Stones' DVD set @ BB - Anamorphic?

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Mike_Skill, Jan 7, 2004.

  1. Mike_Skill

    Mike_Skill Stunt Coordinator

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    Anybody have this 4 disc set that's exclusive to Best Buy? Care to give me a brief review? There's no mention on the package as to whether or not the concerts are 16x9 etc.

    Thanks in advance
     
  2. Sean Cauley

    Sean Cauley Stunt Coordinator

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    I've watched it, but not on my roommate's widescreen TV, so I don't know about anamorphic, but I think only one of the discs is in widescreen anyway (the Twickenham Stadium concert). The Madison Square Garden arena-size show is taken directly from the HBO special (but edited for time, I think); I'm still not clear why HBO did the special full-screen when their Springsteen concert in 2000 was a success in widescreen and HD (even so far as to be a sample clip in Best Buy's TV department HD reel). I can't remember whether the Paris theater show is widescreen or not (it seems like the "bootleg" deleted clips on the documentary disc were in widescreen, but the show on its own disc wasn't). Then again, I can't remember, so I'm not really being very helpful, am I?

    Regardless of aspect ratio presentation, from a pure content standpoint, it's a great set for the price. Three two-hour concert videos and a one-hour documentary (plus some shorter featurettes on all the discs), for about $30? I'm glad I bought it.

    Content review:
    Disc 1: The documentary is a behind-the-scenes look at everything from the tour announcement (the blimp stunt) to opening night, with scenes of the sets being designed for arenas and stadiums, the band recording the tracks for the 40 Licks compilation, rehearsals for the tour, set/lighting tests, backstage hubbub and all that. There's also a shorter doc (20-25 mins) about some of the band's experiences in different parts of the world (the show in India in the pouring rain shows just what troupers these guys still are), and a featurette on the "Toronto Rocks" tourism-boosting festival concert last summer, advertising that a DVD will soon be available. Also, there are songs cut from the theater show available on their own on this disc.

    Disc 2: The HBO Madison Square Garden concert, less a couple of songs (including, if I recall, "Sympathy for the Devil"). Pretty good, and the closest approximation of the show I caught live on the tour (United Center, Chicago, the first show in the second city to get the tour in late summer 2002), but nothing new if you've seen the HBO show. Bonus features include band interviews (called "commentary," though that's not what that word usually means to DVD fans) about the origins of songs (these are found on all three concert discs) and a featurette on the band's work with Sheryl Crow (who opened for them often and performed "Honky Tonk Women" with them in this show).

    Disc 3: Twickenham Stadium, London. Great representation of an incredible stadium show. More hits and less obscurity than the arena show (as was the M.O. for the tour), and the video presentation made better use of the stage lights, pyro, etc. than the arena show disc did, I thought. Strangely, "Honky Tonk Women" appears on all three discs, even though the arena and stadium presentations are virtually identical; it seems odd that that wasn't one that they cut to avoid overlap. Bonus features include more "commentary" and a featurette on the band's work with AC/DC, who played several European festival gigs and whose members Malcolm and Angus Young shared the stage with the Stones a few times on the tour.

    Disc 4: Paris (can't recall the name of the theater). Intimate show, eclectic song list--what the fans are dying for. Good show. More "commentary" available.

    Solid set; after first viewing, you may enjoy it more for the music than the video (playing it with the TV off, for example), but it's worth the relatively low price, even as a triple-live album.
     
  3. Mike_Skill

    Mike_Skill Stunt Coordinator

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    WOW! that's more of a review than I bargained for! Thanks so much for taking the time. I'll pick this up. Heck, I owe it to you to buy it just because the effort you put in.

    Thanks again!
     
  4. Sean Cauley

    Sean Cauley Stunt Coordinator

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    Awwww....:b
     
  5. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Lead Actor
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    HBO produced the Rolling Stones show - it was a live broadcast that they coordinated.

    Springsteen had his shows taped with no contract or specific plan for a release. The people from his regular tour video crew supervised the taping of those shows, and edited them. He delivered the finished product to HBO - it's not so much that they decided to give Springsteen a widescreen show so much as that's what Springsteen offered them.
     
  6. Sean Cauley

    Sean Cauley Stunt Coordinator

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    You know, I completely forgot Springsteen's show was pre-recorded.
     
  7. Colin Jacobson

    Colin Jacobson Producer

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  8. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Lead Actor
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    Colin, from your review on your site:



    I was at that MSG show (as well as the "rehearsal" show two nights earlier), and I felt the same way. I first saw the Stones on this tour in Hartford in October '02, and that was a very nice show. The first 2003 MSG show was good, and then the second one was... well, you've got the DVD.

    I think part of the reason for that may be that they pretty much did the same setlist two shows in a row, in the same venue no less. (They dropped one song, and Keith chose different songs for the HBO broadcast, but otherwise it was identical.) HBO had a whole website dedicated to the broadcast, and in the days before they had the video director's diary on the site, and it seemed (from my point of view) that he was injecting himself too much into their working process, staging too much of the show. They picked what set they were going to do several weeks before, and did that set in a couple other venues before MSG so the video crew could check it out and start planning what kind of camera angles they wanted, etc. Some bands do the same show night after night, but it seemed like on this tour, the Stones were making an effort not to do the same thing back to back; even if they did choose from the same group of songs, they didn't do the same thing exactly the same each night - until this HBO special came around. By the time the show came around, they may have been tired of doing those songs in that order, tired of rehearsing for cameras, and playing it all very safe.

    At the show itself, the sound was turned down very low - I think they did this so they could get a better crowd noise recording. Needless to say, though, on TV it might sound good, but when you're actually there at the show and you can hear the people sitting next to you louder than what's onstage, it can take you out of the show. They also brought in a ton of extra lights, so it never got dark in there. Though there were more lights onstage, I could still see everyone around me perfectly clearly. It felt weird to be there, and the crowd seemed taken out of the show by this, which probably didn't help the band.

    By contrast, when Bruce Springsteen recorded his HBO show, it wasn't live, so I don't think he was as concerned about making mistakes or playing it safe. They also didn't bring in a lot of extra gear beyond the additional cameras. If it wasn't for the signs posted in the lobby, you might not even know it was being taped just from being there. In other words, it was a regular performance that they just happened to have taped. At the Stones show, it was obvious that you were standing in a big TV studio, and all of the energy and effort seemed to go into playing for the cameras, and not for the people in the building. I think that fails every time, especially in large venues - the people at the show notice it and feel awkward, and on TV it looks staged. I'd much rather have a DVD of a concert where not all of the footage is perfect, and the band makes a couple mistakes, as long as it feels more real. That's the reason I really love the Bruce Springsteen Barcelona DVD that came out recently. Half of the show was broadcast live on TV, but Bruce is playing to that audience, not us in TV land.. I think he only acknowledged the cameras once. He does make mistakes that they leave in (including a pretty humorous goof in "Spirit In The Night"), the script isn't followed letter-perfect, and he even decides to do a couple songs that weren't originally on the setlist. Because the performance isn't being directed, it comes across as being much more natural, which makes it more enjoyable for repeated viewing.

    Just my two cents...
     

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