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Tom Petty’s death last year re­minded many peo­ple of how great an artist he was, and watch­ing him on ‘Live in Con­cert’ with the Heart­break­ers is sure to break yours.

Tom Petty and the Heart­break­ers Live in Con­cert

Di­rec­tor: Joe Thomas Star­ring: Tom Petty, Ron Blair, Mike Camp­bell, Ben­mont Tench, Scott Thurston, Steve Fer­rone. Movie: A– | Pic­ture: A| Sound: A– | Ex­tras: B

Tom Petty died, sur­pris­ingly and sur­pris­ingly early, just a few weeks ago as I write this. There seemed to be a broad re­ac­tion: ‘Oh, I’d for­got­ten about him.’ It struck me that Tom Petty and the Heart­break­ers, and the other artist we’re look­ing at this is­sue, are in that weird cat­e­gory of enor­mously suc­cess­ful per­form­ers who, for some rea­son, are per­pet­u­ally out of fash­ion. Their fans are as fa­nat­i­cal as any, but there don’t seem to be many who view their fan­dom as a sta­tus sym­bol. Their fans don’t be­moan that al­bum where the group ‘went com­mer­cial’. They love them as they are.

This con­cert is part of the Sound­stage TV se­ries, this one cap­tured on the re­turn of the se­ries in 2003 af­ter a two decade hia­tus. The venue is fairly small and rel­a­tively in­ti­mate for a full band set-up. The au­di­ence is maybe a cou­ple of hun­dred strong and the venue is well lit. Each of the band mem­bers clearly has their own par­tic­u­lar fans amongst the au­di­ence.

Four Heart­break­ers in­clud­ing Petty him­self are from the orig­i­nal 1976 in­car­na­tion.

The con­cert is in two parts for no ob­vi­ous rea­son, and there is a bunch of bonus tracks, amount­ing to more than two hours of mu­sic. It starts off a lit­tle low in en­ergy, the band mem­bers in nice suits and pleas­ant smiles. Mu­si­cally the group is tight, con­trolled, and pre­cise. There’s no doubt­ing the mu­si­cian­ship.

But by the sev­enth song the band has shaken loose, the jack­ets have mostly been shed. And there’s a great deal more en­ergy. The ex­tended, near prog rock, ex­cur­sions in the mid­dle of Melinda sig­nal a move away from the straight south­ern rock with coun­try over­tones. A cou­ple of bluesy rock­ers are fol­lowed by a pow­er­ful per­for­mance of Refugee to fin­ish off the first pro­gram. The sec­ond pro­gram must have been recorded on a sep­a­rate day be­cause it starts with jack­ets on again.

There are three ver­sions of the au­dio pro­vided. The de­fault is a loss­less sur­round track in the form of DTS-HD Master Au­dio 5.1. It has 48kHz sam­pling with 24-bits of res­o­lu­tion. If you have a sur­round sys­tem, this is the best mix be­cause it leaves the mu­sic at the front, just adding a lit­tle depth in the front sound stage, while pulling out the au­di­ence ap­plause and cheers and feed­ing them to the sur­round speak­ers. The 24-bit stereo LPCM ver­sion leaves these up front as well, oc­ca­sion­ally re­duc­ing the clar­ity of the mu­sic.

The mix is a bit brighter than usual for this kind of con­cert, soft­en­ing the bass some­what, and em­pha­sis­ing the Dy­lanesque tone of Petty’s voice.

FEA­TURES

Run­ning time: 109 min­utes Pic­ture: 1.78:1, 1080i60, MPEG4 AVC @ 29.74Mbps Sound: English: DTS-HD Master Au­dio 24/48 3/2.1 @ 5356kbps (core: DTS 24/48 3/2.1 @ 1509kbps); English: LPCM 24/48 2/0.0 @ 2304kbps; English: Dolby Dig­i­tal 3/2.1 @ 640kbps Sub­ti­tles: Nil Fea­tures: 8 Bonus Tracks (1080i60 - 33 min­utes, same au­dio as main) Re­stric­tions: Ex­empt, Re­gion Free

Meat Loaf Guilty Plea­sure Tour

Di­rec­tor: Paul Brown Star­ring: Meat Loaf, Patti Russo, Paul Crook, John Miceli, Randy Flow­ers, David Luther, Danny Mi­randa, Justin Avery, Ginny Luke. Movie: B| Pic­ture: A| Sound: B| Ex­tras: B

Ev­ery­one bought ‘Bat Out of Hell’ back in the day. It’s likely the fifth big­gest sell­ing record of all time with sales of 43 mil­lion, and it ap­par­ently still sells 200,000 per year. Yet get­ting the la­bel’s pro­mo­tions peo­ple to do any­thing with the record was a huge chore at the start. Why? Be­cause it, and Meat Loaf, were un­cool.

But the man him­self and his man­age­ment per­sisted. And as this 2011 con­cert in the Syd­ney En­ter­tain­ment Cen­tre at­tests, he still draws the fans.

By the time of this con­cert (en­joy it—five years later the build­ing was de­mol­ished) his veg­e­tar­ian days are clearly well be­hind him. He’s got a big rock band to back him and most of the mu­sic is de­liv­ered in a su­per­charged form—fast, colour­ful, loud and very, very busy. This is in­cred­i­bly high-en­ergy stuff. It’s no won­der that he oc­ca­sion­ally col­lapses dur­ing per­for­mances. There’s a lot of sweat on stage.

The disc cover boasts of the fif­teen high-def­i­ni­tion cam­eras used to record this. Be­ing Aus­tralian, it’s ac­tu­ally shot at 25 frames per sec­ond rather than 24 or 30/60. All those cam­eras were, it seems, used all the time. The cut­ting is as fre­netic as the per­for­mance. It’s a rare mo­ment when the camera is left on a per­former for more than two sec­onds, and usu­ally that’s dur­ing a fast zoom in or out.

The con­cert seems to be or­gan­ised around a theme in­volv­ing some­one called Pa­trick, with a baker’s dozen of Meat­loaf’s songs il­lus­trat­ing this per­son’s story… what­ever it might be. There’s in­ter­sti­tial nar­ra­tion that was very hard to make out, and some­what whis­tle-ly in sound through the PA, from where it was ap­par­ently recorded.

I was quite dis­ap­pointed in the sound. There was a lot go­ing on mu­si­cally and it seemed ex­ces­sively crowded, with no air or space in the record­ing. Meat Loaf’s voice was too far down in the mix. The drum lacked body, but other­wise was a touch too high in level. Ini­tially it was ex­cit­ing, but by the time You Took the Words was un­der­way—around forty min­utes in—it was get­ting wear­ing.

A 24-bit DTS-HD Master Au­dio sound track—that’s the only au­dio track—should sound bet­ter than this; cleaner, more dis­crete in the el­e­ments. Es­pe­cially as the mix uses the en­tire 360-de­gree space for the var­i­ous in­stru­ments, some­times even map­ping in­di­vid­ual drum strokes off to the sides or the rear.

But you know de­spite all those tech­ni­cal is­sues, and de­spite the fast video cut­ting, this disc is worth own­ing to see how one man, Meat Loaf, can hold a cou­ple of thou­sand Syd­ney res­i­dents in the palm of his hand. Stephen Daw­son

FEA­TURES

Run­ning time: 125 min­utes Pic­ture: 1.78:1, 1080i50, MPEG4 AVC @ 32.00Mbps Sound: English: DTS-HD Master Au­dio 24/48 3/2.1 @ 5133kbps (core: DTS 24/48 3/2.1 @ 1509kbps) Sub­ti­tles: Nil Ex­tras: Doc­u­men­tary (1080i50, DD2.0 @ 448kbps - 38 mins) Re­stric­tions: Ex­empt, Re­gion Free

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