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Site created 12/15/97.

review added: 12/20/99

Sheryl Crow: Rockin' the Globe Live
1999 (1999) - A&M Records/Interscope/Image Entertainment (Image)

review by Bill Hunt, editor of The Digital Bits

Encoded with DTS & Dolby Digital 5.1 Digital Surround

Sheryl Crow: Rockin' the Globe Live Program Rating: B+

Disc Ratings (Video/Extras): B+/D

Audio Ratings (DD/DTS): A/A+

Specs and Features

83 mins, NR, full frame (1.33:1), single-sided, single-layered, Snapper case packaging, animated program-themed menus with music, song access (15 songs/16 chapters - see song listing below), languages: English (DD 5.1 & 2.0, DTS 5.1), subtitles: none

I can't claim to be a huge fan of Sheryl Crow or anything, but her last couple of CDs have been well worth listening to in my opinion. Crow's made some great music, and collaborated on lots more. From the waifish charm of All I Wanna Do, to her rendition of the theme song for the Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies, to her latest Grammy-winning album, The Globe Sessions, she delivers the goods on a pretty regular basis. This girl has talent, folks.

One of the reasons I like her work, is that Sheryl Crow strikes me as someone who has experienced both the best and worst of what life has to offer. I say that not from any knowledge of her biography, but rather as someone who appreciates her music. There's a lot of pain and anguish in many of her songs, and an edge of sarcasm that resonates deeply. And you can see it in her face when she performs on stage. Ultimately, however, her songs carry a solid thread of hope and playfulness. If I had to guess, I'd bet Crow is a romantic and a definite died-in-the-wool optimist… though I wonder if she'd admit the latter. And that's okay - in fact I dig that a lot. As something of an against-all-reason optimist myself, I appreciate that in others. Sheryl… you go girl.

This DVD nicely captures Sheryl Crow and company doing their thing on stage, during a recent concert at the Globe Theater in Detroit. Its 15 songs run the gamut of the artist's work, from her earliest Top 40 hits, to such moving and personal titles as Home and Riverwide (a favorite of mine). This isn't a really high-energy show, but it's a very solid performance, and it's completely enjoyable.

The concert was actually shot on video, and video-sourced footage has the potential to either look really good… or really bad on DVD. On this disc, it looks surprisingly good in full frame. It's by no means perfect - the opening looks slightly digital, and the video seems a bit soft on occasion. And there's an edginess to the picture that gives away the use of artificial edge enhancement in post production. But the contrast is outstanding, with deep blacks and great shadow delineation. Better still, the color is spot-on accurate. And with all those bright stage lights, there's lots of rich, vibrant hues - red spots, blue floods and the like. It all looks great - rich and bright, but not over-saturated in any way.

But the audio is the real treat on this disc, and I do mean treat. The sound is presented in 3 ways: Dolby Digital in 5.1 and 2.0, and DTS 5.1. To start with, the 2.0 stereo track is among the best I've heard on a music DVD, with excellent clarity and deep bass. If that's all you can experience, you won't be disappointed. But it's the surround sound that really thrills on this DVD. The Dolby Digital 5.1 track is excellent - very natural surrounding, and smooth all the way around. It's not as directional as some DD 5.1 music tracks I've heard, and that's a good thing. It sounds surprisingly seamless from channel to channel, with very natural music presentation at all times. Crow is front and center, with her musicians to the left and right around her, and wonderful acoustic and audience fill from the rear. There's excellent bass as well - this is one of the better live music Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks you'll find. Better still is the DTS 5.1, which really opens up the music. It boasts a definite measure of clarity and seamlessness over the Dolby Digital, and creates an even more realistic and natural sonic experience. Even after accounting for the increase in volume, my experience was to hear greater subtlety and nuance to the sound in the DTS presentation. Best of all, you can select which track you want to hear on-the-fly, while you're watching the disc. Just be careful to watch the volume when you switch to the DTS track - as I mentioned, it's recorded significantly louder than the Dolby Digital, and if you're not careful, you could damage your speakers. All in all, I was really pleased with all of the audio choices on this disc. I have to admit to preferring the DTS track, but I expect that you'll be very happy with whatever sound option you choose.

The only area in which this DVD disappoints is with the extras, or lack thereof. It doesn't take much to satisfy me when it comes to extras on a music DVD. Give me an artist biography and discography, lyrics to the songs in the concert (either as subtitles or just separate text pages), and maybe an interview with the artist, and I'm a very happy camper (the Sarah McLachlan: Mirrorball DVD is a perfect example). Unfortunately, this DVD includes none of those things, and that's really too bad. Often times when you see a music disc like this without extras, it's because the artists themselves don't allow the inclusion of extras on the disc. I wonder if that wasn't the case here...

Image is really doing a fine service to music fans with their DVDs. Their video work is generally pretty good, and their audio quality is first-rate. Even their animated menu screens are great. If they'd just work on adding more extras to their music titles… man, they'd be knocking balls out of the park left and right. In any case, Sheryl Crow: Rockin' the Globe Live is a wonderful experience for fans of music on DVD. All of the sound options here are really excellent. This is definitely a nice way to spend a couple of hours. And if you're a fan of Sheryl Crow, get your copy ordered but quick. It'll definitely make you happy…

Song Listing

Maybe That's Something
A Change Would Do You Good
Anything But Down
My Favorite Mistake
It Don't Hurt
If It Makes You Happy
Am I Getting Through
Everyday is a Winding Road
The Difficult Kind
All I Wanna Do
There Goes the Neighborhood
Strong Enough

Bill Hunt
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