- The only Blur lyric most Americans know
For the uninitiated, Blur is, in the minds of many, the beginning of Brit-pop: A distinct genre that blends arena rock energy with heavy guitar distortion and an outsider mentality. The band has had one hit single with "Song 2," (best known for lead singer Damon Albarn yelling the aforementioned lyric at the top of the chorus) and one semi-hit with "Girls and Boys." In fact, Albarn may be best known here for his work as lead singer of the cartoon rock band the Gorillaz.
Starshaped is a documentary/"road movie" that follows the British band on tour at the beginning of its career (even before "Girls and Boys"), intercutting performance material with home movies of the band drinking, talking nonsense and, in one memorable scene, vomiting.
These types of "day in the life" are very difficult to review. The tour footage is not spectacular, nor is it anything different than any of the other countless band DVDs available. The guys goof around, ride on a bus, fight and perform.
The key selling point for Starshaped is the footage from the shows. It's shot quite effectively, capturing the energy of the early Blur concerts. As for the sound ... see below.
The set list from the feature:
4. There's No Other Way
6. She's So High
7. Colin Zeal
9. When Will We Be Married
10. Sunday Sunday
11. Wassailing Song
13. Day Upon Day
14. For Tomorrow
15. Postman Pat Theme
16. Chemical World
18. Commercial Break
19. Sunday Sunday
The footage is home video bits from Blur on tour, so this isn't exactly HD. There's been no distinguishable remastering, for certain. The black-and-white footage looks better than the color, and all of it is soft, with serious grain. It's in its original full-frame aspect ratio.
The 2.0 stereo track here is atrocious - it is static laden and distorted. For a music DVD to come up with this level of audio means that someone had to have dropped the ball somewhere. It is just unacceptable, and pretty much negates the purpose of having the DVD. This does not appear to be just a problem of a poor screener copy; the fans at Blur's official Web site seem to agree.
There are two advertised DVD extras and one hidden. An hour-long concert from just after the band signed its first record deal ("Live at Kilburn") is the highlight, though even it has a fatal flaw; It sounds fine, unlike much of the feature, but is not split up by track at all. There are no chapters, just one hour-long block. The other concert is from 1990, at the band's very beginning, from the Princess Charlotte in Leicester. The review copy provided - along with being just a DVD-R burn and sans any sort of packaging, save a photocopied sleeve - has no audio for the Leicester gig.
There is a fun hidden extra - from the main menu, hit the right directional button to select the star and watch the band's first (terrible!) U.S. music video.
A music DVD with bad audio - what's the point? For hardcore Blur fans, this is still a mandatory purchase. For anyone else, it's an easy pass.