Blue, and Discovery playing continuously in the car and at home. Songs such as Rockaria!, Tightrope, Telephone Line, Don't Bring Me Down, Turn To Stone, and Livin' Thing were all big hits for the band, and to this day still figure prominently on radio playlists.
Two things struck me immediately when this disc arrived for review. Firstly the cover states that this is Electric Light Orchestra - Featuring Jeff Lynne. This is important from a marketing aspect. After Jeff Lynne decided to pull the plug on the band in 1986, drummer Bev Bevan gained the rights to the ELO name and continued releasing albums under the name Electric Light Orchestra Part II. The newer incarnation of the band never reached the heights that the older did while Lynne was front-man. By making sure Lynne's name is on the front of the disc (and in four places on the back), punters will realise that this is a 'real' ELO disc and not get it confused with a Part II release. Secondly, the title of the disc is Zoom Tour Live. If I remember rightly, this tour was supposed to be promoting the band's first new album (Zoom) in 14 years but was cancelled before it began due to poor ticket sales. This had me wondering what exactly it was that I'd be watching.
This concert was filmed at CBS Television City in Los Angeles in May 2001 and featured on the PBS network in the United States. This was supposedly a warm-up to the full tour which was to play at several large arenas around the country and feature the gigantic spaceship/laser style production that the band became so famous for in the 70s. Alas, due to meagre ticket sales, it was all cancelled. There was talk that it would be heading to Australia eventually, so for those fans that were planning on going, this disc is the next best thing.
With only two of the original line-up (Jeff Lynne of course and piano/keyboardist Richard Tandy), there was a chance that this wouldn't really sound like ELO, but that worry can be allayed. Jeff Lynne IS ELO and his presence makes the performance sound true to the original material. While the actual performance is not of the same calibre that ELO were capable of at their zenith with large spaceship stages and lasers firing around the stage, I still enjoyed this immensely. It is a more refined and mature performance (the spaceship is much smaller) and there is a good combination of material from the new album and over 15 of the band's classic tunes to please everyone in this ninety minute plus performance.
|1. Do Ya|
2. Evil Woman
4. Strange Magic
5. Livin' Thing
7. Lonesome Lullaby
8. Telephone Line
9. Turn To Stone
10. Just For Love
11. Easy Money
12. Mr Blue Sky
|13. Ma-Ma-Ma Belle|
14. One Summer Dream
16. State Of Mind
17. Can't Get It Out Of My Head
18. Moment in Paradise
19. 10538 Overture
20. Ordinary Dream
21. Shine A Little Love
22. Don't Bring Me Down
23. Roll Over Beethoven
A widescreen concert. These are almost becoming common. This one is presented in an aspect of 1.78:1 and it is also 16x9 enhanced. Magic.
This looks like it was recorded in high definition broadcast quality video, and as such it is generally very sharp throughout, though the blue lighting rig does provide a sort of subtleness to the edges of the performers and the instruments. The net result of this is that they don't really 'jump out' from the background set like the performers do in other concerts that I have seen. There is no trace of any edge enhancement. There are no problems with shadow detail. Grain pops up in a very minor way in some of the solid blue backgrounds, but is not at all disruptive. There is no low level noise.
The colour palette isn't affected by the usual problems associated with so many concert shows. A deep blue light pervades much of the show, lending a very relaxed, moody and at times a bit of a dull effect. When the blue lighting is replaced by a warmer deep orange hue, the detail is much more evident. I preferred the latter stages of the concert when the lighting increased significantly.
There are no MPEG artefacts present, and no video artefacts of any sort. Given the nature and youth of the source material, this is not unexpected.
No subtitles are available on this disc, which is a bit of a shame.
This disc is a dual layered disc with RSDL formatting. The layer change occurs between One Summer Dream and Tightrope at 57:54 and is nicely placed on a audience member who briefly pauses. It is certainly not disruptive to the flow of the show.
There are three audio tracks available for your listening pleasure. Two are Dolby Digital efforts, in 5.1 and 2.0 stereo respectively. The other is a full bitrate (1536 Kb/s) dts 5.1 track. I listened to both 5.1 tracks completely and sampled the Dolby Digital 2.0 track briefly as I scrolled through to the others (it is completely unremarkable after listening to the others - I guess I'm getting spoilt). The Dolby Digital 5.1 track is mastered at a significantly higher volume than the other two tracks so be careful when switching to it for the first time.
The Dolby Digital and dts tracks are similar in terms of quality but very different in terms of delivery. I don't really prefer one over the other, as they both have their respective merits. The Dolby Digital sound seemed warmer and the bass LFE channel was certainly more pronounced. The dts track offers richer and more precise vocals. Both tracks offer similar enveloping sound with much use of the rear channels.
The dialogue is excellent. Jeff Lynne is the only person doing any talking and even in his quite strong Birmingham accent comes across very clearly. There are no problems with audio sync. The vocals are presented with a very wide soundstage, almost constantly emanating from the front three channels and often from the rears as well.
There is plenty of surround channel use from both 5.1 soundtracks. The usual sounds of audience clapping and cheering from the rears emanate throughout the performance to impart that 'front-row' feeling. There is also a significant amount of rear channel use by both the instruments and the vocals which can make for something of an unnatural sound, but it is different and not overblown in this case.
The sub is nicely integrated. The Dolby Digital 5.1 track makes more use of it than the dts track, but both offer seamless bass throughout.
|Surround Channel Use|
Really neat menu animation is present on this disc. The spaceship theme from many of ELO's albums is present, with the menu options presented on sliding metal panels making that Star Wars style sound as they roll back and forth. Quite nicely done.
Running for 9:29 minutes, this is presented full screen 1.33:1 with Dolby Digital 2.0 audio. It is not 16x9 enhanced. It features Jeff Lynne answering a set of questions that are printed on the screen (ie. there is no-one actually asking them). Jeff is asked why ELO was originally disbanded, why he got it back together, who his musical heroes are, and what he has been doing in the 15 years since the last official ELO album. He briefly discusses some of the new songs from the Zoom album and how they were inspired. This was obviously recorded before the PBS show and before the tours were cancelled as Jeff explains that he is quite looking forward to the concerts.
A brief 2:04 minute featurette that shows footage of several of the dedicated ELO fans as they are about to enter the studio for the recording of this concert. They are mostly asked where they have come from (a couple of them are from Australia), and what ELO and Jeff Lynne mean to them. Presented full screen 1.33:1 (not 16x9 enhanced) and with Dolby Digital 2.0 audio.
Five static screens of text, detailing the history of the making of the Zoom album and what Jeff Lynne had been doing up until the time he started work on it. Much of the material here is repeated from the Interview. Full Screen 1.33:1 and not 16x9 enhanced.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The Region 1 disc is specified exactly the same as the Region 4 title.
This disc cannot be faulted. A decent length concert (98 minutes), 16x9 enhanced widescreen video, and a choice of Dolby Digital 5.1 and dts soundtracks.
The performance from the band is polished and extremely slick. Fans of the band (and there are many of them), who have been starved of any concert performances in the past can rejoice that this is quality product and well worth a listen.
|DVD||Loewe Xemix 5006DD, using RGB 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|