DVD & Blu-ray Reviews
Elvis Costello & the Imposters, Live in Memphis, Blu-ray (2005)
Published on June 13, 2007
Starring: Elvis Costello with special guest Emmylou Harris
Studio: Eagle Vision
Video: 1.78:1 Enhanced for 16:9 Widescreen, 1080i HD
Audio: LPCM Stereo, English DD 5.1, English DTS 5.1
Subtitles: (Special Features Only) English, French, 5 other languages
Extras: 3 Featurettes; 4 Bonus Videos
Length: 165 minutes
While Elvis Costello has been somewhat successful at reinventing himself several times over during his twenty-plus year career, this new Blu-ray disc recorded live in Memphis in 2005 finds him not so much exploring new material as re-exploring his roots. A lot of the performances here are culled from his 2004 album ‘The Delivery Man,’ and I have to be honest – that album was only mildly entertaining to me then, and struck me as only a pale reflection of his more classic body of work. Earlier selections from his classic albums are represented here with songs such as ‘Alison,’ ‘Radio, Radio,’ ‘Pump it Up’ and ‘Peace, Love and Understanding.’ Still, the band does a pretty good job with the material here, and only occasionally comes across as overweight old men trying hard to rock like they did in their prime. What the heck, I’m sure most of my bias here stems from my still not quite being able to deal with the whole Diana Krall thing, anyway! Real fans, I’m sure, will find this performance gripping!
The video quality here is really quite good for 1080i and a live concert recording. The lighting was quite good, offering superior rendering of colors and contrast, and the overall image was quite detailed. The audio options were serviceable as well; as with the other recent Eagle Vision disc I reviewed here (The Black Crowes Live in San Francisco), I preferred the available DTS soundtrack, which gave much more of a live crowd feeling to the proceedings. Unfortunately, there was no uncompressed 5.1 PCM or other high-definition track to choose from, which is a shame, because these concert recordings are definitely among the discs that could benefit the most from good sound.
Bonus materials include three featurettes, one of which featured Elvis and Pete Thomas driving around Memphis and talking about the city and its storied history. Also included are four bonus videos, which are culled from the concert performances. Overall, the package is a must-have for fans, and quite entertaining for the rest of us. Recommended.
– Tom Gibbs