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Image Entertainment presents
Joe Jackson: 25th Anniversary Special (2003)

"The more surprises there are in a show, the better."
- Joe Jackson

Review By: Rich Rosell   
Published: August 14, 2003

Stars: Joe Jackson
Other Stars: Graham Maby, Sue Hadjopolous, Allison Cornell, Andy Ezrin, Roberto Rodriquez, Catherine Bent
Director: Lee Cantelon

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (two brief expletives)
Run Time: 58m:25s
Release Date: March 18, 2003
UPC: 014381938425
Genre: music

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
B- B+BB- B+

DVD Review

Name off your real-life rock-and-roll chameleons, and the name Joe Jackson will immediately spring to mind (well, spring to my mind, anyways). Joe Jackson surged to prominence as part of the skinny-tie, angry Brit "new wave" movement in the late 1970s, with jumpy mod-pop classics like I'm The Man, Look Sharp and Is She Really Going Out With Him? Yet, almost as soon as Jackson became a record-selling rock star, he began to reinvent his sound, and over the course of dozens of albums since then he has staked a claim as an artist, and his dabblings in swing, jazz, reggae, bossa nova and Latin pop seemed less like desperate marketing moves than it did pure unadulterated musical expression.

This 25th Anniversary concert disc (recorded where? who knows...) has Jackson and his band utilizing bubbling Latin rhythms to give old and new songs a different flavor, all without the aid of any guitars whatsoever (not counting Graham Maby's bass, that is). Violins, cellos, and of course keyboards rise above the percolating percussion as Jackson stretches and tweaks his creations into completely new songs, including his signature Is She Really Going Out With Him?, a lightweight throwaway song that I'm certain he would much rather ignore entirely.

In between songs, taped interview segments have Jackson offering insight into his intent, and the hows and whys to his musical dalliances, etc. These segments are brief and interesting, but they disrupt the flow of the music, and in some cases cut a song off abruptly. During the haunting Glamour & Pain (from his Night and Day jazz era), violinist Allison Cornell's beautiful vocals are cut short just as the song kicks into the instrumental passage. Sad, really.

I really would have preferred more of an uninterrupted performance, though the standout moments like Real Men and A Slow Song only served to make me wish the disc ran longer than 58 minutes.

Set List:

Hell of a Town
You Can't Get What You Want ('Til You Know What You Want)
Stranger Than You
Another World
Is She Really Going Out With Him?
Real Men
Stranger Than Fiction
Glamour & Pain
Just Because
Got The Time
A Slow Song

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


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.78:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: Stylish and arty is the watchword here, as the concert and interview drop-ins are presented in a wash of film stocks (color and black-and-white), all in 1.78:1 nonanamorphic widescreen. Some of the portions reveal some intentional grain, while others feature highly contrasted black-and-white sequences; the concert is sparsely lit, and even the sharpest footage is full of deep shadows.

The lack of an anamorphic transfer is a minor beef, but it certainly seems odd.

Image Transfer Grade: B


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: Neither the DTS or Dolby Digital 5.1 are particularly full (they're almost all front-heavy mid-range) and the abundant percussion reveals a noticeable lack of a thumping .LFE track or crisp high-end frequencies. Knowing how consummate of a musician Jackson is, it really seems doubly disappointing that the audio transfer here is not nearly as robust and large as say Image's recent Roy Orbison release, which showcases a 1982 performance.

A 2.0 surround track is also provided.

Audio Transfer Grade: B-


Disc Extras

Animated menu with music
Scene Access with 13 cues and remote access
Music/Song Access with 13 cues and remote access
1 Documentaries
1 Featurette(s)
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: Extras are limited to a pair of nicely done shorts, one entitled Joe Jackson Reading from His Book "A Cure for Gravity" (22m:50s) and the second an Interview with Joe Jackson (07:35s). The book-reading, which is not miked terribly well, has Jackson on stage prior to a show reading an excerpt from his book, humorously tracing his rise from working-class roots into the chaos and thrills of performing live. I always find it weird to hear authors read animatedly from their own books, and while it is no different really, the content and Jackson's lively read makes it quite fun. The interview portion is a little more serious, and like the drop-ins between songs on the main concert portion of the disc, reveal the serious, eloquent side of the musician, and show that he is very, very serious about his obvious deep love of expressive music.

The disc is cut into thirteen chapters (one per song).

Extras Grade: B+


Final Comments

You never know what you'll get with Joe Jackson, and this time around it's jazzy, Latin-tinged takes on selected titles from his deep catalog.

The between song interview footage sometimes bollocks up the flow of things, but it's the music that really matters.


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