Someone should have fired the sound engineer.
M. Giunta | salem, ma United States | 11/29/2005
(2 out of 5 stars)
"The English beat were always one of my favorite groups and i was lucky to have seen one of their amazing concerts in the eighties.This release is a disgrace,ruined by the poorest mix ive heard on a dvd concert.bass is upfront and muddy,Dave wakelings guitar is low and thin sounding along with his vocals.the drums are not properly miked giving a banging on card board boxes effect.the keyboard player is not heard at all and the magnificent Saxa sounds like he is playing in another room.The performance is listless but that might just be because you cant really hear it with all the energy mixed out of it.
The worst is yet to come with almost an hour special features interview with three original members that is lively and informative but the audio is about three minutes out of sync with the video which makes it unwatchable.The concert video quality is fair but is poorly lit and much too dark with boring camera shots.This band deserved so much more than this and i doubt if we will ever see another concert dvd from them.
If you do buy this for historical reasons you might want to use the dolby 2.0 option over the awful 5.1 Ive already discussed.Its not much better but at least its all upfront like an old mono mix."
I feel like I won the lottery!
M J Heilbron Jr. | Long Beach, CA United States | 09/27/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The English Beat was one of my favorite bands, and they should have been one of yours.
They burned brightly during the early 80's with three albums, two of them stone cold classics ("I Just Can't Stop It" and "Special Beat Service"). They were lumped together with bands like Selecter, Madness, and the Specials as members of the ska-punk-pop movement. They were wildly popular in England, moderately so here.
This DVD documents a glorious reunion gig over there in the UK, and it makes me feel like I won the lottery. I missed the Beat (and their "offspring", General Public) several time on tour back then, and now I finally can revel in their unique blend of ska, reggae, unadulterated rock and fizzy pop.
Original band members include Dave Wakeling, Ranking Roger, Everett Horton and Saxa, their million-year-old saxophone player. They're all a little older, and they seem to be a little slow, tempo-wise, at the beginning of the show.
I think it's because, as stage vets, they know how to pace themselves.
As the show goes on, the energy rises, Ranking Roger's manic bouncing almost reaches lift-off, and Mr. Wakeling's driving rhythm guitar and soulful vocals soar to great heights.
They run through all their "hits", the only "big" one missed being "I Confess". They all sound glorious. "Tears Of A Clown" (still one of the best Motown covers ever), "Save It For Later", "Hands Off She's Mine", "Doors Of Your Heart", "Mirror In The Bathroom", "Ranking Full Stop", "Best Friend", "Rough Rider", "Click "Click", "Get A Job/Stand Down Margaret"...
The Beat was known for not only their tunefulness and instrumental prowess, but also for their intelligence and political attitude. They were never afraid to offer an opinion; I loved how they tweaked their anti-Thatcher rocker, "Stand Down Margaret" to incorporate Bush and Tony Blair...
They are clearly having fun on stage, and when Saxa, seated in a chair for the majority of the show, takes over on the mike, he's a riot.
His clean, concise and lyrical sax lines are often the highpoint of any individual song, and he delivers them all from his folding chair right there in front on stage. In fact, when he gets up to boogie near the end of the show, it's almost like seeing the Sphinx get up and move...
If you're a fan of The Beat, or a fan of that era, this is a must-buy. Right now."
A bit of a let down
Sir David Gentleman III | Wellington, New Zealand | 05/17/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"You won't find too many fans of The English Beat as devoted as me. So, the idea of a quality, live DVD being released was almost too much to bare.
Shortly after it arrived, I slammed the disc into my DVD player, the words of others echoing in the back of my mind with complaints of poor sound quality. I persevered though, because I really, REALLY wanted to like this DVD.
Unfortunately, I'd have to say that issues with this DVD raised by others are pretty much on the mark. However, for me, the biggest let down was an astonishing lack of atmosphere. Crowd shots are few and far between, in fact, you barely even see an outward shot for the first 3/4 of the disc. Not to mention that you can't even hear the poor b******s. For all intents and purposes, this recording could have been made in an empty hall for all the feeling that it has.
Before it was over, I was skipping tracks to get to the end.
The set list is quality, don't get me wrong, but largely overlooks the astonishingly good album tracks from "Wha'ppen", which, in my mind, stand out as some of the best work by The English Beat, the CD regularly finding itself on my play list.
The energy only really kicks in when Ranking Roger's son (Ranking Jnr.) hits the stage in an extended, almost dubby (and very, very trippy) version of Mirror in the Bathroom, producing the best track on the disc by far.
At the end of the day, I feel that the production is what sets this disc back. The English Beat (aside from my comments on the set list) are faultless in the quality of their performance. If only the producers of this DVD had sat back and watched Madness's "Live at Madstock" package, they may have been able to produce something worthy of "The Beat"."