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BMG Music presents
Mirrorball (1999)

"When I perform, when I play live I feel like I've always been able to connect with the audience. And that's felt like a blessing to have that sense of connectivity."
- Sarah McLachlan

Review By: Robert Mandel   
Published: April 17, 2000

Stars: Sarah McLachlan
Director: Sophie Muller

MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Release Date: October 12, 1999
UPC: 078221574099
Genre: folk

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer

DVD Review

The single-sided "colored" RSDL disc contains some nice extras, including song selection, multi-angle presentation of 3 songs (not on the fly), McLachlan's bio, discography, photo gallery, fan club info, interview, and song lyrics. I think it's a real snappy idea to include the song lyrics, and hope this becomes the norm on music DVDs. The multi-angle option is not on the fly via the remote, which makes it fairly useless to me, but potentially interesting for some. Other than the fact the time is not displayed during the interview, which clocks in between 15-20 minutes, the interview is very well done and both fans and others will be able to glean some interesting insight into this talented woman. Can you imagine being seventeen and approached by a record company at your first gig?

Rating for Style: A
Rating for Substance: A


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frameno - no
Original Aspect Rationono

Image Transfer Review: BMG and Arista street this disc as a non-anamorphic 1.33:1 transfer. While this is a disappointing full-frame edition (I'm not sure if this is its original aspect ratio), the colours are sharp, deep and very well rendered. This is by far the best music concert captured on disc (we'll see after Stop Making Sense comes out). This is a pristine print without nicks or dirt or pops.

Image Transfer Grade: B


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: This disc streets with both Dolby Surround 2.0 and Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks. The 2.0 track by its nature is lacking much oomph, but I found this to be a very good 5.1 track. Compared to the other music DVDs I checked out this week, this 5.1 track did not seem muddy, but very clear and spacious, as if I was sitting in the audience. Certain songs work better than others of course, and if you forget this is a rock concert just tune in and crank up Elsewhere and the electrifying guitar work on that track.

Audio Transfer Grade: A


Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 24 cues and remote access
Music/Song Access with 24 cues and remote access
Cast and Crew Biographies
Cast and Crew Filmographies
3 Multiple Angles
1 Documentaries
Packaging: Amaray
1 Disc
0-Sided disc(s)
Layers: RSDL
Layers Switch: 01h:25m:16s

Extra Extras:
  1. The Band:
    Sarah McLachlan - songwriter, vocals, guitar, piano
    Ashwin Sood - drums, percussion, vocals, husband
    Camille Henderson - vocals
    David Sinclair - guitar, vocals
    Sean Ashby - guitar, vocals
    Brian Minato - bass guitar
    Vince Jones - keyboards, vocals
  2. Songlist:
    1. Building a mystery
    2. Plenty
    3. Hold On
    4. Good Enough
    5. Do What You Have To Do
    6. Witness
    7. Walt
    8. I Will Remember You
    9. lce
    10. I Love You
    11. I Will not Forget You
    12. The Path of Thorns (Terms)
    13. Mary
    14. Adla
    15. Fear
    16. Elsewhere
    17. Vox
    18. Into the Fire
    19. Possession
    20. lce Cream
    21. Sweet Surrender
    22. Fumbling Towards Ecstasy
    23. Angst
Extras Review: Sometimes when you start getting discs en masse to review you find yourself trying to make chicken salad from chicken crap, and not knowing how. And then there is the occasional nugget that catches the sun and shines through the pile, calling you. Sarah McLachlan's Mirrorball is a feast for the eyes and ears, and one of the best concerts on film I've seen in a long time. I think the fact this was shot with film and not video has a lot to do with the look of this DVD despite the 1.33:1 aspect ratio, the only major disappointment.

The BMI Award winner for pop songwriter of the year, McLachlan grabs the audience by the shirt with the opening number Building a Mystery, and draws you up close and personal, never really letting go throughout. This is a powerful performance, filled to the brim with the personal emotions that are the cornerstone of her poignant songwriting. To empathize with her feelings of pain, torment, fear and love is an easy business, following her powerful, throaty alto become scatty Irish yodel like the yellow brick road to the center of her self, her heart, her emotions.

It's funny that this woman has such power and range, yet in between songs she appears very soft-spoken, almost uncomfortable without the Diva's facade. But unlike countless other one hit wonders, this woman is no fraud, but a genuine singer and songwriter. Founder of Lillith Fair, the all-woman counterpart of Lollapalooza, she is not just a head in the clouds egocentric either. From the 15-20 minute interview included on this disc it is obvious she is very down to earth. McLachlan makes it very clear that she will taking time off from both her own and Lillith Fair tours, as well as generating a new album—"possibly so that she and husband/drummer Ashwin Sood can start making a family instead.

While the camerawork is very good, either emotive close-ups or crane shots that give a sense of motion; it is the excellent editing on this disc that makes this concert work. This is not a jump all over the stage, laser light stage show, yet it is provocative and effective. The Sarah presented here is mesmerizing—"from her "doe eyes" (as the July 1999 "In Style" magazine interview calls them), to the way she swivels in her long blue rhinestone encrusted dress and black feather boa, to her sweet smile, to the way she crinkles her nose, or raises her eyebrows, or tilts her head. And toward the end you realize she's barefoot (in the interviews as well), a habit she started after tripping on-stage during Lillith Fair.

McLachlan is a tour de force in the studio and onstage, and as far as artistry and talent, she's the real deal.

Extras Grade: B+


Final Comments

Canada's greatest export since Wayne Gretzky, the 31-year-old McLachlan lights up the stage in this conglomeration of 35 concerts from her last tour. This is a fine disc from top to bottom, that though not without it's flaws, is a must have for fans and can't lose for others. Besides, how can you deny a girl who loves Peter Gabriel as much as I do (a personality trait that outweighs all others!)?

For more information about Sarah, visit her official Arista Records site at Arista Record's Official Sarah McLachlan Site.


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