Donna Summer

VH1 Presents Live & More Encore!

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Details At A Glance

Category Music Theatrical Trailer(s) None
Rating Other Trailer(s) None
Year Released 1999 Commentary Tracks None
Running Time 74:42 minutes Other Extras Menu Animation & Audio
Biography-Donna Summer
Notes-Chart Positions
Music Video-I Will Go With You
Music Video-I Will Go With You (Big Red Remix)
RSDL/Flipper No/No
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region 1,2,3,4,5,6 Director Michael A. Simon
Epic Music Video
Sony Music
Starring Donna Summer
Case Black Brackley
RRP $34.95 Music Donna Summer

Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame (NTSC) MPEG None
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None Dolby Digital 5.1
16x9 Enhancement No Soundtrack Languages English (Linear PCM 48/16 2.0, 1536Kb/s)
English (Dolby Digital 5.1, 448Kb/s)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio 1.33:1
Macrovision ? Smoking No
Subtitles English Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

Plot Synopsis

    Ahh. The 70s. An era best forgotten. Forgettable fashions. Forgettable music.

    Few musicians survived the death of disco in the late 1970s. The very few that did are also the very few that were any good. Donna Summer survived and is presented here in a stunningly powerful live performance recorded in 1999. This is a different Donna Summer than you may remember. She comes across as a very mature, strong, self-confident woman with deep personal convictions. Her music is now performed for her and her fans, not for her record company. Nowhere is this more apparent than in Dim All The Lights. As she herself more-or-less puts it during the introduction to this song, she wrote this song one way, but her record company at the time made her record it in another way. For this performance, she performs the song both ways.

    If you are expecting merely a rehash of her hits from the 70s, you may be disappointed. She certainly trots out a goodly number of her hits from the 70s, but is not afraid to let her new material speak for itself. She is also not afraid to interact with her audience, frequently bantering with the audience between songs. The end result is a great and varied concert experience with a mix of new and old songs, up-tempo and slow songs, all performed with a grace, dignity and power that is deserving of the moniker of Diva.

    The track listing is as follows;

1. Program Start
2. MacArthur Park
3. This Time I Know It's For Real
4. I Feel Love
5. On The Radio
6. Someone To Watch Over Me
7. If There Is Music Here
8. No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)
9. Riding Through The Storm
10. Don't Wanna Work
11. Nobody
12. Dim All The Lights
13. She Works Hard For The Money
14. Bad Girls
15. Hot Stuff
16. My Life
17. Last Dance
18. End Credits

Transfer Quality


    This is the best NTSC concert DVD that I have ever seen in terms of quality, and holds its own against the better transfers in any format that I have seen.

    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1. It is not 16x9 enhanced. The disc is NTSC formatted, so your equipment will need to be compatible with NTSC in order to display this disc correctly.

    This is a recording of a live concert performed in 1999. There is little to no concession made to the fact that this concert was being videotaped, and hence extremes of lighting are the norm rather than the exception. That sounds like an excuse for a poor quality transfer, but nothing could be further from the truth here. The transfer is uniformly sharp and clear, with an unexpectedly high level of detail being revealed by the transfer. The line structure of the image does become apparent on occasion, particularly with large on-screen movements, but this is all forgivable given the limitations of the NTSC system. Extremes of lighting are handled very well indeed by this DVD, with no instances of excessive blooming or flaring in the image, and a truly excellent level of shadow detail to be found in the lit portions of the image. Shadow detail does disappear when the camera focusses on areas of the concert which are unlit, such as some crowd shots, but if there is any form of light on a person or object, you can see it clearly and can appreciate the shades of black that make it up. In short, wherever shadow detail is seen in the source image, it is seen on the DVD. A particularly impressive aspect of this transfer is the fact that there is no low level noise, allowing the many deep blacks to come through cleanly in the image.

    Colours were accurately and strongly rendered according to the stage lighting at the time. There was never any colour bleeding. Of particular note is the absence of chroma noise. There are many shots in this transfer with very large fields of blue or red, usually dead-sitters for chroma noise, but in all of these instances these splashes of colour were rendered impeccably and with absolute purity of colour.

    There were no MPEG artefacts noted in this transfer. The only video artefact noted is more a technical issue with one of the cameras than anything else. One of the cameras facing the left side of the stage wobbled up and down somewhat during close-ups. Fortunately, this camera angle was infrequently used, and so this is not a particularly disruptive artefact.


    There are two audio tracks on this DVD; the default English Linear PCM 48/16 2.0, and an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. I listened predominantly to the Dolby Digital 5.1 track, but compared the default Linear PCM track at times.

    WARNING: Before you insert this DVD, turn your volume level WAY down - at least 20dB below your normal listening level. The opening sound splash and menu audio are LOUD. Extremely LOUD. System damaging LOUD. You have been warned.

    Once we get into the program proper, the volume level of both the Linear PCM and the Dolby Digital soundtracks return to a more reasonable listening level. Indeed, I listened to the early part of the concert at above reference level, but found myself gradually decreasing the volume of the programme as it progressed, as it seemed to get louder as it went.

    Sony Music have copped a fair bit of flack from us in regards to their 5.1 remixes. Many of them have sounded oddly balanced. Fortunately, this is not the case here. This is a very natural sounding and reasonably full sounding 5.1 remix that is at least the equivalent of its accompanying Linear PCM mix.

    The vocals are spread across the front soundstage whilst still being firmly anchored in the center channel. They are always clear and easy to understand, and Donna Summer's powerful voice comes through at all times without even a hint of distortion. There were no audio sync problems noted.

    The surround channels were sparingly used to fill out the soundstage. The mix is mostly frontal, with a broad and wide front soundstage supported by a much softer but quite satisfactory rear channel mix. The audience noise is placed more towards the rear of the soundstage, but still remains quite frontal overall. Comparisons between the Linear PCM audio track and the Dolby Digital audio track shows that the vocals are better separated from the music and the crowd noise in the Dolby Digital soundtrack.

    The .1 channel was used a little variably by the Dolby Digital soundtrack. It tended to be a little on the soft side, even during the more up-tempo songs, failing to really energize the room. The bass in the Linear PCM soundtrack was more strongly present than in the Dolby Digital mix, and was more satisfying to listen to. However, as mentioned previously, the Dolby Digital soundtrack has better separation between the individual elements of the mix. Both soundtracks had their relative merits, but all-in-all I preferred the sound of the Dolby Digital mix.


    There are a small number of extras on this DVD which are variable in quality.

Menu Audio & Animation

    This is extensive and spread nicely throughout the entire menu structure. The menu audio is LOUD, and you will need to back off substantially on your normal listening level. Be particularly aware of this at the end of the programme, when the DVD returns to the main menu. If you do not anticipate this return, your ears and your system will be severely blasted.


    This is an extensive biography for Donna Summer which is presented as scrolling text. Static screens would have been better as the scrolling is too slow. Nonetheless, it makes for good reading.


    This is a series of images of Donna Summer's album covers. They are too small to be seen clearly, making this extra of little use.

Chart Positions

    This is a listing of all of Donna Summer's charting songs and albums, the positions they reached on the relevant chart and the number of weeks they stayed in the charts. Boring unless you are into that sort of thing.

Music Video - I Will Go With You

    This is an Americanized version of an Andrea Bocelli/Sarah Brightman duet that was a big hit in Europe. I was not enamoured of the original, and even less so of the remake.

    I'll take a leaf out of Dean's book here, and sum up this extra and the next one succinctly and without mincing words; this is crap.

Music Video - I Will Go With You (Big Red Remix)

    This is remixed crap.

R4 vs R1

    The Region 1 and Region 4 version of this DVD appear to differ slightly in the audio mixes present on the DVD. The Region 1 version appears to have a Dolby Digital 5.1 and a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack. Our version has a Dolby Digital 5.1 and a Linear PCM 2.0 soundtrack. Accordingly, I would sway towards the local version of this DVD in view of the bonus presence of the uncompressed soundtrack.


    Donna Summer-VH1 Presents Live And More Encore! is a great concert presented on a superb DVD.

    The video quality is remarkably good.

    The audio quality is good, but not great.

    There are limited extras.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Michael Demtschyna (read my bio)
2nd June 2000

Review Equipment
DVD Loewe Xemix 5006DD, using RGB & S-Video outputs
Display Loewe Art-95 95cm direct view CRT in 4:3 mode, via the RGB & S-Video inputs. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Audio Decoder Denon AVD-2000 Dolby Digital AddOn Decoder, used as a standalone processor. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Amplification 2 x EA Playmaster 100W per channel stereo amplifiers for Left, Right, Left Rear and Right Rear; Philips 360 50W per channel stereo amplifier for Centre and Subwoofer
Speakers Philips S2000 speakers for Left, Right; Polk Audio CS-100 Centre Speaker; Apex AS-123 speakers for Left Rear and Right Rear; Hsu Research TN-1220HO subwoofer