Case Number 04819: Small Claims Court

FOREIGNER: ALL ACCESS TONIGHT

Eagle Vision // 2003 // 90 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Patrick Naugle // July 21st, 2004

The Charge

Do the 1980s seem "foreign" to you? They won't anymore after popping in this disc.

The Case

It's been 25 years since Foreigner showed up on the music scene, and to commemorate it the band has released Foreigner: All Access Tonight -- Live In Concert featuring some of their biggest hits. Not only will you get the chance to hear the band belt out some classic melodies, you'll also watch interviews with the band members waxing nostalgic about their craft. Welcome back to 1982...it's gonna be a rockin' ride.

I know very little about the band Foreigner, except that their music was a staple of my childhood. I can recall spending long summer days on the lake in Wisconsin, listening to Lou Gramm belt out that his woman is "as cold as ice" and he "wants to know what love is." That's contradictory, to say the least. Because I'm such a responsible DVD reviewer I've decided to give you a short history on Foreigner (responsible = a single Google search for the band "Foreigner").

The group was founded by guitarist Mick Jones in the 1970s and was one of the few bands to make the successful transition from the 1970s to the '80s. Foreigner spawned such hits as "Jukebox Hero," "Cold as Ice," "I Want to Know What Love Is," and "Waiting for a Girl Like You." The band split up in 1989, with Jones and lead singer Gramm going their separate ways. After a series of only mildly successful albums and failed bands, Jones and Gramm reformed Foreigner and came out with a new greatest hits package, as well as a 1995 album, "Mr. Moonlight," that while didn't burn up the charts provided fans with proof that the band could still rock.

And that is Foreigner in a nutshell. As for Foreigner: All Access Tonight -- Live In Concert, the concert is a decent recording of the band performing some of their biggest hits, including the sexual "Hot Blooded," the urgent...um, "Urgent," and the kiss of death for a relationship, "Cold As Ice." Overall the band is in good spirits, though Gramm's voice sometimes warbles during a few of the songs (to give him credit, the singer did have surgery in 1999 for a brain tumor and made a full recovery).

My only gripe about this concert is that the tunes are inter-cut with poorly filmed footage of the band offstage -- giving interviews, getting on the tour bus, rehearsing, et cetera. While I'm all for seeing a band on their off hours, it is quite annoying to have the music split up just so we can hear a musician's thoughts on his craft. And while we're at it, couldn't a classic band like Foreigner find someone to actually produce quality interviews of them, instead of something that looks like a 19-year old fan shot in his basement?

Otherwise, fans of Foreigner will certainly want to pick up this disc. If you spent your summers basking in the warm glow of such great '80s monsters as REO Speedwagon, Van Halen, and Journey, Foreigner: All Access Tonight -- Live In Concert will be the perfect disc to complement your DVD collection.

Foreigner: All Access Tonight -- Live In Concert is presented in 1.33:1 full frame and looks...well, just okay. The footage used for this concert isn't always of great quality -- much of the concert is shot from a far distance, which blurs and sometimes dwarfs the band members on stage. There isn't anything fancy going on in the camera work which doesn't make for an exciting transfer. The colors and black levels are all in decent shape, though nothing here is of grand quality.

The soundtrack is presented in both DTS Surround and Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround, both in English. The sound mixes on this disc are far better than the video quality -- all of the speakers are engaged throughout the length of the concert, making for an enveloping experience. The music is well heard (except for a few songs where the lyrics sound drowned out) with hiss and distortion noticeably absent. Also included on this disc is a Dolby 2.0 mix in English.

The extra features on Foreigner: All Access Tonight -- Live In Concert are pretty slim -- all that's been included on this disc is a bonus performance of the song "I Want To Know What Love Is" performed with a symphony orchestra in Belgium, October 2002.

Review content copyright © 2004 Patrick Naugle; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice
Judgment: 84

Perp Profile
Studio: Eagle Vision
Video Formats:
* Full Frame

Audio Formats:
* DTS 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (English)

Subtitles:
* None

Running Time: 90 Minutes
Release Year: 2003
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks
* Bonus Performance: "I Want To Know What Love Is"

Accomplices
* Foreigner Official Site
http://www.foreigneronline.com/