Lady Gaga Presents The Monster Ball Tour: At Madison Square Garden

WSR Score4
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Polydor / Streamline Records
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Not Rated
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Single Side, Single Layer (BD-25)
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Color With B/W Sequences
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Not Indicated
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Laurieann Gibson
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Dolby TrueHD 5.1, Dolby TrueHD 2.0
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Lady Gaga Presents The Monster Ball Tour: At Madison Square Garden is the visually stunning Emmy® award-winning HBO special presented in 5.1 Dolby TrueHD. In February 2011, Lady Gaga brought her 10-piece band and 10 backup dancers to Madison Square Garden, about 20 blocks from where she grew up. She poses, sings, plays keyboards, dances, and talks ala the Lady Gaga persona amongst a Lady Gage circus environment. Visually she is captured in performance and off stage changing costumes between numbers. She calls her fans "freaks" and "little monsters," while songs urge them to show their paws and teeth. "Dance In The Dark," "Glitter And Grease," "Just Dance," "Beautiful, Dirty, Rich," "The Fame," "LoveGame," "Boys Boys Boys," "Money Honey," "Telephone," "Speechless," "You and I," "So Happy I Could Die," "Monster," "Teeth," "Alejandro," "Poker Face," "Paparazzi," "Bad Romance," and "Born This Way" provide the program. Behind the credits, she and three others sing cappella style "Born This Way." (Gary Reber)

Special features include "Born This Way" A Cappella, Backstage At The Monster Ball, and a photo gallery.

The 1080i AVC picture is sharp in appearance and super colorful, highlighted by spectacular lighting effects. Contrast is excellent with deep, solid blacks and revealing shadow delineation. The aggressive lighting scheme at times overwhelms the photography, causing a sort of artistic artifact that sprays light and softens the imagery. Still, the overall look is fantastic! The imagery is bright and colors are brilliantly rendered. Resolution is exceptional, with dynamic lighting and contrast. Lady Gaga looks real, with perfectly natural fleshtone hues. This is a really engaging visual experience that will thrill Lady Gaga fans! (Gary Reber)

The Dolby® TrueHD 5.1-channel soundtrack projects a huge stadium soundfield, but sound quality is not always well articulated. But then this is really a visual portrait more than a musical event. John Harris' music mix produces an enveloping and aggressive surround presence, but the sound is not particularly distinct and instrumental timbre is disguised with an overabundance of reverberation. Lady Gaga vocals are at times overpowered by the band and sound effects, as well as arena noises. Bass is solid in the form of drums, synthesizers, and bass guitar. The audience is perceived to be in all channels, with an effective surround presence. The "live" sound mix was led by sound re-recording mixer Brian Riordan. Brian, the founder of Levels Audio, leveraged the abundant audience microphones placed around Madison Square Garden during the concert, to deliver an immersing surround sound atmosphere to the recording. According to the background release, "Lady Gaga fans will be able to enjoy this concert as it was intended to be heard in their home theatres with every nuance of the sound mix captured and reproduced in dynamic lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 audio," said Craig Eggers, Director, Blu-ray Ecosystem, Dolby Laboratories. A stereo-only 2.0 Dolby TrueHD mix also is provided. (Gary Reber)