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Category:    Home > Reviews > Concert > Rock > Folk Rock > Pop > America In Concert Ohne Filter Inakustik MVD DVD/Struttin' Our Stuff SACD

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

 

 

A few 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.

 

At their 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.

 

The set runs as follows, with the SACD version offering two more tracks than the DVD-Video:

 

Riverside

Ventura Highway

You Can Do Magic

Daisy Jane

Three Roses

I Need You (SACD exclusive)

Wednesday Morning (SACD exclusive)

Pages

Wheels Are Turning

Tin Man

Only In Your Heart

Lonely People

Last Unicorn

From A Moving Train

Sandman

Sister Golden Hair

A Horse With No Name

 

 

Of 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 bad.

 

The full 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.

 

Besides 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.

 

Fans of 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


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