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    The Way We Walk DVD: Genesis in 5.1 surround


    An interactive technological innovation or the superfluous rehash of an old concert?


    Monday, November 26, 2001 was the day Genesis released the second DVD in the history of the band (the first one was the Genesis Songbook). 


    coverThe content:

    The content: A complete recording of the 1992 We Can’t Dance Tour shot at Earl’s Court London, including four hour’s worth of bonus material made up of interviews, a photo gallery, multi-camera options and the official tour programme.

    Even before the DVD was released the fan community was divided into two camps. One side saw the DVD as a re-hash of the video that had been released years before on VHS. The other side and the English media saw the DVD release as “an important first step into the exciting world of DVD technology”. The reviewer would therefore not only like to give an overview, but also help you decide for yourselves.


    Main review

    The first two shops did not have the DVD available. The price at HMV seemed a bit high (DM 87,50, approx. EUR45), the reviewer finally bought in another shop for DM87,50 (approx. EUR40). That’s a lot of money, but seems to be the normal price for a double DVD. The first negative impressions came up when the reviewer unwrapped the DVD at home to take a look at the booklet. That’s the first big minus: There is no booklet. What a disappointment! You open the cover and there’s the two DVDs and nothing else, no booklet, no nothing. Eyebrows rise as I scan the track list. The familiar Drum Duet is called The Drum Thing here. So far, no explanation has been found for this change of title.

    Well, it’s all about what is on the DVDs, so I sat down at my PC to find out what is in store. PC freaks and other folks interested in hardware find a description of the hardware I tested the DVDs with.

    When you insert the first DVD you are automatically taken to the main menu below, which is actually identical for both DVDs. No division was made between the concert proper on one DVD and the bonus material on the other. This will turn out to be quite annoying at times. 


    Concert - start the concert

    Tracks - choose individual tracks from a beautifully animated menu

    Audio - choose between stereo, 5.1 surround sound and the audio commentary

    Cameras - choose one of up to four camera angles

    Extras - the tour programme, interviews and the photo gallery

    Info - data about the position of the cameras; here’s where you can turn on or off the screen cam info

    menuThe 5.1 sound has been selected, and off we go into the show. In the upper left corner there is a little camera symbol with a number between one and four. It irritates me, but I do not know how to turn it off. Back to the main menu, let’s find it. The Info menu provides the option to turn off the camera information. The camera is deactivated, back to the show and the camera is still there. It can only be removed by turning off the automatic subtitle display. So far so good. I switch to full-screen, but I cannot find the 16:9 image option because the concert was filmed in 4:3. Remember, that was 1992 and shooting in 16:9 was not yet possible then.

    After a brief pause we hear Chester’s first drum beats and the show begins with Land Of Confusion. The quality of the images is overwhelming, it feels as if the guys were playing next to me in the living room. Brilliant images, no comparison with the old video tape and its distorted images and ghost images anymore. I’m so surprised that I don’t even notice that the volume has not been adjusted yet. I change that for No Son Of Mine and only minutes later my neighbour is at the door asking if Genesis were playing a special concert for me, and I realize: Nothing can beat these images and this sound. Driving The Last Spike begins. Phil’s introduction proves that it is an identical copy of the VHS video tape.

    Then there is the Old Medley, a somewhat forced attempt to reconcile the old fans and show the others that “hey, we used to play different (better, in the reviewer’s opinion) music!” The medley is okay. After all, they could have left out all of the old material, so this is better than nothing.

    I am getting curious, so I try out the multicamera options til I finally get it right. There are twelve different cameras, but you can only choose between four angles for each track.

    While I’m my own camera man I spot Chester leaving his drums after the closing section of The Musical Box and handing over to Phil on his drum kit. Hilarious!

    The medley is followed by calm Fading Lights. After that, Phil is at his best asking people for eighteen million dollars: “Touch the screen!” Just when I feel I’m in London, enjoying the sound, applauding Jesus He Knows Me, I am torn out of my dreams because I have to change the DVD.

    WHAT THE …. ?

    Boy, that’s crap. Next time you put one concert onto one DVD and all the bonus material on the other DVD and leave off two camera angles if you have to. Changing the DVD, now that’s a mood killer!


    mike

    I get up angrily and change the DVD. Of course I have to adjust the audio and deactivate the camera as well. The show continues with Dreaming While You Sleep, a real good addition to the two Live CDs. This track can also be found on the Archive #2 and the CD single of Tell Me Why and I like it much better than many other songs. I am in raptures when the first notes of Home By The Sea ring out. Pity the introduction was cut. If you’ve seen the Knebworth show you know what I mean. No “contact with the other world” but, thanks to the angle options, at least a longer view at Banks’ keyboard playing and Rutherford’s guitar riffs.

    This long piece is followed by a song that is, in the reviewer’s opinion, as superfluous as schmaltzy, Hold On My Heart. We could have done without. Domino makes up for it, particularly since Phil’s introduction of the domino principle was included. There are many highlights that await discovery using different camera angles, including an outright mistake, a bug as it would be called at Microsoft: While we hear Phil thanking the audience ("You were very, very good and thank you for your participation") we see that he is not at the microphone anymore.

    If you want to check this out: Choose the 5.1 sound and pick camera angle 3 or 4. You will hear Phil say “You were very…” though he is not at the microphone anymore. Is anybody taking the mickey at us by splicing in audio/video material from another gig? A report on the official Genesis webpage (to be found at http://www.genesis-music.com/makingwww.htm) clears things up. Apparently this is a technical problem, but they’ve done a bad job at it. While I’m at it, why is the next number listed as The Drum Thing instead of Drum Duet?

    Finally there are I Can’t Dance and the shortened version of Tonight Tonight Tonight. The show ends with Turn It On Again (you might like to play around with the camera angles while Phil is doing his good-byes).


    drumBonus material

    The material was split along DVDs, not along topics. You can find interviews and photo galleries on both DVDs.

    On DVD1 you can browse through the complete official WCD tour programme (including promo photos and concert shots). This section is well-done and worth the inclusion.

    The interviews provide nothing that is really new. You can choose the individual band members’ interviews. You have to read the questions yourself and have them answered by mouse click. As on the Songbook DVD, the guys (most interestingly Tony) occasionally demonstrate how some of the chords, melodies and whole songs came about.

    The Photo Galleries features a number of fine photos taken during the tour, rehearsals and also backstage. The slideshow is backed with music. On DVD 1 it’s an instrumental version of Way Of The World, DVD 2 has an instrumental Living Forever. I have mentioned the different camera angles before. The last bonus feature is the audio commentary. This is usually a very interesting extra audio track also used on feature film DVDs where the director explains certain scenes. One would image the guys talk about how individual songs developed or discuss life on tour – and be disappointed. This “audio commentary” is basically the audio recording of Banks, Rutherford and Collins watching a DVD, just like we occasionally watch a DVD with some friends. Tony Smith and Nick Davis try their best to get the boys to talk about the tour, but alas, to no avail.


    tourbookThere are one or two interesting moments, e.g. when Mike talks abouts the mood backstage during The Drum Thing, but that’s about all. Apart from that the only things we find out is that a friend of Phil’s is babysitting while he and Mike debate which tea to drink. Perhaps next time the band might care to talk about the songs or the tour. Another flaw of the audio commentary is that is is terribly difficult to understand [especially for non-native speakers of English; translator’s note] because the audio track of the concert runs on in the background and it cannot be turned off.





    Tracklist

    Land Of Confusion

    No Son Of Mine

    Driving The Last Spike

    Old Medley

    Fading Lights

    Jesus He Knows Me

    Dreaming While You Sleep

    Home By The Sea

    Hold On My Heart

    Domino

    The Drum Thing (Drum Duet)

    I Can't Dance

    Tonight, Tonight, Tonight

    Invisible Touch

    Turn It On Again


    To sum it all up

    All in all this is a fine DVD if you focus on main criteria such as audio/video quality. There are, however several grating details that take away from the general pleasure. The reviewer has not mentioned every detail, of course,  because everybody should decide for themselves and take a lot of time experimenting.

    This DVD is a must for all Genesis fans and for all enthusiasts of the audiovisual advantages the DVD technology has to offer. All others and particularly those people who already have the show on VHS might want to save the 45 Euros.

    A final impression: This could have been done better. It seems that the opportunities this new technology has to offer have not really been grasped or even used at all. The DVD seems unfinished, at times even like standard fare. If you want to watch a DVD that is perfect from A to Z you might want to turn to U2’s new release. I will be looking forward to further DVD releases by Genesis. Perhaps they even get around to release other “old” tour videos on DVD.

    If you’ve got questions or comments about my review, you can always reach me via the German Genesis fanclub. 


    stage

    Test environment

    The DVD was tested with the following hardware/software setup:
    · AMD Athlon 1000MhZ, 512MB RAM, Windows 2000 Professional
    · CREATIVE Sound Blaster LIVE 5.1
    · Cambridge Sound Works 4.1 speakers
    · Cyber Link DVD Player 3.0
    · Toshiba DVD-ROM drive SD-MI 1302
    · ELSA GLADIAC GTS2
    · ELSA ECOMO 741 22" screen

    by Alexander Pfaff
    translated by Martin Klinkhardt


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