You'd think if they were going to call this an "all-star" tribute, they would have at least had the decency to invite Barry Gibb. Oh well. Read Judge Norman Short's earthy review of this concert disc.
Lets get together and feel all right.
Bob Marley was without dispute the best-known reggae performer on the planet; the man responsible for bringing the music out of Jamaica and gave it to the world. After his death from cancer in 1981, his family (including seven children) has carried on his banner and his music. From Oracabessa Bay in Jamaica, December 1999 brought a tribute of Marley's music at a huge concert with a gallery of stars. The concert was originally shown on TNT television, but an extra hour of footage and extra features has been included on this fine DVD from Palm Pictures. If you like reggae, this is worth your time.
I'm only a casual fan of reggae or Bob Marley's work, but even I was impressed with the music in this concert. It was energetic; and a joyous celebration of the man and his music, which was carried on faithfully by his family and a host of well-known stars. Those stars include: Lauryn Hill, Chrissie Hynde, Jimmy Cliff, Queen Latifah, Darius Rucker, Tracy Chapman, Busta Rhymes, Chris Robinson, Ben Harper, Toots Hibbert, Erykah Badu, Eve, and of course the Marley family, with Stephen, Ziggy, and Damian Marley being most prominent. This wide array of talent brought life and diversity to Bob Marley's music, and I was pleasantly surprised by the high quality throughout. The concert itself is 19 songs, though there are five bonus tracks sung by the Marley family among the extra features. Most of Bob Marley's best known songs are represented, including "Get Up, Stand Up," "Redemption Song," and of course, "One Love."
The video quality was top-notch for a full frame transfer. Colors are bright and vibrant, the lighting perfect, and the detail level is sharp without edge enhancement problems. Of course, on a music disc the sound is more important than the picture quality, and I had a big surprise here. Usually when both a 2-channel stereo and a Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround track are both available, I'd go with the multi-channel surround. Usually, on films at least, the 2-channel track sounds thin and restrained by comparison. However, the uncompressed stereo track was fabulous, with a wide, spacious sound, plenty of presence and punch, and great bass response. The whole room came alive with the music; and adapted well to my receiver's Pro-Logic decoder as well. Ironically it was the Dolby Digital 5.1 track that sounded thin and restrained. The compression really hurt the sound, which seemed a bit muffled, lacking in bass response, and came out at about half the volume level. I had to turn up my receiver to ear-shattering levels to get a decent volume out of the 5.1 track. Stick to the 2-channel stereo track and you won't be disappointed.
There is a very nice collection of extra features to further warrant a purchase of this disc. First up is a multi-angle version of the final song "One Love," with five different angles to choose from. The cameras move quite a bit during the un-edited footage here, so is less effective than it could have been. Next is a photo montage of Bob Marley, with the soundtrack of "The Redemption Song" in the background. A Bob Marley Discography is next, followed by the real meat of the extra content: five bonus songs from the concert, including "Stir It Up," a personal favorite. A 38-minute behind the scenes feature is next, which does a good job of inter-cutting interview footage with the Marley family with rehearsals for the concert. A very nice feature. Weblinks and previews of Talking Heads: Stop Making Sense, Mandela: Son of Africa, Father of a Nation, Dancehall Queen, and Third World Cop complete the extra content.
The Rebuttal Witnesses
Only the lack of subtitles for the lyrics mars an otherwise fine disc. People like to sing along with music discs, or at least they like to know all the words. I'd like to see this become a standard feature on all music and concert discs.
Reggae fans should be very satisfied with the quality of the music and the extra features on this disc. If you've not been exposed to reggae yet, it would make a nice introduction as a rental.
No charges need be brought in this case.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Palm Pictures
• Bonus Music Tracks
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