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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Alanis Morissette: Feast on Scraps (DVD+CD)
Alanis Morissette: Feast on Scraps (DVD+CD)
Warner Bros. // Unrated // December 10, 2002
List Price: $24.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Aaron Beierle | posted December 17, 2002 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:

This concert film offers footage from Alanis Morissette's 2002 tour, combined with home video footage from the same tour of the singer discussing her thoughts on her music and life, along with some goofing around. Although I've always been a fan of the singers, this concert presentation shows that Morissette is a remarkably energetic live performer, especially in versions of "All I Really Want" and "Precious Illusions" that are more fierce than the album versions.

The concert presentation is a mixture of camcorder footage and what appears to be more professionally shot material. While a few shots here and there offer odd viewpoints, the majority of the concert captures the singer and backing band effectively, with not too much in the way of editing. The home video footage is mixed - some segments are insightful discussions of the singer's music and the accomplishments of the backing band. On the other hand, while some of the goofy segments are amusing, there are a few other goofy moments in the 150-minute program that could have been left on the editing room floor, as they don't really add much.

DVD tracks: Baba, Right Through You, 21 Things I Want in a Lover, Hand in My Pocket, Purgatorying 1, Unprodigal Daughter, Flinch, All I Really Want, Precious Illusions, Sympathetic Character, Purgatorying 2, So Unsexy, Head Over Feet, Purgatorying 3, You Oughta Know, Hands Clean, Uninvited, Ironic, You Learn, That Particular Time, Thank U

CD tracks: Fear of Bliss, Bent 4 U, Sorry to Myself, Sister Blister, Offer, Unprodigal Daughter, Simple Together, Purgatorying, Hands Clean (Acoustic)


The DVD

VIDEO: This concert film is presented in 1.78:1 widescreen, with the home video segments that come in-between songs presented in a windowboxed fashion. As with the audio quality, the video quality can vary, as well. Sharpness and detail are decent in spots and pleasing in others. Some segements show mild grain, while others seem free of it. Thankfully, only minimal artifacts are noticed. Colors are generally bright and vivid during the concert segements and flat during the home video portions.

SOUND: This concert film is presented in PCM 2.0 and Dolby Digital 5.1. The presentation is rather odd; when its sound its best, it really sounds quite terrific. At its worst, they sound like somebody in the front row was recording the performance on their tape recorder (a small warning on the back of the DVD box confirms that some segments were recorded on less-than-stellar equipment). As some of the performances here are taken from what appear to be different dates on the same tour, the sound can alternate in the middle of songs, with the audio suddenly going from a very professional, crisp quality to a muddy quality where details are just audible and back again (see the opening of "Precious Illusions"). Thankfully, the audio stays at the higher level throughout much of the 150-minute presentation.

That said, both the 5.1 and PCM 2.0 mixes have their positives and negatives, which can also seemed to vary slightly from song-to-song. The PCM 2.0 presentation offered a crisp, clean sound that remained both detailed and punchy. The 5.1 mix seemed a bit bassier, but it didn't seem to have the crisp highs that the PCM soundtrack captured and occasionally felt restrained. While I'd expected the 5.1 track to be enveloping, I felt as if the 5.1 mix suffered a little from the same problem that the 5.1 mix for the singer's "Under Rug Swept" album suffered from - the mix needed to be opened out a little, giving the instruments a bit more breathing room. The 5.1 presentation really doesn't give the surrounds very much to do. The PCM 2.0 track, when played in Pro Logic II, offered quite an immersive and enjoyable experience.

After getting used to the occasional stretch where the sound would drop to what sounded like tape recorder-quality (if I remember correctly, this was also an issue with another of Morissette's DVDs, "Jagged Little Pill: Live"), I found these presentations to be enjoyable, if flawed. I didn't dislike either of the soundtracks included on this DVD, but after comparing both, I found the PCM 2.0 track to be crisper, clearer and generally a more enjoyable experience.

EXTRAS: The DVD also includes a bonus CD of songs that were not able to be included on the singer's "Under Rug Swept" album.

Final Thoughts: Occasional silly home video footage aside, this 150-minute concert film is Morissette at her best, passionately throwing herself into a set of her most enjoyable songs. The DVD's audio/video quality is not consistent, but at its best, the presentation is enjoyable. The addition of an entire CD of outtakes from the singer's latest album makes this a very nice value that fans of the singer should consider a purchase of. Casual fans might also want to check it out, as the singer's performance here is terrific.

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