Simply Red: A Starry Night Special Edition DVD Review
PictureThe picture is good but not great. There are plenty of occasions where the lighting bleaches everything out with bad colour bleeding. Obviously stage lights move and create flaring, but the reds and blues here really make a dog's dinner of the screen at times. Also Mick Hucknall's face is sometimes burned out by bright white lights. Of course it doesn't help that his pale features make Dracula's complexion look like Omar Sharif's anyway. Apart from the wide shots, the picture is usually sharp despite the dim environment. However, the crowd shots can be excessively grainy, which jars when it cuts back to the stage. Perhaps they were shot on a lower quality film stock or on video. The shots of the band are usually clean with good contrast levels but the transfer does show compression artefacts on occasion.
SoundThe disc has Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound, DTS surround, and Dolby Digital 2.0. The surround sound really enhances the cheering crowd. They roar along with the music without swamping it. With the DD5.1 the clapping is crisper and the basslines more pronounced than on the stereo. I was a little disappointed by the drums as they are not as beefy sounding on the DD5.1 as I'd hoped. The DTS mix generally cleans everything up a touch, making all the instruments a little more distinct. All three mixes are very good indeed, no distortion or drop outs. The re-mastering has done a sterling job.
ExtrasThe only extra is an interview with Mick Hucknall recorded back in 1992, mixed with backstage shots and views of Hamburg. It shows that Simply Red is really more a vehicle for him rather than a traditional band, and he explains his reasons for writing this song and that.
VerdictThis concert DVD is a great introduction to Simply Red, and probably indispensible to a fan. Some more extras would have been nice but with re-mastered sound, re-edited visuals, and nine new tracks, it's a fine DVD release.
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