'Pink Floyd - Pulse'
(David Gilmour, Nick Mason, et al / 2-Disc DVD / NR / 2006 / CMV)
Overview: This landmark DVD features the first ever film of Pink Floyd playing the band's seminal album, The Dark Side of the Moon, live in concert. The set documents the 1994 Division Bell tour and was filmed at London's Earls Court during a record-breaking 14-night residency. The two-disc release contains the full concert performance with rare backstage footage and previously unseen extras making the collection a must-have for Pink Floyd fans.
DVD Verdict: I watched the DVDs twice and can say that the audio quality is first rate. There is a unique type of 5.1 reproduction that can be set-up where it has a higher bit rate, along with the normal 5.1 and of course basic stereo. The narrative in the DVD case explains that the higher bit rate 5.1 can give higher quality, however it might not be supported by older equipment. My 3-year-old Sony DVD player and new (less than 6 month old) Sony digital receiver seem to support the higher bit rate, and since I could switch back and forth between both 5.1 effects via my remote during play, I could tell some subtle differences, but it did not have enough of a change to make me feel that there is any less quality from the standard 5.1 rendering. Regardless of which set-up you use, the sound is fantastic. While the sound is great, there is a weakness in the visual department. The quality of the video is fine, but the things that are presented are lacking for two reasons. First, except for a few times, the camera work is too kinetic. It is as if there was a 10 second rule... no static shot for longer than 10 seconds... really, try counting to 10 (or even 5) during any part of the film. You just start to watch Gilmour tear into a solo, and then they change the image to the back-up singers who are only swaying while not actually singing. Or they do some bang, bang, bang thing where they go drummer, bass player, back-up singer, guitar, drum, horn, all too rapidly to appreciate the actual skill of the person that should be getting a long single framed shot at that specific time. The other problem is that the band is playing in a giant venue and there is a terrific light and laser show going on that encompasses the entire arena. There is no way to experience the effect that the audience was seeing on a T.V. screen, yet the video keeps trying by putting too many long shots, where the band looks like ants and the screen is washed out with strobes and laser beams. The resulting effect is one that both takes away from the musical performance while rendering the light show as a small unimpressive thing. I want to see Pink Floyd up-close and on full screen, not the view that the people in last row had. There was way too many of these long shots, and often right when you would wish to be watching the actual musicians produce that great sound. If there was ever a case for the multiple angle potential of the DVD, this would be it. They had the footage, so allow the viewer to watch what they want, a close-up of the band or tiny ants that you are told are Pink Floyd washed out in a light show. In the future I can see myself putting this on as a music only DVD (with the T.V. turned off) quite often and enjoying the sonic experience without the jerky camera work. There are a lot of extras, many that will only be watched once I assume. One of the better ones is the band being inducted into the Rock and Roll hall of fame, where Billy Corgan gave the testimonial and also played rhythm guitar on a nice stripped down version of "Wish you were here". Overall, the show was very good. There are several times when you feel the absence of Roger Waters, especially in light of the band's reunion for Live 8. It was almost painful to watch "Comfortably Numb" where they used multiple singers and some electronics to do Roger's part. This might have been O.K. in 1994, but since the DVD of the full group from a year ago can be had, the 1994 performance pales until the Gilmour vocals and the great guitar work come in. In the hierarchy of what `Floyd fans have on DVD, this probably falls below that 20-some minutes from Live 8, and because of the audio quality above "Live at Pompeii". Still, it is nice to have this set after so long a wait. This is a Full Screen Presentation (4:3) and runs for @ 180 minutes.