Korn has been an unstoppable force in heavy music for fourteen years, and there doesn't seem to be any end in sight. They've been able to draw a legion of head banging fans with a diverse catalogue of music that ranges from riff heavy anthems of anger, to experimental, gloomy electronica. Over the years, their music has become a little more radio friendly than some of their earlier efforts. One thing we can't deny Korn however, is a great stage presence if the right songs are chosen on any given night. With Korn - Live on the Other Side hitting Blu-ray, anyone who's considering picking this up has to consider the quality of the show they're buying. Did we get one of the better Korn shows of all time, or was the show used as an excuse to further promote their latest and most radio friendly album of all?
Let's get right to it, here's the track list:
Here to Stay
Got the Life
Falling Away From Me
Did My Time
Shoots and Ladders
Freak on a Leash
Another Brick in the Wall/Goodbye Cruel World
Y'all Want A Single
I've got to say, I'm a little disappointed in the set that we've been given for this release. It's a pretty long set for a band that needs so much energy to pull it off to do, and I can certainly appreciate the effort that was shown throughout its entirety. The band has a lot of energy, there's no denying that. Jonathan, Munky, Fieldy, and David Silveria, have been playing the same songs for a very long time on stage, and they still commit every part of their being to the show.
Unfortunately, the show is made up of all the expected songs, hardly taking any time to indulge in any of the lesser known fan favorites that didn't receive any radio play. Where's It's On, Chi, Trash, Wake Up, Thoughtless, One More Time, or Right Now? I know it's all a matter of personal taste here, but this set list plays it very safe.
There are some pacing issues throughout the show as well. Everything is moving along fine. Songs that people know are being played, and there are even some treats along the way. Jonathan plays the bagpipes, the band plays a snippet from Metallica's One, they go into Freak on a Leash, and then we get a Pink Floyd medley. With the high energy and pace the show delivered up until this point, Another Brick in the Wall/Goodbye Cruel World ends up being sort of a downer. Right after that however, the band goes into one of their better show opening songs of all time, Blind. I can't think of a worse transition that could happen in the middle of a set. You come along a show stopper, and then pick it up with what's notoriously known as a show opener? Come on, guys!
Their last album seemed to split many fans away from the pack, with songs that were trying to be more catchy than creative. Songs that I personally never cared for, such as Twisted Transistor, seem to work very well live. I was dreading seeing them get their time in the spotlight, but I was pleasantly surprised to have actually enjoyed their live translations much more than their studio counterparts.
This isn't a bad show by any means, but Korn should know just as well as anyone, that you need to mix up a set better than this if you really want to knock it out of the park. Is Korn - Live on the Other Side the best live show from the band available for home video? I'd say yes, but that 'yes' comes with a 'so far' after it, as I hope to see a release in the future that's geared more for long time fans, and not just for those who know how to work an FM radio dial.
I've seen concerts on home video that were an absolute train wreck when it came to the camera work. Some performances seem to be littered with cameraman hopefuls that can't help but to zoom in and out like madmen, thinking that it looks stylish and cool. Fortunately, there's none of that nonsense here. Whatever camera movements you see are very natural and pleasing to the eyes, and there's a very wide diversity camera angles throughout the entire performance.
This 1080p transfer is an AVC encode, and is at an aspect ratio of 1.78:1. It looks very good. There doesn't seem to be any edge enhancement or DNR. The only minor issue there is throughout the entire presentation, is some digital noise/grain that looks a little excessive during dark crowd shots, but for the most part, this is a pretty impressive looking picture.
As I said, there's no edge enhancement, and the image isn't given an unnatural sharpness to compensate. Instead, the sharpness looks natural, providing a great sense of depth, which is great considering the numerous long shots we get throughout the performance. Black levels are nice and inky, and bright lighting never seems to wash out darker portions of the image. The many shades of blue and purple that are used on stage via the lighting are saturated nicely. If you're looking for a fine Korn performance as far as the picture quality goes, look no further!
This concert is presented with a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track, and like the video, it's a damn near flawless transfer. Highs and lows are able to pump through an able system without a hitch, there's no distortion, nothing that points out any imperfection at all. Surround effects with the crowd and slight touches of music reverb is accurate and never overpowering, Jonathan can be heard clearly throughout the entire set, and each instrument can be heard throughout the sets entirety as well.
The only real gripe I have with the audio isn't with the transfer, it's with the mix. It's so professionally done, it sounds like a recording for a live CD, which is basically a near studio quality recording, but with a live crowd in the background. With such a pristine picture being offered alongside a really nice audio track, I would have preferred something that sounded more like actually being at the show. The point is to bring home the experience, right? There should have been a much bigger reaction from my sound system for the drums, and even from the slap-happy bass. However, it sounds like everything was kept at an even level to make this an easy listen, and not necessarily the accurate one to convey for a concert.
See You on the Other Side - MTV Europe decided to host a pretty awesome contest, which included a chance to meet Korn, hitch a ride with them on a plane, and see them perform... on the plane! Several lucky bastards had the opportunity to see this once in a lifetime performance, as well as being able to just sit around and chill with the band members to boot. At first, the 'contest' nature of this feature seems like it would be a turnoff but, this did a great job at keeping me hooked. I mean, how can I not see these average Joe's sitting on a plane ready to see Korn perform, and not think that's some of the coolest shazzle I've ever seen?!
See Who's on the Other Side - This is a shorter featurette, and it gives an opportunity to the tour crew to be able to say hi. This feature wasn't so interesting, but it's nice to know who's been working their butt off to make the high energy Korn concerts go off without issue.
Juke Box - I griped about the bad song order up in my review, so I found this feature to be quite enjoyable. You can mix around the eighteen tracks in any order you want, creating the Korn performance you would prefer the most. This is a pretty cool feature that I haven't really seen on a music DVD or Blu-ray before, so I'm glad I got to tinker around with this. Call me old school, but my show started off with Blind immediately following the Intro!
Also included is the live music video for Coming Undone.
As you can see, there's not much in the extras department. Korn has been on the scene for so long, why not make a documentary about putting a performance together, or following the band from the end of the prior show to this one? Instead, we have what appears to be a presentation meant for MTV, a short and uninteresting featurette, the juke box feature, a music video, and that's it. I think something else could have been done for this release. I know the DVD has been out for a while, but even back when it was released on DVD, there could have been more.
If you're an avid Korn fan, then there's really no reason you shouldn't get this concert on Blu-ray, unless you're like me and would want to hold out for a performance that's more for the long time fans, instead of the one we have here that's more 'mainstream'. Other than that, this is a very nice production. The camera work is excellent, the video and audio quality is superb, and the band is loaded with energy. Despite the fact we have a set list that isn't exactly mind blowing, this is the definitive Korn performance you can get on home video to date. This is a release that I would recommend to Korn fans, casual or otherwise. The extras are minimalistic at best, yes, but you wouldn't be watching this for the features, would you?