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Category:    Home > Reviews > Rock > Pop > Variety > Dance > Singing > TV Show > Australia > Concert > Rock > Pop > Alternative > Standards > Sk > The Best Of Bandstand, Volume One: 1960 62 + Volume Two: 1963 (Australian Version/Umbrella Import Region Free PAL DVD Sets)/Peter Gabriel Live In Athens 1987 (Eagle Blu-ray w/DVD of Play: The Videos

The Best Of Bandstand, Volume One: 1960 – 62 + Volume Two: 1963 (Australian Version/Umbrella Import Region Free PAL DVD Sets)/Peter Gabriel Live In Athens 1987 (Eagle Blu-ray w/DVD of Play: The Videos music video collection)/Pink Floyd: The Making Of Dark Side Of The Moon (2003/Classic Albums/Eagle SD Blu-ray)/Portnoy * Sheenan * MacAlpine * Sherinian: Live In Tokyo 2012 (Eagle Blu-ray)/Neil Sedaka: The Show Goes On – Live At Royal Albert Hall (2006/Eagle Blu-ray)/UB40: Live At Montreux 2002 (Eagle Blu-ray)/Welcome To The Machine (2013/MVD Visual DVD)


Picture: C+/B-/C+/B-/B-/B-/C+ Sound: C+/B/B-/B/B+/B+/C+ Extras: D/A-/B+/C/C+/D/D Main Programs: B-/B/B+/B/B/C+/C




PLEASE NOTE: The Best Of Bandstand DVDs are PAL Region Free imports, are only available from Umbrella Entertainment and can be ordered from the link below.



Here's a great new set of music releases, including some surprises and upgrades of key titles you may have missed, but can get in better editions...



At first, The Best Of Bandstand, Volume One: 1960 – 62 + Volume Two: 1963 would sound as if Dick Clark Productions finally got around to issuing some of the classic American Bandstand shows on DVD, but these two sets are actually the Australian Version of the series as hosted by Brain Henderson and featured acts from that country, often trying to emulate their U.S. Rock and Pop counterparts including The Delltones, Judy Stone, Lana Cantrell, the Allen Brothers, The De Kroo Brothers, Lucky Starr, Col Jove & The Joy Boys, Sandy Scott, Jimmy Little, Laurel Lee, Robyn Alvarez, Patsy Ann Noble, Patty Monroe, Donny Brooks, Lonnie Lee, Ray Melton, Kim Nichols, Johnny Devlin, Rod Devlin, Robby Royal, Tony Brady, Paul Wayne, Digger Revell & The Denvermen, Peter Brandon, The Devils, Warren Williams and Laurel Lea are among the acts we get that did not crossover to the U.S., but might have in the U.K., New Zealand, South Africa and the like.


Connie Francis and Frank Sinatra (who gives an interview) show up in film clips visiting Down Under and we get Bobby Rydell, Bobby Vee, Chubby Checker, Del Shannon and The Bee Gees performing on the show, all visiting from “The States” save the Gibb Brothers, so young here (they only started in 1959!) and singing their earliest successes. Watch Robin ham it up in every single performance!


The show is fun, some moments are unintentional howlers, Henderson is a great host and if you watch chronologically, you can see the show take on Pop/Rock, then start to become a little more like a Lawrence Welk Show for teens as they expect the Bossa Nova to take over. Note this ends just before the Beatles arrive. Some episodes are compilation highlights that do not always overlap with what we get, while the second set has a 1963 Christmas Special episode and a much more interesting Surfside Show at Avalon Beach in Sydney that stands as one of the strongest on both sets. They are worth your time and a must for serious music fans.


Too bad there are no extras on either set.



Peter Gabriel Live In Athens 1987 was directed by the great cinematographer Michael Chapman (The Last Waltz, Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, Rising Sun, The Lost Boys, The Fugitive) and produced by no less than Martin Scorsese, though that is downplayed on the packaging to emphasize the immense talent of the solo artist it features. However, besides being a great two-hour concert by Gabriel, we get about 50+ minutes by Youssou N'Dour and Le Super Etoile De Dakar in a solid show you should give a chance to watching before Gabriel's amazing performances here.


The regular extras include a booklet with illustrations, credits, technical information, Sledgehammer in lossless DTS-MA 5.1 and a great (if short) interview with well-spoken music scholar Paul Gambiaccini, whose knowledge has graced many a Chrome Dreams/MVD music release (see elsewhere on this site for the ever growing Under Review series list of DVDs and their coverage) where Gabriel talks about launching the So album and how well that piece holds up. Which we had more solid music journalism like this on camera.


What really puts this particular release over the top is that includes the DVD Music Video collection Gabriel issued a decade ago simply called Play: The Videos and includes all of his classic clips in standard definition. Yes, the transfers have aged and the filmed videos (like Sledgehammer) all deserve HD treatment (even if it means updating the analog video effects), but the real issue is the menu operation issues the older disc has is here too. Unless you keep selecting DTS 96/24 5.1 or lossy Dolby Digital 5.1, you keep getting lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo sound. Also, the “play all” option does not work as the clips are in pairs of 2 to 3 a piece and will go back to the menu frustratingly.


Despite this, we get the following classics, with directors credited:


Father, Son (Anna Gabriel)

Sledgehammer (Stephen R. Johnson)

Blood Of Eden (Michael Coulson & Nicholas Bruce)

Games Without Frontiers (David Mallet with York Tillyer)

I Don't Remember (Marcello Anciano)

Big Time (Stephen R. Johnson)

Love Town (Michael Coulson)

Red Rain (Matt Mahurin)

In Your Eyes (Michael Coulson with York Tillyer)

Don't Give Up (Godley & Creme)

The Barry Williams Show (Sean Penn)

Washing Of The Water (York Tillyer)

Biko (Godley & Creme with clips from Cry Freedom with Denzel Washington)

Kiss That Frog (Brett Leonard from Secret World Live)

Mercy Street (Matt Mahurin)

Growing Up (Francois Vogel)

Shaking The Trees (Issac Julien)

Shock The Monkey (Brian Grant)

Steam (Stephen R. Johnson)

The Drop (Glenn Marshall)

Zaar (Stefan Roloff)

Solsbury Hill (Graham Dean, Jerry Chater, Peter Campus & Peter Gabriel with York Tillyer)

and Digging In the Dirt (John Downer)


Peter Medak's video for Gabriel's 1977 single Modern Love (not the David Bowie song) is included as an extra, but even with a DTS 96/24 5.1 is not included in the main videos for some reason. Of course, no new Videos since are here, but neither are Come Talk To Me (by Matt Mahurin, who deserves a retrospective videos collection) or My Secret Place with Joni Mitchell (Anton Corbijn, which is included on The Films Of Anton Corbijn DVD collection reviewed elsewhere on this site) are included on this disc for some reason. Still, this is a remarkable set and one of the nest music Blu-ray releases of the year so far.


Pink Floyd: The Making Of Dark Side Of the Moon (2003) is a new, upgraded version of the Classic Albums TV series episode we covered on DVD ten years ago at this link:


http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/470/Classic+Albums+-+Dark+Side+Of+The+Moon+(Pink


Now it has been issued as part of the new Eagle SD Blu-ray series where they take standard definition releases that are popular and upscale them then add better sound. More on the technical performance below, but I liked this Blu-ray a little better than the DVD. Extras are the same as the previous DVD, but sadly, nothing new was added.



Portnoy * Sheenan * MacAlpine * Sherinian: Live In Tokyo 2012 is our other new live entry, here on Blu-ray from Eagle, bringing together a supergroup of sorts with Dream Theater members Mike Portnoy, Tony MacAlpine and Derek Sherinian joined by Mr. Big bassist Billy Sheenan playing hits our of all their catalogs (they have been with other bands and solo performers) and coming up with a very smooth, strong Rock concert for its 90 minutes-ish length. If you have never heard of these men or encountered their work, this is a seriously strong introduction to how good they are and this was definitely a good idea.


Well see if they last as a unit or form a completely new band. Interesting.


Extras include a nicely illustrated booklet on the show including a song list, while the Blu-ray adds a Behind The Scenes featurette.



Neil Sedaka: The Show Goes On – Live At Royal Albert Hall (2006) is now being issued on Eagle Blu-ray after being only available on DVD for the last seven years and we reviewed the DVD at this link:


http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/4719/Neil+Sedaka+%E2%80%93+The+Sho


The show holds up well showing the legendary singer/songwriter in his later prime, is an underseen show and is long overdue for Blu-ray treatment. Extras are the same as the previous DVD, but sadly, nothing new was added here either. See below for how much better the Blu-ray version is.



UB40: Live At Montreux 2002 is the other HD-shot concert we are getting from Eagle Blu-ray after only being issued on DVD and we reviewed that show at this link:


http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/5588/UB40+%E2%80%93+Live+At+Montreu


There are no extras and I am not a fan of the band, but this is still a decent show and representation of their work, though I would also recommend the Food For Thought: Live Greatest Hits UB40 DVD of a show they did for the series Rockpalast at this link:


http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/9260/UB40+%E2%80%93+Food+For+Thoug



Finally we have the documentary Welcome To the Machine (2013) by Andreas Steinkogler that delves into the history of the music industry, tries to show how it operated in the past, the problems it has had in recent decades, how badly it often dealt with them and adds dozens of interviews with allegedly up and coming music acts from all over the world. There are some good points and moments in the 90 minutes here, but we do not get enough of the subjects getting serious about the subjects, the narration that opens and closes this is goofy and too silly for its own good, then it does not know how to wrap itself up.


In addition, there are more people irritated and unconstructive here than there should be and that could have easily been fixed in editing, so the result is an opportunity somewhat lost when so much needed to be said at such a crucial juncture of the industry. What a shame, but there is enough good to give it a look once, but it was not built to last.


There are no extras.




The 1.33 x 1 black and white image on the Bandstand releases are from what look like 16mm film prints, some kinescopes and analog PAL video, but despite scratches, anomalies and other flaws, they look good for their age and better than NTSC U.S. Counterparts from the time would. Some shots can be trying, but they hold up well for their age and can equal the often soft and rough, anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on Machine, which is an digital HD shoot with much low def analog and digital video edited and even blended into the frames throughout.

The 1080i 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Floyd is a nicely upscaled version of the DVD's standard definition master and was produced towards the end of the Classic Album run of standard definition episodes before they went HD. This is the best upscaling on the SD Blu-rays from Eagle we have seen to date, with improvements offset by other shots being softer, so it is almost a draw between the formats. I like the image very slightly better here, but not enough to give it a higher grade.


The 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfers on the rest of the Blu-rays are all competent concert shoots and in the case of the UB40 and Neil Sedaka releases, superior to their DVD counterparts making me recommend them over the older DVDs, which were not bad for standard definition reductions. Gabriel is the only one shot on 35mm film and has some of the best shots on the list. Sometimes however, the shots show the age of the film source so the results are slightly inconsistent. The 1.33 X 1 in 1.78 X 1 frame HD clip of the Music Video classic Sledgehammer looks good and has its opening title and closing credits, looking better than the low def version on the bonus Play DVD collection, which is a reissue of the popular Gabriel Videos set that runs up to 2003.



As for sound, the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mixes on UB40 and Neil Sedaka outdo their fine regular DTS DVD mixes with more range, warmth, dynamic range and are sonically superior to so many music Blu-rays of all kinds we have heard lately. Very impressive and I am not a UB40 fan. The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mixes on Portnoy sounds good, but can be a little more limited and standard, while Gabriel was recorded in 1987 and though it sounds great, it can show its age in slight ways, though bot have top rate, consistent soundfields that still deliver.


The PCM 2.0 Stereo on Floyd only slightly outdoes its lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo DVD counterpart with slightly more warmth, but not enough to top it, especially since the 5.1 mix of the actual album is not even sampled here and all over the place on the still best-selling Super Audio CD of all time (though that James Guthrie mix has issues) and the massive (and expensive) Immersion box set on the album that includes both that 5.1 mix, higher fidelity stereo mixes of the album and Alan Parson's also controversial 4.0 Quadrophonic mix from the 1970s means this documentary is lucky to stay up to date.


The lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo on Machine can be rough and have mixed sound quality (from the various live and studio music recordings to monophonic sound clips that can get rough) to location audio issues in the interviews. It can also be slightly harsh on the edges. As a result, the lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono on the Bandstand sets more than hold their own and are surprisingly clean and clear for their age.



To order either of the Bandstand Umbrella PAL Region Free import DVD sets, go to this link:


http://www.umbrellaent.com.au/



- Nicholas Sheffo


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