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review added: 10/11/02



The Cranberries: Beneath the Skin
Live in Paris - v2.0

2000 (2002) - Sanctuary Visual Entertainment (BMG)

review by Jeff Kleist of The Digital Bits

Enhanced for 16x9 TVsEncoded with DTS & Dolby Digital 5.1 Digital Surround

The Cranberries: Beneath the Skin - Live in Paris - v2.0 Film Rating: A-

Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras): A-/A+/A+

Specs and Features

84 min, NR, letterboxed widescreen (1.78:1), 16x9 enhanced, single-sided, dual-layered (layer switch at 67:01), Amaray keep case packaging, Wake Up and Smell the Coffee documentary, additional live performances of Not Hollywood, How, Saving Grace and Yesterday's Gone from MTV Unplugged, music videos for Just My Imagination, Promises, Animal Instinct, Analyze and Time is Ticking Out, DVD-ROM extras (including slideshow, weblinks, interactive song lyrics and an MP3 file of Salvation), animated film-themed menus with music, song access (22 songs - see song listing below), Languages: English (DD and DTS 5.1, DD 2.0 Surround), subtitles: none


This is the second, revised version of The Cranberries: Beneath the Skin - Live in Paris on DVD. Greg Suarez has given you a much better background and analysis of the band than I ever could in his earlier review of the first version, so I'm going to focus more on the repeat buyer for this review.

Hailing from Limerick, Ireland, The Cranberries have been around for over a decade, with a unique musical and vocal sound that most people either love or despise. After five years of nearly endless touring, they came back in 1999 with a fresh album, and a more refined sound which this DVD captures very well.

Presented in anamorphic widescreen, the original camerawork makes some nice use of the additional frame width. The video has improved noise reduction over the original issue, without a sacrifice of detail. Colors are slightly improved as well, probably all a result of having some more disc real estate to play with. The film stocks used here are fairly grainy and bleached looking to begin with, and the film has texture without looking overprocessed.

Audio is the heart of a concert disc, and has also been improved over the previous issue, starting with the inclusion of a DTS track in addition to the Dolby Digital 5.1. A/B comparison shows a much tighter controlled bass and high-end on both the DD and DTS tracks on this version, with the DTS coming out with an edge for a tighter low end. MOST improved of course is the lack of synch problems (in the first half of the concert) that plagued the first disc, where you'd see cymbals hit and not hear the sound for a second after. A Dolby Digital 2.0 track is also included, but frankly it's a waste of disc space with a neutered dynamic range compared to its 5.1 counterparts. You could have fit the video for Zombie or Dreams in its place and had yourself a Cranberries Perfect Collection.

Thankfully, one of the touted features of version 1.0 has been fixed. Maybe those kaleidoscope effects were fun under the influence of something, but the menu interface was confusing, access time was horrible and sometimes you had to backtrack three menus just to do a simple operation. Version 2.0 is MUCH improved. The menu design is fun to look at, animations are short enough that they don't drive you buggy and it's overall very attractive. There are two minor annoyances to contend with however. The first is the icon based interface. Universal tried that back in 1999 with a bunch of their titles and soon dropped it because no one could figure out what the icons meant. Located in the upper left hand corner are 3 icons, the first being "back to main menu", the second "Play concert" and the third "back 1 page". It would have been nice to have them more obvious, but once you figure it out you'll be fine. The second annoyance actually seems to have been done to please the hard-core home theater fan. When you select your sound format, you get the appropriate Dolby Digital and DTS trailers. Now this sounds great, until you try to A/B the tracks. The audio button is locked and, you guessed it, no "once only" flag here. So by the time you finish the trailer and get back to the film you've forgotten the intimate details of the previous format.

Now that you know that the worst parts of the original disc have been fixed, let's hit the extras. First up is the new Wake up and Smell the Coffee documentary that was done for their album last year. Surprisingly unfluffy, it's 25 solid minutes of band history and experiences that I really enjoyed. Sadly, the 3 informal documentaries that were on the last disc, detailing road life for the band and roadies, are missing here, so if you have the old disc I recommend keeping it as well. Next are 5 music videos, up from the 3 on the previous disc: Animal Instinct, Promises and Just My Imagination, with the new Analyze and Time is Ticking Out. The latter 2, like the new documentary, are presented in anamorphic widescreen. Rounding up the package is a DVD-ROM accessible slideshow, weblinks, interactive song lyrics and an MP3 file of Salvation. Also missing from the original disc is the music and av equipment lists, the DVD-Video accessible slide show and the sound test.

Determining the difference between the two versions of this title is difficult at first glance, but there are 3 ways to do so. First and most obvious is the "2" in the title on the cover, and the DVD logo instead of the red dot at the bottom. After that, just look for a DTS logo on the back and you're gold.

If you're a Cranberries fan, and you've already bought this title once, the DTS track, 40 minutes of extra material and menus that don't force you into anger management classes make it well worth an additional purchase. My suggestion: grab yourself a thin Amaray 2-disc case and keep 'em both in one nice package. If you've never heard this group before, hit their website and give 'em a listen before buying. The Cranberries have kept the promise to fix this disc, and they've more than made up for the initial problems. So show them the love.

Song Listing

Promises
Animal Instinct
Loud and Clear
Ode to My Family
The Icicle Melts
Linger
Wanted
Salvation
Desperate Andy
Go Your Own Way
Pretty
When You're Gone
I Can't Be With You
Waltzing Back
Free to Decide
Zombie
Ridiculous Thoughts
Dying in the Sun
You and Me
Just My Imagination
Delilah
Dreams


Jeff Kleist
jeffkleist@thedigitalbits.com


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