Who: Live At Royal Albert Hall
Image // Unrated // $24.98 // September 25, 2001
Review by Aaron Beierle | posted September 30, 2001
Highly Recommended
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The Movie:

A benefit for the Teenage Cancer Trust, the Who returned for this charity engagement at Royal Albert Hall, bringing together some special guests for the event (Eddie Vedder, Bryan Adams, Noel Gallagher and others). The show's guests occasionally join the band to add their own little touches to the band's classic numbers, but the majority of the show has the band simply giving it all they've got as they intensely roar through a lengthy and entertaining set. The amount of energy the now somewhat older band offers during the performance really compares and outdoes the kind of spirit that most bands half their age bring to the stage. A really incredible performance from one of rock's best bands.

I Can't Explain
Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere
Pinball Wizard
My Wife
The Kids Are Alright
Magic Bus
Who Are You
Baba O-Riley
Heart To Hang Onto
So Sad About Us
I'm One
Behind Blue Eyes
You Better You Bet
The Real Me
Won't Get Fooled Again
Let's See Action
My Generation
See Me, Feel Me


VIDEO: "Live at Royal Albert Hall" is presented in 1.77:1 anamorphic widescreen by Image Entertainment. One of their best concert film transfers, the presentation offers excellent sharpness and detail throughout the majority of the show, with the exception of a few shots here and there that seem a little softer in comparison. Pixelation and edge enhancement are kept in check and really don't show up during the show and I didn't find any other concerns or problems. Colors appeared richly rendered and vibrant. A stellar presentation.

SOUND: "Live at Royal Albert Hall" is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1. Before I go any further, I must warn that this is one of those DVDs that, for those of you who have neighbors, they might not like you very much if you play this full blast for a few hours. I must say that, although I've been extremely pleased and often impressed with the audio side of Image Entertainment's concert offerings, I've never heard one that sounded this ferocious. From the opening moments on, this is an extremely L-O-U-D soundtrack, but one that's also quite positive in the way that it delivers its sonic assault.

The amount of depth to the sound is truly remarkable. Where concerts usually present a strong amount of ambience, I've never heard one present such a convincing feeling of space. The information coming from both the rears and the front seemed to extend outward and provide an incredibly immersive and enveloping experience. Crowd noise and general hall ambience seemed almost breathtakingly realistic - I have to say that I don't think I've ever felt more like I was at a concert while listening to a DVD presentation than this. The surrounds provided solid re-verb for the music that seemed like it would strongly resemble the actual experience of the show. Thankfully, this isn't one of those presentations that throws too much musical information into the surrounds; the rear speakers offer just the right mix of crowd sounds and music to envelop the listener without taking the focus away from the front speakers.

Again, the sound quality is marvelous. Although the music is presented at a level so powerful and dynamic that it may startle some at first, the actual sound quality itself is simply superb. Loud, but definitely not thin or shrill, this is a well-recorded live performance that is entirely comfortable and often thrilling to listen to. For those that don't have neighbors who are easily irritated, I'd definitely recommend pushing the volume to "11" while watching this performance. The entire performance offered some very strong low bass to go along with the already fierce sound, as well.

The instruments also sounded very well defined across the front speakers, not simply blending into a mess. Vocals also shared space terrifically, really very strongly delivered by the front three speakers. I think there are some tremendous sound presentations of concerts out there on DVD and I've reviewed many of them. This was really something above and beyond, delivering a really exciting, rich and dynamic sound experience that really gives the viewer a "you-are-there" feeling.

MENUS:: As usual, nicely laid-out menus from Image that are easily navigated. The second disc has all of the options presented on one menu, which is always nice.

EXTRAS:: All of the extras are on disc 2 of this 2 DVD set.

Pinball Wizard: The second disc offers a performance of "Pinball Wizard" with seven different angles.(Also in DTS/DD 5.1, Dolby 2.0).

Backstage: A short backstage clip is offered that shows rehersal footage and crew at work.

Rehersals: Clips from pre-show rehersals for Eddie Vedder, Kennedy, Bryan Adams, Paul Weller, Noel Gallager and Pete and Roger.

Interview: There's an interview with Roger Daltrey about the Teenage Cancer Trust. 7 1/2 minutes.

Final Thoughts: A truly stunning performance that gets an amazing presentation on this DVD release, "Live at Royal Albert Hall" simply rocks. The DVD's sound presentation is unbelievable, an absolute treat for fans of the band and really, anyone who likes to experience a rock show on DVD. Highly Recommended.

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