Blondie: Live By Request DVD Review
PictureThe material here is anamorphically enhanced and presented in 1.78:1 ratio. Offering a bright, vivid palette of colours, which never seem to get out of control and an image that remains free of digital artefacts. Footage in the bonus tracks is taken from the same studio recording so is also free of problems. The show does have a slight “processed” look to it but I suspect this is down to the fact that this was a show recorded in a studio for television (rather than a live gig) and it doesn't detract from, what is generally, a very nice quality image.
SoundUnusually for Warner (and music videos in general) “Live By Request” features not only a Dolby Digital 2.0 audio track but also a choice of Dolby Digital or DTS 5.1 tracks. Putting the three tracks in order of quality I'd have to start with the vanilla 2.0 soundtrack. There's nothing particularly wrong with it but compared with the two multi-channel tracks it sounds rather flat and seems to lack the dynamics and “live” atmosphere offered by the 5.1 tracks. Next would be the Dolby Digital 5.1 track with the DTS track just pipping it to the post. As with Warners release of “Travis: Live at the palace” the mix here does offer more than a simple music/audience split. Whilst the rear channels do carry ambient effects (including the audience getting involved in the show), we also have music mixed in, as well as a little reverb, adding to the music's presence. It's here that the DTS track just edges past the Dolby Digital one with a slightly wider (and more believable) sound stage, but there's very, very little in it. Very good all round.
ExtrasThe extras here are limited to a photo gallery, music video taken from the new album and four bonus tracks recorded, but not broadcast, as part of the “Live By Request” show. The bonus tracks are definitely the pick of the crop here, presented in anamorphic 16:9 video and with the same audio options as the main show, the quality is great. The four tracks are split between new material taken from “The Curse Of Blondie” (“End To End” and “Hello Joe”) and older tracks (“Presence Dear(I'm Always Touched By)” and “Dreams Lost On Me”). The (strange) music video to “Good Boys” is also available but is presented in DD 2.0 only which feels very flat after the DD 5.1 or DTS offerings of the main show and bonus tracks, it also seems to lack the energy of the live version available in the main show which outclasses it in energy and delivery. Closing out the extra features is a photo gallery containing shots taken before, during and after the show.
VerdictA very nice package. Some really good tracks performed by a band that still has its presence and raw energy even after 30 years of performing together (well, on and off). A shame about the presenter and live phone callers but there's always the set list menu! Definitely a keeper for fans of the band or of live music.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £15.99
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