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EMI Music presents
Placebo: Soulmates Never Die—Live in Paris 2003 (2003)

"I think that if we weren't in a rock band, we'd be very frustrated, doing karaoke in drag somewhere."
- Brian Molko (lead singer)

Review By: Robert Edwards  
Published: June 10, 2005

Stars: Brian Molko, Stefan Osdal, Steve Hewitt
Director: Nick Fry

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (lyrics mentioning drug usage and sexual themes)
Run Time: 0h1:09:34s
Release Date: June 24, 2004
UPC: 724359931999
Genre: rock


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
A- AA+A C+

DVD Review

There aren't many bands that can cross the seemingly unfathomable chasm that separates heavy metal/goth fans from those who appreciate more "sophisticated" music, but Placebo is one that has managed to stand up to that challenge. Bursting onto the UK music scene in 1996 with such singles as Nancy Boy and Teenage Angst, they not only became a favorite of UK bad lads, but also rapidly assumed the mantle of bands such as The London Suede and Kitchens of Distinction, bands that flirted with sexual ambiguity and explored gay themes.

Placebo has outlived them all, both in spirit and inspiration, and the best evidence of their continued, well-deserved success is Soulmates Never Die. This is a fantastic video, captured live at the Bercy concert hall in Paris. Don't be put off by the seemingly-clich&eacue;d intro with its freeze frames on both the band and the audience, or its slow tracking shots back over the audience. You'll soon be treated to the multiple camera setups and editing that effectively capture the boisterous personalities and enthusiasm of lead singer Brian Molko, mohawked bassist Stefan Osdal, and drummer Steve Hewitt, as well as the thousands of fans that packed the sold-out concert.

Molko is in top form here, not only favoring French-language chatter, to the delight of the audience, but also singing Protect Me in its French-language variant (unfortunately revealing the limitations of his slightly skewed pronunciation). The audience, as well, is top form, enthusiastic but not to the point of idolatry, which could have quickly become tiresome for viewers who aren't rabid fans.

Visually the concert is a treat, alternating between blurry, fake grainy VHS-quality footage and gorgeous full-DVD resolution. There's a complex mix of deliberate blur, usage of black and white, and slow motion, and this visual interest not only increases the excitement of the live show, but in the end adds to one's appreciation of the music.

The canonical quality concert film is Jonathan Demme's film of Talking Head's Stop Making Sense. There's no doubt in this reviewer's mind that Live in Paris is second only to that film.

Rating for Style: A-
Rating for Substance: A

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: The anamorphic transfer is outstanding. Colors are vibrant and richly saturated, and there's lots of detail in everything from the brightest to the dimmest parts of the image. Black levels are good, and there are no compression artifacts.

Image Transfer Grade: A+

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Engishyes
Dolby Digital
5.1
Englishyes
DTSEnglishyes


Audio Transfer Review: If ever there was an argument to upgrade from stereo to 5.1 surround sound, this DVD is it. The two-channel mix is good, but it's blown away by both the Dolby 5.1 and DTS mixes. Unlike most DTS tracks, which add clarity to the upper register, this mix shines in the middle, with a spaciousness that is not to be missed.

Audio Transfer Grade: A

 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Music/Song Access with 22 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French, Spanish with remote access
1 Documentaries
Packaging: Digipak
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. Eight-page booklet of concert photos
Extras Review: The 24m:19s documentary is okay, but nothing to write home about. Obviously filmed on video, the sound and image are acceptable. It's the usual compilation of behind-the-scenes footage as the band travels from location to location and prepares for their concerts. There are some amusing moments when they discover that they're playing in embarrassingly small venues, and some scary stalker fans, but that's about it for interest here.

The DVD is packaged in a cardboard sleeve, with a nice eight-page booklet of concert photos.

Beware that the subtitles don't apply to the concert video, just the accompanying documentary. And even for the documentary, they are censored for offensive language.

Extras Grade: C+

 

Final Comments

From the extremely fast cutting of the opening orchestral number to the surprise treat at the end, this is an extremely entertaining concert video. Simply put, this is a must for Placebo fans, and a good lesson for anyone wondering how to effectively film a rock convert. The extras are weak, but who cares when the concert, and the transfer, are so good.

 


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