Pina Bausch in Dancing Dreams (First Run DVD) + Graham Parker & The Figs – Live At The FTC (Image DVD/CD Set) +
INXS – Mystify (1997/Eagle DVD) +
Frank Zappa – The Torture Never Stop (Eagle DVD) + Slaves To The Rhythm – Live At Wembley
Arena (Trevor Horn Charity Tribute/2008/MVD DVD)
Picture: C+/B-/C+/C/B- Sound: C+/B-/B-/C+/B- Extras: B-/C+/B-/B-/C+ Documentary/Concerts: B/B-/B-/B-/B
the record labels have somehow not been able to embrace Blu-ray, they have also
not supported DVD as much as they used to, with many key titles going out of
print. However, the best independents
have been filling the gap as the next five titles will show.
Pina Bausch in Dancing Dreams (2010) turned out to be a vital
record of the great choreographer just before her passing. In 2008, Miss Bausch picked 40 teenagers with
talent who had never heard of her and decided to work with them to perform a
work called Comfort Zone. The result was a learning experience for all
and we follow all in the development of the show, but we also learn about these
young people and about a legend who left us in 2009. Annie Lisnel and Rainer Hoffman co-directed
this fine piece that shows us how alive the art of dancing still is and can be
when it is not just slick and angry in silly ways.
the moments reminded me of Hair,
others of movie musicals, but in the end, it is a solid look at a world not
enough of us see and too few participate in.
Graham Parker & The Figs –
Live At The FTC
is a later look at the ever independent Rock singer/songwriter with his newest
band live (and long after the Rumour broke up), he has been criticized for
being everything from great to pretentious (his band’s 1978 album The
Parkerella gets bashed enough), but seeing him live gives on a direct idea of
his talents and he is definitely very much so.
As well, he started in the late 1960s and rightly is considered one of
the individuals who made New Wave possible in the late 1970s and onward.
has only had one Top 40 U.S. hit ever (1985’s “Wake Up (Next To You)”), it is hard to understand why more did not
happen with the fine concert he gives here.
The set contains 21 songs (the CD only has 19) and is a decent show that
will land up introducing many to the enduring Parker, a survivor in tact from a
genre with whom most of its members have given up or have nothing more to say. Best of all, it will want you to revisit his
INXS – Mystify is a decent concert from
6/27/1997 that shows the band still had talent and energy in front of a big,
fired-up audience in Germany. Though they had not had any hits for a few
years, there is the late Michael Hutchence singing as well as ever, an
underrated performer adding new depth and empathy to classic hits like Never Tear Us Apart, What You Need, Devil Inside, Suicide Blonde,
New Sensation and Need You Tonight. He never got the respect he deserved when he
was alive and his loss is larger than most realize. The rest of the band could also still play
very, very well. To show the growth and
how good they were early on, a shorter bonus 1984 concert with their early
hits, including The One Thing is
included as a fine bonus feature.
Frank Zappa – The Torture Never
Stop is a concert
I was surprised I had actually once saw… somewhere. Taped in 1981 at The Palladium in New York
City, Zappa was in prime form and the band he was with was melding with his
work and ideas so tightly that he was New wave and beyond with songs and ideas
that were constantly subversive and did what they could to stop the Reagan Era
among other things. This is a long show
with 25 songs all worth your time and is one of the liveliest of the many Zappa
releases we have covered to date.
Zappa on this site, start with this link:
Slaves To The Rhythm – Live At
Wembley Arena is
a 2004 concert tribute to the great music producer (and sometimes singer,
songwriter and musician) Trevor Horn, as all the artists who worked with him
and had some of their greatest hits with him show up to perform them to raise
money for The Prince’s Trust. They
include Seal (Kiss From A Rose, Crazy), Grace Jones (Slave To The Rhythm), ABC (Look Of Love,
Poison Arrow), Lisa Stansfield (Takes A Woman To Know), Frankie Goes To
Hollywood (Two Tribes, Relax), Pet Shop Boys (Left To My Own Devices) and three of his
former bands, Art Of Noise (Close To The
Edit), The Buggles (Video Killed The
Radio Star, Living In The Plastic Age)
and Yes (Owner Of A Lonely Heart,
which he produced; he was the vocalist on their earlier album, Drama), among others.
not even the whole concert and other acts you may not have heard of also show
up. This is one of the great tribute
concerts and I hope more people see it and we see a Blu-ray too.
enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on Bausch
has some issues, but is all of newly shot footage (digital) and looks good
throughout, but is a little detail weak.
I liked how this was edited and is captured nicely otherwise. The Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo is also good,
but has some location audio limits, but otherwise is just fine. The Parker
concert is also anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 and looks better, coming from
what looks like a 1080i HD tape source, but color is better than Bausch as it
is in a controlled stage atmosphere. The
DTS 5.1 mix is the best soundtrack (outdoing the Dolby Digital 5.1 and the
included PCM 2.0 Stereo on the CD somewhat).
The INXS concert is an analog
1.33 X 1 taping and is soft, but the NTSC analog 1.33 X 1 Zappa is the softest, though the 1-inch stereo videotape source has
been cleaned as much as it could be.
Both have Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo, but the INXS DVD tries to bump it up
to DTS 5.1 and Dolby Digital 5.1, which sounds a bit better, but cannot hide
the age of the audio, which was not conceived as multi-channel sound. The DTS is marginally the best.
leaves the anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on Rhythm looking as good as the Parker
DVD and better than the rest, but it only offers Dolby Digital 5.1 and Dolby
2.0 Stereo sound. The 5.1 is better, but
I wish DTS were an option. Still, it is
a fine soundmaster.
Bausch include a Photo Gallery,
Dance Film Gallery that shows many First Run titles in the genre (with optional
trailers), Bausch Biography and Director’s Notes. Parker
has a good interview with Parker, INXS
has the bonus concert we noted already, while Rhythm adds a Juke Box function and two documentary featurettes: Frankie Says Reform (17+ minutes about
the band reuniting with a new lead singer) and a near 20 minutes piece on the
concert itself. Zappa includes a paper pullout inside the DVD case with an essay
and technical information, while the DVD has a Yes, But Also section that offers DVDography, Discography, Liner
Notes, Photo Gallery and three video clips: Teen-Age
Prostitute, City Of Tiny Lights and You Are What You Are, an outright anti-Reagan Music Video.
all, that’s five winners out of five!
- Nicholas Sheffo