DVD Talk on IOW Blu-Ray

Brian Cady brianinatlanta2001 at yahoo.com
Tue Feb 10 21:02:41 UTC 2009

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This discoffers the choice of a LPMC stereo, 5.1 Dolby Digital, or a DTS-HD Master Audio mix. The multichannel mixes are excellent with the DTS-HD being superb. I know a lot of purist dislike remixing standards for multichannel playback, and I agree with them to a large extent, but these mixes work exceedingly well. Pete Townshend supervised the audio restoration, which was done at Eel Pie Studios.
The DTS-HD track makes this concert sound better than it ever has and is the realy reason to upgrade.  There is excellent use made of the soundstage and it really makes you feel like you're there.  The cymbals are thrown across the whole front while most of the audience sounds are in the rear. John's bass is mainly on the left, while Pete's guitar is centered slightly to the right. This really creates the sonic illusion that you are right in front of the group. You can feel the energy coming off the stage.
No matter how dynamic and impressive the DTS-HD mix is, it's still hampered by the recording technology of the time resulting in some audio imperfections, but the new track is energetic and forceful. I though this Blu-ray sounded significantly better than the previous DVD release.
The restored 1.789:1 MEPG-4 AVC video encoded at 1080i looks very good, but again it is limited by the technology of the time. There is a fair amount of grain in the picture, and the image is a little soft. The lighting was only the spot lights on the stage, and so sometimes the image is too bright and other times too dark. (Mainly the latter.) I did a side-by-side comparrison with the earlier Eagle's Eye release and this Blu-ray disc is an improvement.  The colors are stronger across the board.  The red on Daltrey's jacket is actually red and not a muddy brown for example.  The level of detail is greatly improved too with the grain on Townshend's guitar visible for the first time. 
While the original Image DVD didn't have any bonus material, this disc ports over bonus interview from the earlier Eagle's Eye release:  A 40 minute sit down where Murray Lerner (director of the film) talks with Pete Townshend. Pete starts out complaining about The Who, the band members, their songs and just about everything associated with the group. Murray then moves the conversation around to the Isle of Wight festival. Pete talks about the backstage scene, how he felt the band played, and he has some interesting things to say about Tommy and what it means to him and the audience. It was an interesting interview, though Pete does come off as a bit pretentious in a few parts. Given what he has done in his life, I think he's earned the right to be pretentious every once in a while. (I also found it interesting to note that Pete says that Empty Glass (1980) was his first solo album, although Who Came First was released in 1972.) 
Final Thoughts:
I loved the previous DVD release of this concert, and this new version is even better. The DTS-HD audio sounds fantatstic, giving the concert more power and force. It really puts you in the middle of the show. Who fans most probably already have this on DVD and I think the improved sound and image is worth the upgrade.  Highly recommended. 

 -Brian in Atlanta
The Who This Month!


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