America In Concert – Ohne Filter DVD Video +
“Struttin’ Our Stuff” SACD
DVD-Video: Picture: C+ Sound: B- Extras: C+ Concert: B-
SACD: PCM 2.0: B
DSD 2.0: B DSD 5.1: B
years ago, we looked at one of the many concerts in the German Ohne Filter
TV series, one that features a different act each episode. In our case here, it was the Pop/Rock band
America in their duo form that they have been in since 1979, when one of the
three founding members departed. That
was on DVD-Video. Now, after a year or
so of promising to do no less than Super Audio CD versions of some of the
programs in the series, Inakustik has issued the material in SACD under the
title Struttin’ Our Stuff in a hybrid multi-channel disc. I have integrated that into the original
review as follows.
peak in the 1970s, America was a fun Pop band that (thanks in part to some
songs cut with Beatles’ producer George Martin), made some memorable songs that
marked the era well. The original trio
was Brit Dewey Bunnell and Americans Gerry Beckley and Dan Peek. This most popular configuration lasted until
1976, when Peek left for Christian music.
Continuing as a duo, they made one comeback with the hit single You Can Do Magic in 1982, which was
unlike the more acoustic sound they were known for. The comeback faded. Fast forward to 1999 (June 16th in
particular) and they are still together, here in a concert for German TV’s Ohne Filter.
runs as follows, with the SACD version offering two more tracks than the
You Can Do Magic
I Need You (SACD
Wednesday Morning (SACD
Wheels Are Turning
Only In Your Heart
From A Moving Train
Sister Golden Hair
A Horse With No Name
course, they have great material to pull from and they are all here, but
sometimes they just do not work. The
attempt at glissando-like strings at the beginning of Sister Golden Hair does not quite kick the song off right. Sometimes, the vocalists sound good, but too
often, Beckley and Bunnell just do not have the range or energy. As compared to a recent Three Dog Night DTS
DVD, also with just two “dogs” left, it does not fare as well against that
either. They had a good audience, but
things just did not totally click. Too
frame PAL color video is what one would expect for a recent taping, good color
and limited definition. The sound is
available in PCM CD Stereo and Dolby Digital 5.1 AC-3, which are about even in
this case. There is not the depth in the
5.1 here heard in the Mark King and Tony Joe White DVDs form the series,
reviewed elsewhere on this site. Rhino’s
DVD-Audio of their 1972 album Homecoming
(with the original Ventura Highway)
is the better bet and even has DTS 5.1 for home theaters whose DVD players only
do the DVD-Video format, while Capitol has issued the excellent America –
Live At Central Park 1979 on DVD-Video.
It also has a DTS 5.1 mix that is solid and a new anamorphically enhanced
transfer of the concert from a digital HD source. Peter Clifton’s Rockumentary has the band in
prime form and this is just about after their last studio work with George
Martin, which we strongly recommend.
repeating the same stereo cords plug, other DVDs in the series, and Ohne Filter producer interview, it has
a biography of the band.
The SACD has
slightly better sound in all three tracks, form the PCM 2.0 16bit/44.1kHz
Stereo to the DSD 2.0 Stereo and DSD 5.1 mix, but the higher in resolution and
fidelity you go, the more problems show up.
In the 5.1 mix, it sounds like the remixers tried to compensate for
problems with the recording of the lead vocals, as well as limits in the lead
singing. The result is one of the
poorest 5.1 music mixes we have heard in the format to date and know there are
better installments in the Ohne Filter
series that deserve the SACD multi-channel treatment. Hope we get to hear those.
the band may enjoy this or the fact that they showed up somewhere on TV
recently at all, but most people would be better off with the Homecoming DVD-Audio or exceptional Live
At Central Park 1979 DVD-Video.
- Nicholas Sheffo