Image Entertainment presents
Pat Metheny Group: We Live HereóLive In Japan (1995)
"When you have a band that's been together for 18 years like ours has, it's really difficult to figure out what to play."- Pat Metheny
Stars: Pat Metheny, Lyle Mays, Steve Rodby, Paul Wertico
Other Stars: David Blamires, Mark Ledford, Armando Marcal
Director: Takayuki Watanabe
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (nothing offensive)
Run Time: 01h:58m:46s
Release Date: 2001-06-19
DVD ReviewI'll freely admit that, prior to watching this disc, I wasn't very familiar with Pat Metheny. I was aware that he was a respected jazz guitarist and worked on several film scores, but I hadn't really heard much of his music outside of a few moments here and there. I guess that's mainly because I'm not really a jazz fan. While I have immense respect for the genre, it's just not something that's really captured me. I have to say, though, if I had to recommend something classified as "jazz" to another non-jazz fan, it would certainly be We Live Here: Live In Japan; an energetic and incredibly well staged musical performance by the Pat Metheny Group.
Although the performance is broken in certain places to insert brief, but informative, interviews with members of the group, this is basically a concert film, and one that feels very complete and satisfying. The music is certainly not what I would describe as hardcore jazz, but more a bridge between light and hard that uses a lot of instrumentation and razor-sharp performance skills to get the point across. The presentation itself is nothing special; the band members are the sole attraction and there is very little in the way of fancy lighting or set pieces. This has a positive effect, allowing the musicians to come across very naturally, without any gimmicks other than their natural talent.
The group also comes across as one that also feeds off of each others' techniques and rhythms. Many times, one person tends to dominate the song in the average, live band performance; here you sense that each member is an important piece of the structure and all their elements seem to mesh very well. Other than the solo pieces, no one musician conquers the scene; it's more of an even blanket of sound that sort of radiates from the whole performance. The interview segments help to shed some light on this policy of trying to fuse individuality with the tight, group effort the band needs in order to perform properly. Each member reveals details about their family lives and it becomes obvious these clips were designed to put a face on each person, something you don't see often in concert films. Overall, Pat Metheny fans will undoubtedly appreciate the strict attention to the music given here, which is always the most important thing.
Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: B
|Aspect Ratio||1.33:1 - Full Frame|
|Original Aspect Ratio||yes|
Image Transfer Review: The full frame transfer is vibrant and alive, feeling much like most of Image's musical work I've encountered so far. Absolutely pristine and brimming with detail and sharp imagery. A few sparse moments of slight graininess pop up, usually when the stage is filled with smoke, but otherwise this is a near flawless piece of work. The crisp visuals lend a very authentic feel to the piece, and really bring you into the concert atmosphere.
Image Transfer Grade: A
Audio Transfer Review: A superb, auditorium-quality Dolby 5.1 mix brings the viewer right into the audience. The mix sounds very much as if it was engineered to mimic being in the production box at the concert, or at least at a mid-point in the audience. All channels are used to create a wide, concert atmosphere that includes both directional instruments and echos and vibration. Bass is carried very cleanly and never gets too harsh or distorted. Audience noise, whether naturally or by production, is kept to a minimum, except in before-and-after-song periods, so the channels are never overwhelmed with crowd noise. It's a very real-sounding mix that manages to capture a lot of the inflection on instruments. The Dolby Surround track is nowhere near as encompassing and "wrap-around", but it's still a very good quality track, more akin to a high quality CD recording, rather than a fully immersive 5.1 mix. Some of the clarity and obvious high-end/low-end factors are sacrificed a little, but not by much.
Audio Transfer Grade: A
Disc ExtrasFull Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 23 cues and remote access
Extras Review: There are no additional features on the disc. Subtitles probably would have been a good idea (for the interviews), but it's nothing that kills the whole disc. The single sheet insert contains the complete chapter listing (the back of the keepcase has an incomplete list).
Extras Grade: D+
Final CommentsImage seems to do very well with their music DVDs, and Pat Metheny Group: We Live Here continues that tradition. It's certainly recommended for fans of the group, and if you find it for rent, it's certainly worth a look for music fans in general.
Dan Lopez 2001-07-03