Image Entertainment // 1997 // 99 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Nicholas Sylvain (Retired) // December 27th, 1999
The reunited Eagles showcasing songs old and new.
An excellent concert video at times mellow, rocking, and moving, Eagles: Hell Freezes Over gives you a backstage glimpse as well as eighteen(!) songs in a disc that is a treat for the eyes and especially the ears!
Some groups you become fans of from the very beginning, and others you only really get to know after they have split up and the re-releases and compilations start to appear. However, there are those rare groups that you only begin to appreciate after they have not only split up but also reunited and produced new material! This is the case for me with the Eagles, as I had obviously heard of them and some of their most famous songs (e.g. "Hotel California") but I never felt like buying a disc until I heard their new song "Get Over It."
I was impressed that a musical group had the, ah, guts to write a song slamming the popular culture's preoccupation with shifting blame and avoiding any sense of personal responsibility for an individual's actions. It also helps that this is a real kick-ass song that gets the blood moving! So I went out to get their CD, and found a disc jam packed with a most excellent collection of new and old songs, and I can't think of a clunker among them. Some are particular favorites, of course, but I do legitimately like them all.
The Eagles: Hell Freezes Over concert DVD is no exception, with the only essential difference being the addition of about ten minutes of introspective and behind the scenes footage before the concert starts (essentially a featurette). For review purposes, I am treating the additional footage as extra content, even though it is not specifically labeled as such. It gives the fan and non-fan alike a very brief introduction to who the Eagles are and how they reunited. It is also evident from the video that they saved disc space here for the remainder (and most important part!) of the disc, namely the songs.
Once the music begins, we are treated to "Hotel California," "Tequila Sunrise," "Help Me Through the Night," "The Heart of the Matter," "Love Will Keep Us Alive," "Learn to Be Still," "Pretty Maids All in a Row," "The Girl from Yesterday," "Wasted Time," "I Can't Tell You Why," "New York Minute," "The Last Resort," "Take it Easy," "Life in the Fast Lane," "In the City," "Get Over It," "Desperado," and "Seven Bridges Road." All are recorded both in DTS 5.1 and PCM Stereo. A bonus audio-only track of "Seven Bridges Road" can be selected separately and is in DTS 5.1 only.
Overall, the visual presentation is top-notch. The colorful stage area is complimented with the rich saturation of the colors on the disc, the picture is uniformly sharp and well-defined but without digital enhancement artifacts, and the transfer is clean enough to eat off. Believe me, with all the close up shots of the band members, you should be able to count their hairs, eyelashes, and wrinkles fairly easily. There are a couple of issues noted below.
Audio-wise, this is the perfect disc to have if you want to show off your system with something other than a movie (horrors!) and/or want to show off a DTS disc. Just for starters, the DTS demo that you get when you select the DTS track upon inserting the disc is system-blowing. I think my subwoofer was protesting at having to reproduce such sustained low-low-frequencies! For the music itself, it was pure perfection. From the lowest thump to the softest, highest tinkle, you will hear every last little drop of sonic sweetness from beginning to end. Turn off the lights, turn up the volume (ignoring any neighbors' protests), and enjoy!
The main menu is animated but oddly silent and the disc comes in the (ick) snapper case. However, it seems as if the paper material is well coated and would be more resistant to fingerprints or moisture than your average snapper case.
The only negative comment about the disc content is the occasional video flaw. I noticed at least one close up face shot and a few long shots of background walls with moderate video noise. A little more distracting is the occasional, for lack of a better term, jitter-blur where a moderate to long shot will seem to jump and blur for a second. This is rare, but noticeable, and I caught two examples at 89:01 and 91.18, where for a frame or two you can see an irregular pattern of square shapes that blurs an area of the frame. It looks like a compression artifact that should have been caught in QA. Shame!
Another annoyance is that the DTS track can only be selected when you put the disc in -- i.e. it can't be selected on the fly. Most annoying.
If you are already an Eagles fan, then you simply must have this disc. If not, I strongly suggest you give it a try, as it might give you a reason to have a DTS compatible DVD player and receiver combination (if you don't already). You won't regret having this decently ($25) priced disc in your collection.
Disc and content acquitted in a New York Minute.
Review content copyright © 1999 Nicholas Sylvain; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Image Entertainment
* Full Frame
* DTS 5.1 Surround (English)
* PCM 2.0 Stereo (English, not available for bonus audio-only track)
Running Time: 99 Minutes
Release Year: 1997
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Bonus audio-only DTS song ("Seven Bridges Road")
* Behind the Scenes footage
* Jed's Eagles Page