Written on: 30/08/2006 by jfderry (208 reviews written)
Until Quantum Leap released this first DVD of the legendary Meeting of the Spirits, there were at least 3 laserdisc releases in Japan (Discus LVB-2002, VAP VPLR-70720, Alfa Records ALLA-116) and 2 NTSC VHS releases (Alfa Jazz ALVA-8013[Japan], Vestapol 13087 [distributed in the USA by Rounder Records]) in existence. How does the DVD compare?
The picture quality is good considering it was originally recorded on St. Valentine's Day, February 14th., 1979 at the Royal Albert Hall, London (produced by Paul Markham, directed by Brian Wiseman). The sound is only mono and this version carries a slight bias for the right channel, but the sound quality has always been disappointing. There are no liner notes or booklet included which is very poor. Instead DVD extras include not very many stills and not very extensive bios and discographies. The cover pictures are inappropriate for this release, being of John McLaughlin as with the Free Spirits, Paco de Lucia from not very long ago and a picture of Larry Coryell playing solid-body electric taken from the cover of his 1971 album Barefoot Boy.
Additionally, some viewers of this new release have complained of a small but consistent and annoying artifact that causes a vertical shift in the video every few frames similar to a video tracking error.
This minor but distracting blip (absent in the laserdiscs and on the video tape), plus the overall lack of attention to detail and apparent little investment makes the packaging of this glorious concert a less than quality product. What a shame, when such a historic event is so poorly honored. Nonetheless, everyone must own at least one of the versions and the flexibility of DVD technology probably makes this version the best on offer.
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