|Year Released||1999||Commentary Tracks||None|
|Running Time||74:42 minutes||Other Extras||Menu Animation & Audio
Music Video-I Will Go With You
Music Video-I Will Go With You (Big Red Remix)
|Region||1,2,3,4,5,6||Director||Michael A. Simon|
|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||
|Subtitles||English||Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
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
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
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.
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.
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.
The video quality is remarkably good.
The audio quality is good, but not great.
There are limited extras.
© Michael Demtschyna
(read my bio)
2nd June 2000
|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|