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Category:    Home > Reviews > Concert > Jazz > Pat Metheny Group: The Way Up – Live (HD-DVD)

Pat Metheny Group: The Way Up – Live (HD-DVD)


Picture: B     Sound: B     Extras: C     Concert: B



In our third look of what is now one of the best demo concerts for home video on the market, Pat Metheny Group: The Way Up – Live from Eagle Vision HD becomes like an old friend the more you turn to it and watch it.  To recap, when DVD first arrived, the surprise boom besides the usual film sales was in music.  Concerts and Music Video collections were surprise sellers and more than just the record labels took advantage of that.  With the introduction of HD shooting, everyone has been rushing to make new state-of-the-art concerts in the format and cash in on what they hope will be the next boom.  On standard DVD, one of the latest best is Pat Metheny Group: The Way Up – Live from Eagle Vision, who has become the leader in concert discs.


We have looked at many of their concert DVDs and now, they are releasing this material in both HD-DVD and Blu-ray.  The Way Up is the first concert being issued in both HD formats, previously looked at the Blu-ray version and we now have the equally solid HD-DVD to look at first.  I liked the concert and loved the sound fidelity in particular, as covered in my review of the standard DVD at this link:








Despite all the titles Warner Bros. and Paramount have issued in both formats, the best title to come out in both HD formats is now this one.  Though 16 X 9/1.78 X 1 image turns out to be shot in HD 1080i and though this format is 1080p, you still get the best look at both with the two very evenly matched versions of the same title.  Part of the problem is simply that the Blu-ray feature films have been shortchanged slightly over the HD-DVD versions by having 5GB of space less than the HD-DVDs.  This has limited picture and even sound somewhat to Blu-ray’s disadvantage.  Here, it is an even match.


Also, this HD-DVD is only the second (and few to come, it looks like) HD-DVD title to have DTS-HD of any kind and is Eagle Vision HD’s first release in the format, so it is an important early disc at that.  In addition, it is actually better than Paramount’s HD-DVD of the all-HD feature Sky Captain & The World Of Tomorrow, whose Blu-ray version was not as good and looked much softer than this concert.  To recap, color and definition are improved enough over the standard DVD to be noticed, on par with the Blu-ray (also reviewed on this site) and makes the concert even more engaging as a result, even more so than the differences between the DVD and Blu-ray of Alice Cooper – Live At Montreux 2005 also reviewed elsewhere on this site.


Then there is the sound, again here in strong PCM 2.0 24bit/48kHz Stereo and better-than-usual Dolby Digital 5.1.  The articulate standard DVD’s DTS 5.1 is here in a DTS HD 5.1 mix that is once again better, as was the case with the Blu-ray version.  It was a high watermark for music audio in the HD formats when we first covered it, but that time has passed, though I still enjoy hearing it.


As noted in the DVD review, this is a top rate recording that audiophiles will be impressed with and home theater fans will be stunned by.  Like Eagle’s Chick Corea & Gary Burton – Live At Montreux 1997 also reviewed on this site, The Way Up is the kind of demo-quality concert disc and high definition disc release in particular that shows how great the format can be.  For home theater fans, Pat Metheny Group: The Way Up – Live is about to become some kind of classic and Eagle Vision HD is just getting warmed up.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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