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Live At Knebworth 1990 (with Pink Floyd) Print E-mail

LIVE AT KNEBWORTH DVD Review

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Knebworth DVD, including performances by Pink Floyd, Phil Collins, Elton John, Robert Plant, and moreKnebworth, 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.

It 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.

TRACK LISTING:

  • 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

REVIEW

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 present...

 
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