Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble

Live From Austin Texas

This review is sponsored by

Details At A Glance

Category Music Theatrical Trailer(s) None
Rating Other Trailer(s) None
Year Released 1995 Commentary Tracks None
Running Time 62:29 minutes Other Extras None
RSDL/Flipper No/No
Cast & Crew
Start Up Movie
Region 1,2,3,4,5,6 Director Gary Menotti
Epic Music Video
Sony Music
Starring Stevie Ray Vaughan

Double Trouble:
Reese Wynans
Tommy Shannon
Chris Layton

Case Amaray
RRP $34.95 Music Stevie Ray Vaughan

Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame MPEG None
Widescreen Aspect Ratio No 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 No Smoking No
Subtitles English Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, music "Tick Tock"

Plot Synopsis

    When the list of great blues guitarists is compiled for the twentieth century, there will be many names put forward for inclusion. Some obvious, some perhaps not so obvious. Similarly, when the list of simply great guitarists is compiled, there will also be many names put forward. The name of Stevie Ray Vaughan will figure prominently on both lists. Indeed, when talking about THE greatest guitarist of the twentieth century, there will be many who will argue in favour of Stevie Ray Vaughan. Whilst I may not be amongst those, there is no doubt that watching this man play a guitar is an experience indeed. If you are looking for a charismatic guitar player, players who can really make the guitar sing, then to my mind there are only two choices - Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan. Yet coincidentally, both of these great guitarists were destined for very short life spans - Stevie Ray Vaughan died in a helicopter crash on 27th August, 1990 at the age of 35 - although both will be an influence upon guitar players as long as people are around to pick up the instrument and start to strum.

    This DVD is the combination of the two appearances made by Stevie Ray Vaughan on Austin City Limits, a television show obviously made in Austin, Texas. The first was in 1983 as a slightly unsure, raw talent and the second in 1989 as an assured performer, comfortable with his talent. The track listings are:

from 1983 and: from 1989. In addition, the closing credits are accompanied by the song Tick Tock, whilst the posthumous video Little Wing is included as a bonus.

    The two live segments make an interesting, if somewhat brief, comparison. However, considering that the man died almost ten years ago, we should be grateful that we have as much of his talent on offer as we have, and this DVD presents an enjoyable enough concert experience of a master guitarist in every sense of the word.

Transfer Quality


    Whilst this was obviously sourced from two made-for-television events, the overall quality is pretty good. As usual for Sony Music DVDs however, this is an NTSC format disc and you will need a display device capable of accepting and displaying the data in order to see anything meaningful when watching this DVD.

    The concert is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and of course it is not 16x9 enhanced.

    Given that the source material is eleven years and seventeen years old, we have to accept that sharpness and detail is not going to match more recent efforts. This is not helped by the fact that is suffers the inferior resolution of NTSC as well as (presumably) being shot on videotape. That said however, this is generally of good quality throughout, although obviously the more recent concert footage shows a noticeably higher degree of sharpness and definition. This is due in part to the more subdued stage lighting used compared to the earlier concert. The transfer is very clear throughout whilst shadow detail is respectable enough although again obviously not in the same league as more recent efforts. There did not appear to be any low level noise in the transfer.

    The colours have come up very well in the transfer, although the earlier concert does exhibit some washout and flare problems as a result of the more intense (blue) stage lighting. However, in comparison to other transfers I have seen, this is overall a much more acceptable looking transfer. The later concert footage is better than good and displays a very nice rich tone to the colours that totally belies the source of the concert footage. The saturation was reasonably well handled throughout, although there were a couple of instances where the intense stage lighting really worked against the transfer and the blue colours in particular started to flare a little.

    There were no apparent MPEG artefacts in the transfer. There was a very minor and barely noticeable problem with aliasing during the transfer, which in all honesty is probably more due to the inherent lack of solid resolution of an NTSC transfer rather than actual aliasing as a result of the transfer process. There was no problem with film artefacts in the transfer.

    You should note that subtitles (or more correctly the song lyrics) are not available for all songs, Voodoo Chile missing out on the treatment: since this is a predominantly instrumental track, this is not of real concern though.


    Well, Sony Music DVDs so far seem to be something of a crap shoot as far as the sound quality is concerned, and this is no exception. Once again we have an extremely poor Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack on offer here, and I am being very polite - the words that I really wanted to use were very much shorter and generally far more to the point. I appreciate that I am extremely bass-sensitive when it comes to soundtracks, but this one is utterly appalling.

    There are two English audio tracks on the DVD, a Dolby Digital 5.1 track and a Linear PCM 48/16 2.0 track. I attempted to listen to the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, but gave up after five minutes as I found it completely unlistenable and therefore stuck to the default Linear PCM track.

    The music and vocals came up pretty well in the Linear PCM soundtrack, but the Dolby Digital soundtrack is an entirely different matter. The problem with the Dolby Digital soundtrack is that the sound mixer obviously thought that this was not a DVD featuring a master guitar player and decided to mix the bass so strongly in the mix that it persistently drowned out not just the vocal track but also the instrumental tracks. If you like to crank up bass purely to annoy the neighbours, then this DVD is for you. However, if you actually want to watch and listen to music from a master guitarist, you have no option but to listen to the Linear PCM track. Despite my best efforts I was simply unable to screw the bass contribution down enough to get anything even closely approximating a decently balanced Dolby Digital soundtrack. Anything more than two minutes listening I was completely unable to manage, and extended listening at normal listening levels would certainly result in equipment damage and/or structural damage in my view - not to mention potentially long-term hearing damage. Quite why Sony engineers seem to be incapable of consistently producing a decently balanced Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack I have no idea, but the only thing that saves this DVD from the scrap heap (of the Hall of Shame) is the fact that the Linear PCM soundtrack is an entirely different matter all together is actually a damn good soundtrack.

    Audio sync did not appear to be a problem with either of the soundtracks.

    Since the bass channel so utterly drowns out everything else on the Dolby Digital soundtrack, it is very hard to say anything about the surround channel contributions on the Dolby Digital soundtrack! And, since the Linear PCM soundtrack is pure stereo, there is nothing to say about either surround channel or bass channel contributions in that soundtrack. I would certainly recommend avoiding the Dolby Digital soundtrack (which thankfully is quite easy since the Linear PCM is the default). The Linear PCM soundtrack is nice and bright, a little too recessed in the vocal track perhaps, but infinitely more listenable and pleasurable overall.


    Once again, this contains less than a doughnut hole, in common with far too many DVDs from this source (where is the biography of the great man, or at least a comprehensive discography?) unless you count the bonus video (and I obviously don't).


R4 vs R1

    This is the Region 1 release so we have an instance where R4 = R1, in all respects bar one: as again is quite common for Sony Music DVDs, our NTSC version has different soundtracks to the pure Region 1 NTSC version. Still, given that the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is so bad, the excellence of the Linear PCM soundtrack ensures that there is no real difference between Region 4 and Region 1.


    Well this is a very pleasurable look at one of the great guitarists of the twentieth century ruined by a shockingly bad Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. If Dolby Digital 5.1 is essential for you, this had better be avoided, but if you have no sound preferences then this is still a worthwhile buy as the Linear PCM soundtrack is very good. There are no extras however, which is not guaranteed to engender good relations with the buying public.

    A good video transfer for both its age and the source.

    A shocking Dolby Digital audio transfer offset by a very good Linear PCM audio transfer.

    Nothing in the extras package at all.

Ratings (out of 5)

Audio (Linear PCM)
(Dolby Digital)
Overall (Linear PCM)
(Dolby Digital)

© Ian Morris (have a laugh, check out the bio)
12th June 2000

Review Equipment
DVD Pioneer DV-515; S-video output
Display Sony Trinitron Wega 84cm. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Audio Decoder Built in
Amplification Yamaha RXV-795. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Speakers Energy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL