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Eagle Vision presents
Marvin Gaye Live in Montreux 1980 (1980)

"It gets a little loud, but hey, that's me, baby."
- Marvin Gaye

Review By: Jon Danziger   
Published: May 20, 2003

Stars: Marvin Gaye
Other Stars: Reginald Mullen, Rick Gardner, Kush Griffitt, David Majal Li, Gordon Banks, Howard Westbrook, Frank Blair, William "Snoopy" Bryant II, Lonnie Smith, Sandra Akaka, Joseph Mayo, Richard Griffiths, Checo Tohomaso, Preston Mcrae Wilcox, Lecester R. Kentle, Frankie Bales, Robert Stevenson
Director: François Jaquenod

MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Run Time: 01h:38m:28s
Release Date: May 20, 2003
UPC: 801213003198
Genre: music

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
B+ A-BB+ D+

DVD Review

The unsung hero behind this concert disc is the promoter who had the bright idea to invite Motown legend Marvin Gaye to the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1980. Gaye doesn't exactly seem like a natural fit—on paper, it sounds sort of like inviting Benny Goodman and his big band to your rhythm-and-blues festival. And when you think of the Motown sound and of Gaye, you probably don't think of either as having a huge fan base in Switzerland.

But Gaye and his enormous entourage are in such fine form here that they immediately won over the possibly skeptical audience. Gaye looks resplendent in a red tuxedo jacket, festooned with sequins in the shapes of musical notes, treble clefs and dragons, and he sounds great. He puts some of his best-known hits through their paces—by this time, he must have performed thousands of versions of I Heard It Through the Grapevine, and even if it borders on the perfunctory here, it still sounds pretty good—and there are many other highlights along the way as well. Usually a medley is a mark that a performer is way past his prime, but Gaye's trio of songs that he recorded with Tammy Terrell is a nice tribute to his duet partner, who died tragically of a brain tumor at 24.

Gaye's backup group is huge—lots of drummers, trumpets, singers—and they fill up the sound on big numbers like How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You); on other, more contemplative tunes, though, some of them have little to do but snap their fingers. Gaye takes a couple of turns on instrumentals—he's more successful with the keyboards than the drums—and welcomes active audience participation. He gets the Swiss to sing, which is an accomplishment; and when he tries to get a woman to come up on stage and dance with him, there are two audience members who absolutely will not be denied the chance to step out with Gaye, so he dances with them both.

The set ends with a stirring rendition of What's Going On—the only high point of Gaye's career that's missing is Sexual Healing, which was two years away, and of course two short years after that came his untimely and violent death. Anyway, here's a full set list:

Got To Give It Up
Funky Space Reincarnation
Come Get To This
Let's Get It On
After the Dance
If This World Were Mine
Ain't Nothing Like The Real Thing
Ain't No Mountain High Enough
How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)
Ain't That Peculiar
I'll Be Doggone
I Heard It Through the Grapevine
Trouble Man
Distant Lover
Inner City Blues
Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)
What's Going On

All in all, a winning set from one of Motown Records' finest, taken from us too early.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: A-


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: The multi-camera shoot has its limits—there are occasional focus and resolution problems—but the transfer to DVD looks respectable, with little dirt and debris, and only a few scratches here in there.

Image Transfer Grade: B


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: The Dolby 5.1 track is the way to go—it sounds richer and fuller than the DTS track, and both are preferable to the PCM option, which can sound a little strained, especially at the high end of the register. There's a certain amount of aural compromise that comes with any concert film, but this one sounds better than most.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+


Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Music/Song Access with 19 cues and remote access
Packaging: generic plastic keepcase
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. insert booklet with an essay by Dave McAleer
Extras Review: The accompanying essay provides a nice biographical overview of Gaye, who apparently hoped to sing the classics from the American songbook—he wanted to be the Black Frank Sinatra or Dean Martin, but the few records he cut in that mode didn't sell. That and chapter stops are all that's on hand for extras.

Extras Grade: D+


Final Comments

Mercy, mercy me—get your groove on and rock out to the sweet song stylings of Marvin Gaye. Hard to resist this one.


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