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Live in Paris 1979 [Blu-ray] [Import anglais]
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Now, a Blu-Ray (and DVD) has been released of the classic Supertramp performances from Paris in December of 1979 called Supertramp Live in Paris 1979.
The film was shot and recorded in December of 1979 in Paris, France at the Pavillion on the penultimate night of the band's Breakfast in America European tour. Supertramp Live in Paris is a superb concert film, capturing the band at the peak of their popularity when co-leader/guitarist/singer/keyboard player/songwriter Roger Hodgson was still with the group. When you consider that the possibility of Hodgson returning to Supertramp these days very doubtful, Paris becomes an extremely important live document of the classic lineup of the band, indeed. This concert film had been fabled for years and no footage had been officially released (aside "The Logical Song" and "Dreamer" as promo films) it wasn't until the master tapes of the December 1, 1979 performance were discovered in drummer Bob Siebenberg's barn in cow dung. Then longtime producer Peter Henderson and old concert sound engineer Russell Pope (whom produced the original album) painstakingly restored and transferred the audio from analog to digital and brilliantly mixed the audio. Then Peter Clifton (the same man who finished Led Zeppelin's The Song Remains the Same after Joe Massot bailed) salvaged the footage shot by Derek Burbidge (who filmed much of The Police's promo videos in the day) and added some bits to round out the film. What is available is a superb document of the classic Supertramp lineup.
Many great Supertramp classics are included in this live concert film, such as most of 1974's grand breakthrough Crime of the Century (the spirited opener "School", a slightly extended "Bloody Well Right", an excellent "Hide in Your Shell", a superb "Asylum', the Top 20 hit "Dreamer", a superb "Rudy" and the closing "Crime of the Century" which closes this live concert film), two songs from 1975's highly underrated followup Crisis? What Crisis? ("Another Man's Woman" and "Two of Us" both superior to studio versions), three from 1977's Gold selling US breakthrough Even in the Quietest Moments (the title cut, "Give a Little Bit" and the best version of "Fool's Overture" ever which has an ending that is to be seen to believe), and half of the #1 Multi-Platinum selling Breakfast in America (the monster hit "The Logical Song", the hit "Goodbye Stranger", the title cut, the Top 20 smash "Take The Long Way Home" and the epic closer "Child of Vision").
Hodgson and co-leader/keyboardist/singer/songwriter Rick Davies sing their hearts out and play their respective keyboards with great passion, and Hodgson also serves up some incredible fretwork on the guitar. Co-horts John Helliwell on saxophones/clarinets/occasional keyboards and additional backing vocals, drummer Bob C. Benberg and bass player Dougie Thomson have terrific interplay with Hodgson and Davies, helping to bring the band's great melodic music to life in tremendous fashion. Just like on their studio albums, the band totally cook live in concert, too. The songs on here rival their studio counterparts, especially on Rudy which is sped at faster speed than the studio version on the Roger/Rick vocal duel section and the visuals of the backdrop films are superb.
The songs that weren't shot for the film which were recorded ("Ain't Nobody But Me", "You Started Laughing", "Downstream", "A Soapbox Opera" and "From Now On") are here as bonus tracks with visuals created specifically for the DVD/Blu-Ray.
Also, much to Roger Hodgson's chagrin, the songwriting credits are printed on the back of the Blu-Ray (may not have been there on the first issue) and the Supertramp fans are just grateful that this classic document of the band's peak is FINALLY AVAILABLE!!!
I was wandering through my local "The Warehouse" store in Auckland today and caught a glimpse of the DVD cover in the rack. The Paris Live concert was there for $18.99 NZ and I saw that it was a 1979 concert that had gone through some degree of restoration. The track listing was impressive and I said to myself - "you have to have it".
One of the early reviewers has summed it up pretty well in saying that for its age, the video and audio quality are surprisingly good. The picture fills the entire screen of my HD TV (ie. not a 4:3 ratio picture). The long distance shots may be a bit grainy but there are not many of these and the lighting for the close up shots is very good which provides favourable conditions for the older cameras to capture a nice clear picture (but do not expect HD quality of course).
I have the 1981 Journey "Escape" concert and the mid 80's Dire Straits "Alchemy" concert and the picture and sound quality of the Supertramp "Paris" concert is better than these, the video is certainly better.
For those who have a good home theatre system, you will get a nice thump from the drums through the sub. There is a full band for this concert (unlike Roger's later concert with just himself and the saxophonist).
The big hits from the "Breakfast In America" concert sound very much like the CD (the "Child Of Vision" song has a slightly different arrangement when it gets to the long instrumental second half) and overall, this DVD had me spellbound in the chair!
I was really impressed to hear and see the ten minute long "Fool's Overture". This was terrific to see live.
Overall, if you have the 'Story Ss Far" and then buy this DVD, you will have a relatively complete history of Supertramp. If you really like this band, you will have to find this DVD something to behold!
The quality of the video and audio is quite simply stunning for something this old,a few of the long distance shots can be a little grainy, but this is probably due to the limitations of the original source tapes,didn't spoil the show at all for me though i have to say,the producers have really worked miracles and many long hours i'd guess in restoring the footage from the original source tapes.
The concert itself is the holy grail for us long suffering supertramp fans, just one dvd of the band(the story so far) to keep us going along with a bootleg or two over many years.
Most of supertramps greatest songs are performed fantasticaly well on december 1st 1979 for this dvd,the original paris album was mainly pulled from the 29th november show a few days earlier, so here we actually get to hear a show we've really never heard before, which i thought was a real bonus, obviously it sounds very similar to the origanal cd being from the same paris venue.
The whole band are so tight and look to really be enjoying the themselves on stage, shame thats not the case anymore, but never mind all that.
I love the close up footage of the members all effortlessly reproducing their music live,they are all multi instrumentalists and the sound they create on stage is unbelievably close to the original recordings, sometimes it sounds even better to my ears.
Anyway not much else to say but go and get yourself a copy, go home turn the lights down and let youself be transported back in time to a time when supertramp really were the biggest band in the world,cue the harmonica....
VIDEO QUALITY: I know that some people will knit-pick about the video quality; but it wasn't shot in Hi-Def -- that did not exist back in 1979. What you do have is an amazing restoration of what is probably 35mm or perhaps even 16mm film. And for what it is, it looks great. The lighting is good, so you can see the band members, and the camera work is decent. If you are expecting this to look like it was shot in Hi-Def, just because it is on blu-ray, then you do not understand blu-ray technology. But I can honestly say that I got so caught up in the music, that it did not bother me one bit. I would much rather have this video, such as it is, than a Hi-Def recording of the band today trying to recreate the magic they had back on this night in 1979. It is not even close.
AUDIO QUALITY: This is where the blu-ray really shines. This is a true 5.1 surround sound recording. If your system can decode DTS-HD then you are in for an unbelievable treat. If you do not hear how incredible this sounds, then the problem is your system. It is just superb in every way. Regular DVD sound simply can't touch it. I wanted to shout for joy during parts of this concert, it sounds that good. Every band member had it going in this concert, and you can hear it all. Over and over again I found myself cranking up the volume in another of the many great moments in this concert.
Let me end by saying a little about reports that one or more band members are unhappy about the release of this DVD. All of the guys in the band made a ton of money off of us fans. How about letting us have this one -- I think we deserve it. I know that you created the music, but we supported you for years by buying your albums. Why should this concert rot away in a barn just because you can't get along now. Anyway -- nuff said.
I got into Supertramp relatively late, that being after they released "Breakfast In America", but that was 34 years ago (has it really been 34 years?). I saw them in Houston at the Summit for their "Famous Last Words" tour and also for the following "Brother Where You Bound?" tour, sans Roger Hodgson. I always preferred Rick Davies to Roger Hodgson and I am most likely in the minority there, but Supertramp works best with both of them. They traded songs and the juxtaposition of the two, with Rick being cynical and Roger being the exact opposite was what made the band and the music work. Another reason I liked Rick singing was because that usually put Roger on guitar and he was a very underrated guitar player.
I only have two minor quibbles about this release. One, I didn't like the black screen between numbers, it ruined the flow of the concert. Two, Bob Siebenberg was barely shown, just briefly a couple of times. I realize that Rick & Roger were going to get the bulk of the attention and John Anthony Helliwell would be out front, but Bob's drumming is a big part of Supertramp and was certainly front and center at both shows that I attended. I did like that Dougie Thomson got some airtime on the bass, his playing was excellent for this show, as per usual.