LIVE AT KNEBWORTH DVD Review
England, Saturday June 30th, 1990. In aid of the Nordoff-Robbins Music
Therapy Centre for providing music therapy for handicapped children and
the BRIT school of performing arts and technology, 120,000 fans
gathered for an historic event featuring a legendary combination of
British rock artists. This incredible benefit concert was a huge
success due to the performances of many rock legends.
has now been released (25th November 2002 in Europe, 12th November in the
US) on a double-disc DVD, with Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS surround
sound. All royalties from this release are going to Nordoff-Robbins.
- Tears For Fears Change / Badman’s Song / Everybody Wants to Rule The World
- Phil Collins & The Serious Band In The Air Tonight / Sussudio
- Cliff Richard & The Shadows On The Beach / Good Golly Miss Molly / We Don’t Talk Anymore
- Paul McCartney Coming Up / Birthday / Hey Jude / Can’t Buy Me Love
- Status Quo Whatever You Want / Rockin’ All Over The World / Dirty Water / In The Army Now
- Supergroup / Eric Clapton Before You Accuse Me / Tearin’ Us Apart
- Dire Straits / Mark Knopfler Solid Rock / Think I Love You Too Much / Money For Nothing
- Elton John Sacrifice / Sad Songs
- Robert Plant Hurting Kind / Tall Cool One / Wearing & Tearing* / Rock n’ Roll* (* Featuring Jimmy Page)
- Genesis Mama / Throwing
It All Away / Turn It On Again (medley)* Featuring: 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 Shine On You Crazy Diamond / Run Like Hell
It seemed a little curious that this
concert has received a polished up release on DVD some twelve and a
half years after the performance. What has driven this release? And how
good is the presentation?
As one of the lucky 120,000, I
remember the concert well. Typical British weather throughout - blazing
sunshine interspersed with pouring rain that bookended the concert.
Strangely enough, the DVD doesn't include the fun and games that
followed once the concert finished - when they removed all car park
markings. As the car parks were fields, this made things near on
impossible - especially as the only light was the police helicopter
overhead barking the orders for people to go home. We were trying to -
if only we could find our car in the huge muddy fields! Some people
were still wandering around at 5am unable to find their vehicle...nice!
The DVD is a remastered repackage
of the videos that were issued towards the end of 1990, and as such,
carry the same material that they did. Due to licencing and other
considerations, there has been no option to increase the number of
songs included. The video quality is fairly good (could have been a
tiny bit sharper) but is showing its age a little bit. The colours are
reasonably vibrant although the blacks and greys are a bit washed out.
The screen format is 4:3 (standard TV shape - in other words, not
widescreen), and there is no region coding on the discs (so, suitable
for DVD players in any country). This review is of the PAL version
issued in Europe - there is an NTSC version issued in the US which I
presume is identical.
The sound has been remastered, so
now you have the option of Dolby Digital 2.0 (stereo - which mixes down
to mono on relevent equipment), Dolby Surround 5.1 and DTS Surround.
For those unsure of the difference, DTS is also 5.1 surround (left
speaker, right, centre, a left and right rear speaker, and a
subwoofer), but unlike standard 5.1, is uncompressed. Therefore, the
DTS option is always preferable if your equipment can handle it, as the
sound should have more depth and warmth.
The surround mix is a bit
disappointing. Sharp and clear certainly, but little use is made of the
centre or rear speakers. Occasionally you hear some distant crowd noise
or echoed music but you have to strain to hear much. The LFE range
(through the subwoofer) is heavily used throughout.
Upon starting the discs up, you
get basic menus, which you can drill down into the artists to get to
the song selections, accompanied by some lovely Michael Kamen music,
especially composed for this release. Due to the original selections
made for each video, which were sold seperately, the running order of
the artists is heavily revised from the actual running order. Hence,
you have an artist performing in dusk or near darkness, and then the
next one is in broad daylight!
Some of the songs included on the
day and shown on this presentation were fairly disappointing -
McCartney's "Coming Up" and "Birthday", Dire Straits "Think I Love
You...", Clapton's dull "Before You Accuse Me..."; most of the artists
had longer sets than shown here - for example, Floyd showed a 20-odd
minute film before their 60-odd minute set!
As far as the Floyd selection
here, not a bad choice - a nice performance of "Shine On", with a
lovely solo from the Dutch saxophonist Candy Dulfer, and "Run Like
Hell", which ended the concert. Their performance was pretty unusual as
despite having the circular screen, they had to take the screen itself
down due to safety reasons (the wind had really picked up during the
show). So, the stage effects were limited (!) to lights, lasers and
fireworks. The steady drizzle helped these look their best.
Disappointingly, the opportunities provided by the surround mix were
ignored in "Run Like Hell" - the middle segment would be ideal for a
nice atmospheric experience: the footsteps etc. Also, more worryingly,
there is a slight
sound syncronisation problem that creeps into the Floyd set. This is
present on all mixes (tested on 2.0, 5.1 and DTS, and on different
equipment) but may be limited to initial pressings of the disc.
There are a couple of other
niggles on the discs - during Phil Collins' "Sussudio", on the surround
mixes, there is an annoying repeat echo running through part of the
song, running around 1 - 2 seconds behind, in the rear speakers. It is
quiet but audible enough to irritate. Luckily it doesn't last for long.
Also, there is a very long layer change right in the middle of
McCartney's "Hey Jude" that is really intrusive. Some equipment may
cope better than others with the layer change but the bottom line is
that it is always far better to choose to do this between songs, or
between film scenes, or whatever: not right in the middle!
Overall, though, a nice package
and a good way to remind you of what a great show this was. Worth
buying if you are a Floyd completist, and/or you like some of the other
artists on the discs. And all profits go to charity, so it is worth
buying just on that token. Just a shame about the few little problems