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Tuesday
May202014

Concert Discs - Blu-ray Review #76

Music to Show Off Your Theater

We received an email from Martin who asked us to take a look and listen at the Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds concert that is available on Blu-ray. According to Martin: The sound is astonishing, like you are sitting right there. I have heard many concert discs but this is something else. Shows off my system even better than a pacific rim or transformers. 

Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds: Live at Radio City Music Hall [Blu-ray] (2007)

We totally agree with Martin’s assessment. So we thought it would be fun for one episode to pick three concert Blu-rays and discuss them on a show. All six will put you right in the middle of the concert and will make you happy that you invested in Blu-ray!

Rodney’s Picks

Adele – Live at The Royal Albert Hall

Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1

Even though this concert is performed in front of decent sized crowd, it sounds great and still feels intimate. Adele has an amazing voice and this Blu-ray captures it perfectly, it almost sounds better than the studio recording. There isn’t much subwoofer action, but the audio is extremely crisp and clean.

(Buy Now $24.87)

Alicia Keys – VH1 Storytellers

Audio: LPCM 5.1

This concert has a small crowd and has a very intimate setting. Colorful curtains and backdrops set the scene for Key’s soulful music. The low-end is tight and sometimes even vibrates the couch. Her voice is sometimes sounds strained and a little congested but she still gives a solid performance. However, the star of the show was listening to her play the piano. The room was filled with every keystroke and making it more of an experience than just watching a concert.

(Buy Now $13.88)

Foo Fighters – Live at Wembley Stadium

Audio: LPCM 5.1 (48kHz, 24-bit)

There’s nothing like being a huge concert. Screaming crowds filled with energy and loud blaring rock music. This Blu-ray is the quintessential rock concert captured on Blu-ray.   The Foo Fighters have so many hits, this concert runs 2 hours long and even had a special appearance from Jimmy Page. The audio performance isn’t the best though. Vocals are a little echoy and muffled, low end is a bit muddy, however this is what most rock concerts sound like.

(Buy Now $20.34)

Ara’s Picks

The Eagles - Farewell Live From Melbourne

Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1

If you like the Eagles then this Disc is for you! Not only do you get the classic Eagles you also get the best from the band member’s solo stuff. The concert was in 2004 so no need for restoration. Just crystal clean audio and video. I couldn’t help smiling through the whole thing. Audio was clear and tight! My favorite by a long shot!

(Buy Now $16.88)

Heart - Live

Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1

This was a Soundstage concert made specifically for DVD/Blu-ray which made me leery of buying it. I was worried that they wouldn’t bring the energy. Fear not! The ladies brought it and put on a great show that included their classic songs as well as some great Zeppelin covers. The video was good quality but the audio put you right in the middle of the audience. Mixed with the music coming from the front and crowd from the surrounds mad for an enjoyable disc.

(Buy Now $9.99)

Dire Straits - Alchemy (20th Anniversary Edition)

Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1

I bought the Album and recorded it to cassette. Then I bought on CD and played it over and over again. I had never seen the concert but I knew it like the back of my hands. Seeing the concert made me so happy as now I could accurately imagine the scene. Unfortunately the video was 4:3 and not really the best. It was still better than SD but not on par with the other discs on the list. The audio wasn’t as good either. But it was certainly as good or better than the CD. I think I enjoyed this disc the most even though it was not technically as good as the others. That just goes to show you how powerful music is! It should always be enjoyed in the highest quality you can find!

(Buy Now $25.78

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Reader Comments (4)

Nice choices. I especially like Heart,Foo fighters and Adele. They all have a special affection to their craft. They love music and it shows. Thinking of Heart and how Nancy Wilson loves to do Zeppelin tunes how about Led Zeppelin celebration day bluray?

May 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBob S

Nice choices but surprised all are at best 5.1. I expected a mix of 5.1 and 7.1

Are there any music/concert Blu-rays coded beyond 5.1?

May 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterGreg

Really enjoyed this episode!

I definitely use a few of my favourite concert Blu-rays as my 1st choices for demo material. Here are my top 3. Maybe, Ara and Rodney, you'll check these out for another one of these episodes down the road:

My Number 3 --

Daniel Barenboim plays Beethoven's Complete Piano Sonatas:

http://www.amazon.com/Complete-Piano-Sonatas-1-32-Blu-ray/dp/B00925TA28/

It's older footage from 1983-84, and the soundtrack is only available in 2.0 PCM, but these 3 discs containing Barenboim's renditions of all 32 of Beethoven's Piano sonatas is one of my absolute favourites. I'll simply say, dynamics! Hurray!

My Number 2 --

John Mayer: Where the Light Is -- Live in Los Angeles:

http://www.amazon.com/John-Mayer-Where-Angeles-Blu-ray/dp/B0019HQIFE/

Video wise, this is a great black levels demo disc. Audio wise, it's simply fantastic. There's a 96/24 2.0 channel PCM version as well as a 5.1 Dolby TrueHD version on the disc. Mayer basically does three concerts in one, starting with a stripped down acoustic set, followed by a jazz set with his John Mayer Trio, and finishing off with a full rock band. It's an excellent demo disc.

My Number 1 --

Chris Botti in Boston

http://www.amazon.com/Chris-Botti-Boston-Blu-ray/dp/B001R60ESE/

I'm pretty darn sure I remember Ara talking about this disc with Craig from Dolby Labs!

There's 7.1 94/24 Dolby TrueHD on this disc, and it's something special. There's also a 2.0 PCM audio track, and it's markedly different from the surround sound audio track. Pretty much all of the audience sounds are removed from the 2.0 PCM version. They're also recorded at wildly different volume levels, so it's a little bit odd.

But differences in audio tracks (and some slightly weird authoring of the disc's main menu) aside, this is THE go-to demo disc for me. Just fantastic, and every kind of music you could want to hear.


So check these out if you haven't already! I'm certain you'll like at least one of them :)

- Rob H.

May 25, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRob H.

Ara if you are a Led Zeppelin fan then the Blu-ray of Zeppelin's celebration day is a no-brainer. It is not old material it is actually a filmed version of a 2007 concert at the O2 Arena in London. It was actually a movie that was released in the theaters in October 2013 which I went and saw at an IMAX theater both the video and the audio are very good but what's most important is that the performance is exceptional. I am a couple years younger than you so I never got to see Zepplin live but I have seen many videotapes of footage and have several of their bootlegged albums. If you are going to review Music Blu-rays again I would say this Zeppelin Blu-ray is a must.

June 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterWill

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