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Category:    Home > Reviews > Concert > Pop-Easy Listening > Disco > Robin Gibb with The Neue Philharmonie Frankfurt Orchestra Live (DVD + CD)

Robin Gibb with The Neue Philharmonie Frankfurt Orchestra Live (DTS DVD + CD)


Picture: C+     Sound: B-     Extras: C     Concert: B-



With Maurice Gibb gone, the end of the original Bee Gees went with him, but the Brother Gibb always had their solo projects and Robin Gibb even scored two Top 40 solo hits.  We’ll discuss the bizarre Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band feature film another time, but his Oh! Darling was a Top 15 hit and Boys Do Fall In Love tried to capitalize on new interest in the band in 1984 thanks to the 1983 film Stayin’ Alive, the ill-fated sequel to Saturday Night Fever.  On his new Neue Philharmonie Frankfurt Orchestra Live concert, he skips those songs, but raids the Bee Gees catalog nearly non-stop.


Those songs include:


1)     Night Fever

2)     I’ve Gotta Get a Message To You

3)     How Deep Is Your Love?

4)     Nights On Broadway

5)     Love Hurts

6)     Massachusetts

7)     My Lover’s Prayer

8)     New York Mining Disaster 1941

9)     Please

10)  Saved By The Bell

11)  To Love Somebody

12)  Words

13)  You Win Again

14)  Juliet

15)  Tragedy

16)  Jive Talkin’

17)  Stayin’ Alive



That is the same order on both the DVD and CD versions, both issued by Eagle Eye Media.  I know how long ago this was, but Gibb still has a good voice, yet some of these songs simply do not work without the falsetto that made most of them pop culture classics.  Whether he can still sing that way aside, the fact that they were falsetto heightened the melodrama of them, as well as the impact of their arrangements.  Combining the songs with an orchestra here is not the catastrophe it has been with so many acts doing this lately, because most of the songs were made to have a big sound to begin with.  The original producers of their 1970s hits (Arif Mardin, Karl Richardson, Albhy Galuten) did ingenious things to make those records stand out above so many others when the record industry was in its last golden age.  With that considered, the orchestra does well.


As for the discs, the DVD offers an anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image that is somewhat colorful and nicely shot on video, but lacks detail.  The sound options are Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo that plays badly in Pro Logic mode, a very small Dolby 5.1 mix and a shockingly muddled DTS 5.1 mix.  That means the best tracks here are the Dolby 2.0 played in regular 2-channel stereo!  This was simply not a program intended for multi-channel.  When hearing the CD’s PCM 2.0 16bit/44.1kHz Stereo version, this is again obvious.  Aside from the sound limits of CD, it is obvious that the recording is limited and can only be stretched so far.


The only extras on the DVD are Gibb’s awkward cover of Samantha Sang’s Emotion, which they created for her and sang on, plus an interview that is mixed and a photo gallery.  The concert itself runs about 80+ minutes, with the CD dumping intros.  Gibb still has his showmanship, but the results of this project are not what they could have been.  Still, fans of the music will want to check into it, because at least he is a creative original in an industry that seems lost anymore.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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