ZZ Top Live From Texas

Featured In Issue 134, September 2008

WSR Score4
Basic Information on new release titles is posted as soon as titles are announced. Once reviewed, additional data is added to the database.
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Milton Lage
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In their first concert DVD, ZZ Top (Gibbons, Hill, & Beard) is performing Live From Texas all of their best material from the '70s and '80s. What the Texas trio lacks in fancy dance moves—and the boys do lack—the band makes up for by opening a can of whup-*ss on the unsuspecting audience at the Nokia Theater in Grand Prairie, Texas. This stage performance will take all of you who grew up with MTV in its infancy, back down memory lane when cool cars and high heels were all that mattered. (Stacey Pendry)

Special features include a 19-minute conversation with the band in Poker Game, a behind-the-gig look at the band in Dallas Show Day (seven minutes), the chance to go on location with the band on a five-minute "Photo Shoot," and a five-minute video of the band covering Jimi Hendrix's "Foxey Lady."

The anamorphically enhanced 1.78:1 DVD shows almost no shadow delineation in the darkly lit audience, which looks more like a flat black silhouette. Black levels are also elevated slightly. The source appears very clean and sharpness is quite good, with each dirty strand of hair in their beards resolved nicely. Fleshtones look natural, and contrast is balanced well. Edge enhancement is subtle and rarely becomes a distraction. The H.264 AVC-encoded Blu-ray Disc shows very good resolution and a very clean source, with bold, vibrant colors and a good sense of dimension. Shadows are better defined, but black levels are still elevated. Still, the picture looks impressive. (Danny Richelieu)

The DVD's Dolby® Digital and DTS® Digital Surround™ 5.1-channel soundtracks have front stages that don't deliver much depth, sounding more like a wall of sound than a defined stage. The DTS encoding improves on the imaging of this stage some, but neither is very articulate. Fidelity can be harsh and muddy and rarely sounds realistic. Bass is also somewhat flabby, although it is improved some in the DTS encoding. While the instruments are given discrete places in the mix—when the lead guitar, bass guitar, and drums are playing simultaneously—it is difficult to discern their positions. The Blu-ray Disc's lossless DTS-HD Master Audio™ encoding features much better fidelity, with tighter bass and better staging. Vocals are always audible. The Blu-ray also includes a 2.0-channel uncompressed linear PCM encoding, which features a much better mixed front stage and improved dynamic range. (Danny Richelieu)