Outstanding video a must own for Sarah fans
Christopher J. Klugewicz | East TN, USA | 09/16/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you're a Sarah McLachlan fan and you own a DVD player, buy this video now. If you don't own a DVD player, go buy one, THEN buy this video. If you're not yet a Sarah fan, this is a good place to start!Sarah is brilliant here, as she is in all her live shows. The choice of songs is excellent, and the "extra songs" (not on the "Mirrorball" CD) are a treat.Technically, the DVD is terrific. Camera shots are varied nicely, with crane moves mixed with slow zooms, and the cinematography does justice to the sparkling staging of Sarah's shows. The audio is superb, with excellent miking of both vocals and instruments. (Audiophiles: soundstaging could be somewhat better, and the use of compressors robs the recording of some of the dynamic punch of the live event. The sound is rich, however, and the low end has much more definition than I've seen in a concert video before.)One reviewer mentioned audio synchronization issues: on a quality DVD player, this is not an issue -- players with inferior decoders or D/A converters may be unable to keep up with the data coming off the disc, however, resulting in apparent delays between the audio and video. I use an external D/A converter with my DVD player, and I've not seen any synchronization problems with this disc.All in all, very highly recommended!!!"
Ignore the naysayers!
James K. Joyce, Jr. | Kansas City, MO USA | 03/28/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I absolutely love it. Like many concert videos, it waspieced together from two back-to-back shows; that's how they makethem--they film two performances and take the best shots and make one video from it. That doesn't mean that the performances are fake. And as for the editing, maybe a few fades would have been nice, but overall I find it very enjoyable (love the close-ups of Sarah!) Of my current collection, this is the DVD I watch most often, and I haven't even been a fan of hers for very long. As for the picture quality, it is fantastic. I can't rate the 5.1 channel mix because I do not yet have a Dolby Digital receiver, but I am very happy with the quality of the stereo mix, and I think that's all you need for a music program anyway. END"
Performance overcomes the poor production
Neil | Canada | 08/09/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The performance captured here is tremendous as I think every would agree.
I didn't mind the visuals either, even though I was reluctant to get a 4:3 aspect ratio concert DVD. It scaled onto 16:9 not that badly. I liked the grainy film look but I suspect the visual quality and sync errors people are reporting are probably due to the DVD production house cramming 90 minutes of A/V plus extra angles into the stream. I appreciated being able to focus on an set angle on some of the tracks but I think they used 4 angles for the entire duration of the concert. I'm basing this on the fact my player was able to detect 4 angles at all times through the disc, even if those weren't 4 distinct angles. That excess material probably steals bandwidth from the overall visual quality.
Audio is another story though. I first came back here to check if my DVD was defective though because the 5.1 audio track sounded absolutely horrible - all boomy and full of echoes as if it had been recorded in a rink. It was bad enough that I had to double-check my equipment and then search here to confirm the source is the DVD itself.
I suspect the people not complaining about the audio are maybe not audiophiles or more probably they are listening to the 2 channel track, which is excellent. To my surprise and against my better judgement I find the only way I can listen to this disc is to use the 2 channel track and then let the receiver add the ambience - not a normal practice on my part and one which would ordinarily degrade the audio rather than improve it.
How does one rate this then? I'd want to give it a 5/5 based on the great peformance and the length. But a concert DVD like this needs to be rated against some of the standard bearers and I was very disappointed in how the audio stacks up. Not that it would have to exceed say Eagles DTS, but a concert DVD should not attract negative attention because of its poor sound.
I'd want to chop at least a couple of points for the poor audio and 4:3 AR, but since the stereo track serves as an OK substitute in this case I'm going to go with a 4/5
Furiae | USA | 03/31/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Yes, the images aren't paper-cut sharp, but in my opinion, it's not a big issue. I've viewed it on my 17" computer monitor and my 27" TV and have never felt it was a problem. I actually enjoy it being the way it is, as I feel it adds a certain flavor to the concert, a certain mystique that's very Sarah.I've read from other reviews that some people had issues with the sound quality and audio synching. I'll address both in order. First, sound quality. I actually found the sound very rich and enjoyable. To my ears, the music was pretty on par with the quality of the CD release of Mirrorball... but if you want die-hard CD quality, play the CD, I say. Next, audio synching. I had no problems with that on my DVD player and computer, but I had a friend who complained the audio synching was off on her DVD. After she upgraded her DVD player (she had previously been playing it on a rather ancient machine), she says the concert has been playing well ever since, so we're suspecting the problem may be with DVD players and not the DVD itself.Mirrorball is rich, dynamic, and above all, simplistic. I love Sarah's style and it shows on the concert. She walks around barefoot and doesn't once undergo a costume change. The only effects are the lighting effects. In essence, it's all about the music. Her showmanship shines and in every act, Sarah commands the stage. Simply put, every performance just gels together wonderfully to produce a fluid concert. Each atmosphere is simplistic, dark, a little moody, yet vibrant and lively, and striking- just like Sarah's music. She compromises nothing in this concert and everybody, including the band, seems absolutely at ease on the stage.All in all, this concert epitomizes "just enough to make it perfect." It isn't overdone and it isn't underdone.The way each song is executed is absolute perfection. In many cases with concerts, something goes missing. This seems to be the case with many pop artists whose rise to fame rests upon commercialized "canned" music, those artists who rely on studio magic to make their songs good. If you take away the glitz, glam, special effects, and outrageous costumes, the concerts would only be "ok" at best. Usually, there's a horrible gap in music quality between concerts and CDs. You'll find none of that on Mirrorball. I was surprised to find that Sarah is really that good, as good on stage as she is in the studio. On many of Sarah's songs, she creates music magic by overlapping vocals to create a more ethereal sound. I was wondering how she'd duplicate that on stage, but her backup singer, Camille Henderson, is splendid. Sometimes, the drummer backs up the sound, and I was surprised how just one or two more singers in the background could mesh with Sarah's sound so flawlessly.I think one of the things I found most enjoyable with this recording is how Sarah keeps the energy going by staying "into" the music. She moves around and grooves with the music, and I found myself entraced with her more so than watching other artists performing an extravagant dance number. That says a lot when one lady up on stage can keep you entranced with only a microphone in her hand, compared to other recording artists who need a choreographed dance number, an entourage of backup dancers to sell their concerts, and thousand dollar effects. Mirrorball was absolutely enchanting. Sarah is penetrating and mesmerizing. The entire ensemble that backed her up also deserves kudos for their performances. The set up and concept were simple. The music was truly what mattered and what took center stage on this recording, and it blew me away. I own concert DVDs of the Corrs, Kylie Minogue, Britney Spears, Sarah Brightman, Charlotte Church, and Josh Groban, but this concert is the one that constantly makes its way back into my DVD player most often.This was a very well done recording completely befitting of a beautiful artist."