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Image Entertainment presents
Heart: Alive In Seattle (2002)

"If we still have time
We may still get by
Every time I think about it I want to cry
With the bombs and the devils
And the kids keep coming
No way to breathe easy...no time to be young"

- lyrics from Crazy On You

Review By: Rich Rosell  
Published: August 07, 2003

Stars: Nancy Wilson, Ann Wilson
Other Stars: Scott Olson, Mike Inez, Ben Smith, Tom Kellock
Director: Dave Diomedi

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (nothing objectionable)
Run Time: 01h:42m:40s
Release Date: April 29, 2003
UPC: 014381955927
Genre: music


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
A- A-A-B C-

DVD Review

Heart was pretty much a rock radio mainstay in the late 1970s and early 1980s, with a string of hits (Magic Man, Barracuda, Straight On), buoyed by the occasional Robert Plant-like growl of Ann Wilson and the delicate strumming and alternatingly tough guitar chops of sis Nancy (these days she's also known as Mrs. Cameron Crowe). Sadly, the only direction from the top proved to be down, and after a few mediocre singles in the late 1980s, the Wilson sisters slid slowly into rock's well-stocked where-are-they-now pool. Unfortunately, Ann's blossoming weight issues didn't help much, and seemed to force them into an unnecessary hibernation. Damn those rock-and-roll double-standards! Guys can get fat, but women can't?

If this 2002 concert disc is any indication, the time off was either well worth it, or the Wilsons seriously wasted a few years sitting idle, because this show finds a slimmed down Ann in exceptional voice, and Nancy still alluring, doing her trademark high kicks as she dishes out the familiar chords. The concert was recorded at Seattle's Paramount Theater, on a stage outfitted simply with an array of colorful lava lamps, and the band consists of some real disparate elements, from one-time Nancy Wilson guitar tech Scott Olson, now graduated to guitar, to one-time Alice In Chains/Ozzy Osbourne bassist Mike Inez; Lovemongers (another Ann/Nancy offshoot project) drummer Ben Smith and keyboardist Tom Kellock round out the touring band. The group sounds pretty solid during this performance, and while Heart is 99.9% Ann and Nancy, the supporting musicians are thankfully never relegated to shadowy corners of the stage. Director Dave Diomedi keeps things visually engaging as well, and uses a number of different angles to prevent the DVD presentation from becoming too static.

There is a nice blend of song selections here, with the expected rash of radio hits appearing alongside such unexpected covers as Sonics' The Witch and an exquisite take on Elton John's Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters, sung by Nancy. The bands tackling of not one, but two, Led Zeppelin songs (Battle of Evermore and Black Dog) really reinforces the fact that Ann can out-Robert Plant the man himself. Back in the day I used to have a Heart bootleg album with those tracks, plus a remarkable version of Rock and Roll, and its absence here is sorely missed. The new material is thankfully kept to a minimum, with the anti-drug single Break The Rock sounding particularly bland, despite its placement as the background music for the DVD menu.

I'll confess to always having been something of a Heart fan, in addition to having a longstanding crush on Nancy Wilson. The zenith of my own brush with greatness came in the form of an early 1980s Chicago rock radio interview. The DJ was taking questions from callers, and I phoned in, and in true bumbling nerd style, asked Nancy Wilson to marry me. She nervously said "sure, why not," though in reality she was probably giving the "cut" signal to DJ and simultaneously doubling up on her bodyguards. But those three words gave this rock fan legitimate bragging rights, where I could honestly say that Nancy Wilson said she would marry me. So I've got that going for me...

SET LIST:

Crazy On You
Sister Wild Rose
The Witch
Straight On
These Dreams
Mistral Wind
Alone
Dog and Butterfly
Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters
Battle of Evermore
Heaven
Magic Man
Two Faces of Eve
Love Alive
Break the Rock
Barracuda
Wild Child
Black Dog
Dreamboat Annie


Rating for Style: A-
Rating for Substance: A-

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.78:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: The crisp-looking 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer here is really gorgeous, and is one of those rare concert discs that doesn't fall prey to the blooming and bleeding of the stage lights. There isn't much to complain about, as there is especially sharp image detail and deep, warm colors.

Image Transfer Grade: A-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes
Dolby Digital
5.0
Englishyes
DTSEnglishyes


Audio Transfer Review: Image generally does a solid job with concert audio transfers, and the three available options here are all good, but it does seem slightly odd that 5.0 (and not 5.1) is how the DTS track, and one of the Dolby Digital surround tracks, is presented. The absence of a dedicated sub channel is noticeable (primarily on the DTS track), but the quality of the overall mix is strong enough that the lack of chest-rattling LFE is not that significant. Ann Wilson's vocals are mixed cleanly just above the instrumentation, and the softer acoustic moments sound pitch perfect. Still, a more pronounced sub track could have boosted the punch of cuts like Black Dog and Barracuda.

A pared-down and less encompassing 2.0 surround track is also included.

Audio Transfer Grade: B

 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 20 cues and remote access
Music/Song Access with 20 cues and remote access
Cast and Crew Biographies
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. Photo Gallery
Extras Review: Extras are limited to an automated Photo Gallery (03m:43s) with a background music track and some Liner Notes (where Ann and Nancy expound and pontificate on the re-emergence of Heart). Where's a nice, long Nancy Wilson interview? Where, I ask you?

The disc is cut into 20 chapters, and does not feature any subtitles.

Extras Grade: C-

 

Final Comments

This disc is very impressive on several levels—the vocals of Ann Wilson still sound as strong as ever, and the performance is presented in an absolutely beautiful anamorphic widescreen transfer.

If you are, or ever have been, a Heart fan you are in for a treat.

 


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