Judge Patrick Naugle prefers white, white wine.
The way they do the things they do.
Often when I review a full length concert feature, I have at least a rudimentary working knowledge of the band I'm listening to. This was not the case with UB40. The only thing I knew about this English band was their radio friendly hits and…well, that's it. Heck, I didn't even know what they looked like. Like any diligent critic, I spent a few moments online reading up on the band, which was started in 1978 in Birmingham, England, and features members who were friends from school. UB40 has been nominated for multiple Grammy awards and have had a slew of top 40 hits both overseas and in the US. The band has released almost twenty (20!) albums of pop music with a reggae tinge. In 2008 lead singer Ali Campbell left the band (amidst allegations of mismanagement) and was replaced first by Maxi Priest, then by Duncan Campbell (no relation, I assume). Around 2011 a bunch of the band members, including Ali Campbell, filed for bankruptcy, proving that no matter how good you are at music it's still a fine idea to have a savvy financial planner in the wings.
So, now that the mini-history lesson is over, how is the concert film UB40: Live at Montreux 2002? As a very casual viewer with little to no knowledge of UB40's back catalog or B-sides, I have to admit to enjoying this concert quite a bit. Lead singer Ali Campbell has a very unique voice (that has held up well over the years), and the song selection seems to be geared towards both die hard fans of the band and those of us who really only know their classic hits. All the big singles are here including "(I Can't Help) Falling in Love," "The Way You Do The Things You Do," "Here I Am (Come And Take Me)," and a fun, bouncy cover of Neil Diamond's "Red Red Wine". Also included are songs I didn't recognize, but really enjoyed; "Kingston Town" is a catchy song about longing for a place of remembrance; "Don't Break My Heart" is a plea for a reprieve from losing a loved one; "Many Rivers to Cross" is a great cover of the Jimmy Cliff song about trials and tribulations.
Although watching UB40: Live at Montreux 2002 didn't make me a rabid fan, I found the concert to be far more enjoyable than anticipated. The proceedings have a very relaxed island feel to them—I can imagine this music playing well on a beach evening with a fire and a pig roasting on a spit—and the tunes are catchy and fun. I don't know as I'd suggest this disc as a blind buy, but if you see it for rent somewhere it's worth a spin.
"The Way You Do The Things You Do"
UB40: Live at Montreux 2002 (Blu-ray) is presented in 1.78:1/1080i high definition. As is often the case with these older nostalgia acts (my term), the stage shows are often more about the performers and their music than flashy theatrics. Because of this, the image may not look as exciting as one might expect. Even without any giant skull props or fireworks, the video transfer is very good with solid black levels and bright colors (from the stage lights) that pop off the screen. This is a great looking video that will certainly make fans happy. The soundtrack is presented in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 Surround in English. Sonically this is a very evenly mixed track with instruments coming from all different directions. Campbell's voice is loud and clear, making this a fine high definition concert performance. Also included is an LPCM Stereo mix.
There are no bonus features.
Sure to please UB40 fans and give your next party a breezy Rum & Coke
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Eagle Rock Entertainment
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