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Pink Floyd et al - Knebworth 1990 SD Blu-ray Print E-mail
Written by Matt   
Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Live At Knebworth SD Blu-ray, featuring Pink Floyd et alReleased by Eagle Rock Entertainment on March 16th, 2015, and marking the 25th anniversary of the show, is the Live at Knebworth concert film on SD Blu-ray. Eagle Rock's SD Blu-ray range presents upscaled standard definition original material with uncompressed stereo and DTS-HD Master Audio surround sound for the best possible quality, so should show the recording off the best it has ever been.

As background, for our younger readers, on June 30th 1990 in the grounds of Knebworth House, in Hertfordshire, England, a concert was staged to raise funds for Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy and the Brit School For Performing Arts. It has since been heralded as one of the best British rock concerts of all time. The incredible line-up was drawn entirely from acts who had been recipients of the prestigious Silver Clef Award presented annually by Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy for outstanding services to the British Music Industry: Paul McCartney, Eric Clapton, Pink Floyd, Robert Plant (with guest, Jimmy Page), Elton John, Phil Collins, Genesis, Dire Straits, Tears For Fears, Cliff Richard and The Shadows, and Status Quo.

All the artists gave their time and performances for free in order to support the charity and this SD Blu-ray edition will continue to raise funds so that they can continue their invaluable work. The Blu-ray, which has no region coding, so playable on equipment across the world (and this is important as it is currently only on sale in Europe), has a running time of around 180 minutes, and comes with DTS-HD Master Audio and LPCM Stereo soundtracks.

Below, we take a close look at this new release, comparing with previous editions and assessing whether the disc - which is on sale at a decent, low price - is worthy of your time and money...

For those without previous editions, or for those who would appreciate a reminder, the tracklisting on the SD Blu-ray is as per the previous DVD (and VHS) releases, and is as follows:

    TEARS FOR FEARS: 1) Change 2) Badman's Song 3) Everybody Wants To Rule The World / CLIFF RICHARD & THE SHADOWS: 4) On The Beach 5) Good Golly Miss Molly 6) We Don't Talk Anymore / PHIL COLLINS & THE SERIOUS BAND: 7) In The Air Tonight 8) Sussudio / PAUL MCCARTNEY: 9) Coming Up 10) Birthday 11) Hey Jude 12) Can't Buy Me Love / STATUS QUO: 13) Whatever You Want 14) Rockin' All Over The World 15) Dirty Water 16) In The Army Now / ERIC CLAPTON: 17) Before You Accuse Me 18) Tearin' Us Apart / DIRE STRAITS: 19) Solid Rock 20) Think I Love You Too Much 21) Money For Nothing / ELTON JOHN: 22) Sacrifice 23) Sad Songs (Say So Much) / ROBERT PLANT: 24) Hurting Kind 25) Tall Cool One 26) Wearing And Tearing (with Jimmy Page) 27) Rock And Roll (with Jimmy Page) / GENESIS: 28) Mama 29) Throwing It All Away 30) Turn It On Again Medley: Turn It On Again / Somebody To Love / Reach Out, I'll Be There / Pinball Wizard / In The Midnight Hour / Turn It On Again (reprise) / PINK FLOYD: 31) Shine On You Crazy Diamond 32) Run Like Hell

Inside the package is a wide shot of the audience. If you were there and can recall where you were standing during the day, and have good eyesight, perhaps you'll be able to spot yourself! There's also, more importantly, a thick booklet. This gives a decent (if not the easiest to read) reproduction of what was a large programme sold in the approach to the venue grounds (and a tough item to keep in good shape as I recall). It is augmented at the rear with some additional information, recollections, and photos of the various artists during the mammoth twelve hour event, in rain, wind and glorious sunshine.

The concert footage itself was shot on videotape and therefore there's no true high definition source material available. Eagle have therefore taken the original footage and upscaled it to 1080p high def, in full screen format (4:3). Colours are well defined and punchy, detail is very good but there is a very slight softness to some shots in particular which betrays the fact it wasn't shot in full HD. There is no doubt though that this footage has never looked as good as this.

Turning now to the sound, this is presented in uncompressed stereo, or for those able to take advantage, as a Dolby DTS-MA (Master Audio) 5.1 surround mix which is rich, full and very well detailed. The rear channels give a fair sense of depth and of "being there" (although audience noise seems rather synthetic). The odd drum sounds more akin to a wet cardboard box being thumped although this is the exception rather than the rule.

A great job has been done with the audio, with good instrument separation, and a sensible surround mix (although - as with the previous DVD release - the first half of Phil Collins' Sussudio has an overbearing surround "echo" which thankfully clears from the midpoint of the song). If you can play the DTS-MA soundtrack, you really should!

The performances themselves are all good, with each artist performing a stripped down setlist of around 4-6 songs, with highlights being chosen for this collection. Phil Collins shares maximum screentime with Eric Clapton. Collins did his own set, then later, with his Genesis colleagues. Clapton performed his own set, then stayed to back Mark Knopfler through the Dire Straits frontman's set. They then remain to help out Elton John!

In general the running order (inherited from previous editions) is a bit of a puzzle, and quite different from the day itself. This can easily be see by the clear time of day variances (and dramatic weather changes) - cutting from early/mid evening back to afternoon.

For Pink Floyd fans, the earlier material on the disc is going to be enjoyable off and on (depending on your musical breadth and interests) but the principal reason for purchase may well be the Floyd segment.

On the day, their set was preceded by a fascinating 20 minute video montage of rare clips of the band, linked by Langley Iddins puzzling over the significance of certain key objects and footage. You could certainly tell the Floyd fans in the audience during this bit! Unfortunately, as with previous releases of the concert, that footage is not included here - instead, we get Shine On You Crazy Diamond and Run Like Hell.

The Floyd set provided on this disc still misses The Great Gig In The Sky, Wish You Were Here, Sorrow, Money and Comfortably Numb - all aired at the time so footage is surely still lurking in a vault somewhere.

Shine On is a fine reading, with a nice focus on Richard Wright in the first part - not least as with the circular screen removed due to the weather (leaving just the circle of lights) there were less visuals for the cameras to pick up and focus on - so we get a good look at the keyboard performance.

Run Like Hell is a fairly standard late 80's reading - great fun and a decent performance, some good lighting effects (despite the weather compromises) and a variety of fireworks are let off at the conclusion. It is a shame though to have this in preference to, say, Comfortably Numb or Wish You Were Here. Actually, it would of course be best to have their ENTIRE set - even if it was added into an 'Extras' section. But we guess the two tracks were all that the band or management at the time approved, so it is what it is...

So, in summary, the sound and picture on this new edition present the material in the best ever quality, and is a nice (lengthly) reminder of a great day. It boldly claims to be the "best British rock concert of all time", something which will cause some debate. It also cuts the twelve hour event down to three (although of course some of the twelve hours involved equipment being moved off/on stage), but nevertheless it's a worthy purchase and will probably be a decent upgrade to any previous version you might have...it also results in more money for Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy so this budget priced Blu-ray also helps those in need, so another good reason to buy it!

ORDERING INFORMATION:
You can place your orders for the Blu-ray through these direct links: Amazon UK, Amazon Germany, Amazon France, Amazon Spain and Amazon Italy. As a reminder, the disc does not have any region coding, so players across the world should be fine with this. All branches of Amazon above will ship discs worldwide, so if not in one of these countries, you can still order it if you wish.

 
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