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Live 8 DVD
Live 8 rehearsals
Released start of November 2005 (dates vary according to region), 4 DVD digipack set.

Compiled and released in just four months since the incredible set of concerts held worldwide on 2nd July, the Live 8 DVD is a handsome package of four DVDs, covering the main performances at London and Philadelphia, with key artists from the satellite shows. There are also additional, supplementary discs covering additional acts that didn't make the main set, split by venue. Watching the discs, you get a clear sense of the truly global nature of the event - something that didn't seem to come across on the television broadcasts.

Well packaged, the digipack is a mass of pictures from the event, covering crowd and artists, most of which can be spotted if you look hard enough. The four disks have the faces of the eight G8 leaders on, resplendent in their Sgt Pepper's outfits!

The booklet included talks about the event, and gives Geldof's view of the whole experience... However, the meat in this particular pudding is what is actually contained on the discs themselves.

With all the key performances from the event, this is chock full of great music from up and coming artists and legends alike. As with all compilations, there's going to be a number of artists not to the viewer's taste, but the good points should definitely outweigh the bad for most people.

Live 8 DVD
Roger Waters at Live 8
We've covered the event in detail on this site, and figure most people will have seen it in some format either live, or subsequently, possibly making use of AOL's excellent streaming of all the performances, so we won't go into detail on the show itself. For that, you could check out our Live 8 concert review. Here, we're going to focus on the content of most interest to you - Roger Waters and Pink Floyd, back together again!

For those who want to head straight for this, your first port of call should be disc 3 (but do make sure you check out the whole thing afterwards!). On inserting the disc, the menu music makes it clear you are in the right place, with the intro to Money clunking out loud and clear.

Pink Floyd's performance is one of the few that is presented in full. From the gradually building heartbeat at the start of Speak To Me, through to the dying cheers after the band have made their farewells, every moment is covered in crystal clear sound and vision.

This is something that the creators of this title must take praise for; the presentation is superb throughout. A crisp, clear and colourful picture, with incredible detail (you can clearly see, for example, David Gilmour's nasal hairs!) and no sign of digital artifacts, edge enhancement, or compression, on our equipment.

Sonically it is just as impressive. You have a choice of Dolby Digital 2.0 (stereo), 5.1 (surround), or DTS 5.1. Whilst the 5.1 mix is excellent, the DTS mix has the edge, with more depth and warmth. With the amount of material packed on these disks, it is a surprise that it looks and sounds so great - there is usually some compromise somewhere!

With regard to the surround mix, this is intelligently done, but unsurprisingly the only performance to make full use of it is the Floyd set - particularly for the opening to Money. The surround mix for other artists mainly consist of crowd noise and other ambient sounds in the rear channel to give a feeling of depth and "being there".

Live 8 DVD
David Gilmour at Live 8
For those who missed the Floyd performance at the event, their part of the set came second to last on the bill. The only band not to be introduced, they got some of the biggest cheers of the night, and managed to win over a whole host of new fans.

With a set that was never going to fit into fifteen minutes (their allocated time), the band played a triumphant set of Speak To Me, Breathe, Money, Wish You Were Here, and Comfortably Numb. Particular highlights for the crowd in Hyde Park clearly included Roger's first appearance on the large video screens flanking the stage. Other key moments included shots of Algie the pig over Battersea Power Station, and the impressive use of the white brick wall for Comfortably Numb - with "Make Poverty History" slowly written in red across the massive displays.

The warm and love of the band was clear to see, with events from the eighties clearly put to one side, as the performance progressed. Roger's emotion-cracked vocal typifies the event, as does the frequent smiles the individuals give each other.

A performance we never thought we'd see, a true highlight of a show packed with them.

But that's not the end of them on the package... David, Richard and Nick can all be seen at various points in the finale - David, in particular, in a prominent role, belting out "Hey Jude"! But that's nothing, compared to what you have in store on the final disk!

Live 8 DVD
Pink Floyd at Live 8
Few people were fortunate enough to see the band rehearsing at London's Black Island studios in the week running up to Live 8. However, for part of these rehearsals, a camera was present, and captured them running through Wish You Were Here. A six minute performance of this culminates with multiple endings, with Nick working through alternate finishes until David and Roger were satisfied with. Nick keeps good humour throughout, greeting the final OK with "Sold to the man in the blue shirt!"

Preceding this, all four members are asked their thoughts on the reconciliation for the show. Whilst some of the comments seem a little reserved, there are some interesting views given. And it was nice to see all four given time - most interviews tend to gravitate towards David or Roger.

Elsewhere, there is a sixteen minute documentary called "Backstage at Live 8". This, consisting chiefly of camcorder footage, is a fascinating look at the preparations and dress rehearsals from the day before the Hyde Park show, alongside plenty of footage from the day itself. This includes the morning arrival of the masses, some great overhead shots, and some nice insights into what life was like backstage (including the logistical nightmare that the whole endevour must have been).

At various points, all four Floyds can be seen at work or rest, including Roger with his girlfriend, and David with his family.

Thoughtfully edited, it gives a good overview of the event, from an organiser's point of view.

An essential purchase, then, for Floyd fans, in our view, but this compilation is so much more than that. These four disks are stuffed with great and memorable moments, sometimes funny, sometimes incredibly moving, the impact and the importance of the day is never diminished.

It really is a mammoth set, and deserves a place in all music fans homes - not least, as the proceeds go to charity. It can be ordered through these special links: UK/Elsewhere, US/International, Canada, France, or Germany. Any purchases made at Amazon after entering their site using a Brain Damage link, won't affect the amount the charity gets from the sale of these, helps with our running costs, and we really appreciate it!

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