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Live In NYC & London: 1981 [DVD] [2010] [Region 1] [NTSC] [2011]

3.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Format: PAL, DVD-Video
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: Unknown
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: NR (Not Rated) (US MPAA rating. See details.)
  • Studio: IMMORTAL
  • Run Time: 1.00 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • ASIN: B003B3V14M
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 154,211 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

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...sadly it looks like a ropey transfer from a VHS cassette, with a couple of her later music videos spliced onto the end. Much as it's nice to have a copy of this again (mine got swiped/lost years ago), it's a disappointing way to treat a classic concert film.
Come on Island Records, give us a properly remastered version of this (and while you're at it, Tom Waits' Big Time film would be nice as well).
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x98460450) out of 5 stars 14 reviews
52 of 54 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x98443c78) out of 5 stars A Cautionary Heads-Up 28 Jun. 2010
By Stormcat - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
This is the first time I've ever left a review for anything, either on Amazon or anywhere else. I've always felt that if someone is a fan of such-and-such artist, movie, etc., then they're a fan, and some review by so-and-so from who-knows-where is not going to have any impact on whether they choose to buy or not. But after receiving and viewing "Grace Jones: Live in Concert" on DVD I feel an obligation to caution other prospective buyers about this horrendous mess.

Before I ordered this DVD, I did read the previous reviews by James G "J.M.G.", Mr. D. Varkonyi, and Jan Edvard Simonsen, so I was prepared for a less-than-stellar DVD. But, I was not prepared for just how bad this really turned out to be. Yikes! I can only conclude that the previous reviewers have either long ago lost their VHS copies of this gem and are not able to make a side by side comparison, or that they are the three most generous and forgiving gentlemen one is likely to find on Amazon. Then again, maybe it's both.

Let me explain...In 2007, I bought a new computer that came with the usual bundle of pre-installed software. I was very pleased to find that one of the programs made it possible to hook up a VCR to your computer and transfer VHS tapes to DVD. I immediately thought of my three favorite tapes that had never been released on DVD. First and foremost of said tapes being "Grace Jones: State of Grace". (For the uninformed, the original 1982 release of this concert was called "Grace Jones: A One-Man Show", then they re-released it in 1985 with the added "Slave to the Rhythm" video and called it "Grace Jones: State of Grace". Now, on this DVD, they've added the videos "Love is the Drug" and "Crush" and called it "Grace Jones: Live in Concert".) And for the hopelessly curious, the other two tapes were Madonna's "The Virgin Tour" and Bette Midler's "Art or Bust".

Anyway, out came the VCR and my very-very-much-viewed copy of "State". I made a very basic transfer to DVD, only increasing the saturation level a bit, clicking an option for blacker blacks, and setting the sharpness slider to somewhere between 30 and 40. (Higher sharpness started to make it look pixelated.) I didn't mess with any of the other bells or whistles like video cleaning because...well, because of overall general incompetency. All in all, it turned out rather well. Then I saw that this concert had finally been released on DVD. Hooray! Finally a professional copy that had to be better than my half-a** transfer. Boy! I've seldom been more wrong.

All the way through I kept thinking, "Geeze, Louise! I don't remember my copy being this bad". Like others have said, this is obviously a transfer from VHS. What others didn't mention was that apparently the only copy they could find was one that had been played to within inches of its life, then stored in a damp basement for 10+ years until a flood threatened, and then was moved to a hot, sweltering attic for another 10+ years. Then, to boot, when they finally did the transfer, they set the sharpness to absolute zero.

The whole concert is a blurry mess. At one point in the opening song, there is a long shot of the stage where Ms. Jones appears as no more than an amorphous blue blob moving to and fro across your screen. Things become clearer in close-up shots, but not by much. And if all this fuzziness hasn't annoyed you enough, then there's the multitude of artifacts that will surely set your teeth on edge. This DVD is rife with assorted squiggles, blips, and lines competing for your attention, including those narrow static-like bands that periodically move up (or down) your entire screen. Twice I noticed jumps or skips in the video but not in the audio. This resulted in brief periods where the audio and video were out of sync. Then, presumably for time constraints to fit the content on a single-layered DVD, the last song of the live set is abruptly cut off before it finishes. Likewise, the beginning of the "Love is the Drug" video is so abrupt and jarring it's obvious that it's been beheaded by an editor wielding a chainsaw.

As for sound, others have noted a marked improvement over the VHS original. This must be a purely subjective matter of taste. I admit there is definitely a lot of subtle sounds that weren't present on the original tape. On the other hand, whatever process they used to bring them out was at the expense of the louder sounds which, in my opinion, now sound shrill and strident.

Then, as James G "J.M.G." pointed out so eloquently, there's the confusing issue with the aspect ratio (I'm still scratching my head over that one!) and the "uninspiring" cover image. (With all the brilliant images of Ms. Jones worthy of the label "Art", this is the cover they went with? It's like they couldn't even bother to look through more than one shot. Just slapped the first picture they came across on the cover and called it a day.) James also said, "The footage would probably look a lot better on a standard interlaced television rather than a high definition monitor." It doesn't.

After viewing this DVD, I had to put in my DVD transfer from '07 for comparison. I was astounded at the difference. My semi-inept
transfer from a ratty ol' copy of "State" was cleaner, sharper, and more vibrant. No amorphous blue blobs here. No! There was Ms. Jones striding willfully, and definitely in focus, to and fro across my screen. Sure there was an artifact here and there, but not to the point of distraction. And although the sound issue is surely subjective, I definitely preferred the original which I found to be more balanced, fitting to the images, and overall more pleasing to the ear. All this to say, the poor quality of this DVD can not be wholly blamed on old footage or the limitations of VHS tape.

I am proud to say I've been one of Grace Jones biggest fans for over 25 years. She has always been my #1 favorite artist. I have probably scrounged up almost all her rarities, bootlegs, and unreleased tracks. I spent a pretty penny having "Muse" professionally transferred to CD, and even managed to see her in one of her only two "Hurricane" shows in the U.S. So when James says that he loves Ms. Jones too much to give this DVD a 3, this is an opinion I can understand and respect. On the other hand, I have a different opinion. I in no way lay the blame for this DVD at Grace Jones' doorstep. In fact, knowing the perfectionist that Ms. Jones is, I'm sure that if she took a gander at this DVD, she'd have a conniption. So, in a way, I feel that by giving this DVD the bad rating it deserves, I'm striking a blow FOR Ms. Jones.

So, in conclusion, if you're as big a Grace Jones fan as I am and you've never had or irreplaceably lost your VHS copy of this treasure, then, as Mr. D. Varkonyi said, "beggars can't be choosers, at least we have something!!!". But...and this is a big BUT...if you still have your old tape, it might be worth your while to make a transfer of it onto DVD yourself. Unless you've stored it for the past 25 years on your roof or in the bottom of your goldfish bowl, I'm betting you'll end up with a nicer copy. It surely couldn't be any worse.
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x983cb714) out of 5 stars Rearranged One Man Show with a few surprises 26 April 2010
By James G - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
The gods have finally listened to the cries of many and brought Grace Jones' live performances (AKA 1981's One Man Show) to DVD. So, let's start with the good. First and foremost, the DVD comes with all the songs from A One Man Show and it includes Slave to the Rhythm, Love is the Drug, and for some strange reason 'Crush' from her horrible 1989 album. Nevertheless, it's Grace Jones on DVD. Video quality is average and I guess to be expected for such old footage. The footage would probably look a lot better on a standard interlaced television rather than a high definition monitor. The audio has definitely improved from the original 1982 video cassette. The DVD has three audio options: standard (stereo), Dolby surround 5.1, and DTS surround 5.1. I don't have surround sound so I was not able to test the audio extras.

The bad: The footage has been cut up slightly. The original introduction with the montage of pictures of Grace has been moved to a different location on the video (thankfully it's still there). The original VHS was obviously in 4:3 aspect ratio, yet this DVD was in 16:9 aspect ratio. It's difficult to tell exactly what happened, but I think the video make have been cropped to fit the 16:9 aspect ratio. Or worse yet, it may have been stretched to fit. The cover on the DVD was uninspiring for a Grace Jones video. The DVD should have received 3 stars, but I love Grace Jones just too much.

Overall, a good buy for a collector.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x98332090) out of 5 stars FINALLY - The One Man Show on DVD!!! 11 Jun. 2010
By Mr. David Varkonyi - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
It is excellent to FINALLY see the famous One Man Show on dvd!!! The only let down is the quality, it is not remastered, looks like a vhs copy. BUT beggars can't be choosers, at least we have something!!! Also added videos Slave to the Rhythm and Crush which is a nice addition from the later years ( since the One Man Show is from the early 80's ).
Grace has so MANY unreleased gems, i never understand why don't they release them? How about the current Hurricane tour?
But despite it's flaws ( quality and editing could have been better) it is an excellent release, we can only hope for an extended remastered version one day along with Muse on cd ( will that ever happen, that lp has excellent songs!!! ) the unreleased songs - Love Bites needs to be on cd , its one of her best songs - and more of her live performances needs to be released!!! She is an amazing visual artist with an excellent voice!!! VERY underrated!!!
After her show in London this year ( Hurricane tour) i actually got to meet Grace , it was such an amazing experience!!! She was sooooooooo NICE to us!!! She took pictures with us, huggs and everything, she patiently signed personalized signatures, not just a line as many people do. She actually wrote her name with a dedication. She needs to be heard and seen!!! She is a truly amazing artist!!! And she was amazing with us fans too!!! Thank you Grace!!! xxx
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9832fc0c) out of 5 stars Such a Shame 7 Jan. 2011
By Reno Baldomero - Published on Amazon.com
Apparently Grace is pissed about this release, and you can't exactly blame her. I simply do not understand how any real Grace fan could possible rate this release above two stars.

Grace's "One Man Show" is a masterpiece and considered by many to be Grace's finest piece of work, but you wouldn't know that by this release. The picture quality is shockingly bad. It is grainy and there are even some serious colouring issues (especially during "Demolition Man"), which is completely unacceptable. Who exactly supervised this transfer? Seriously? Do they even care? I'd say no, judging by these rookie mistakes. The show itself has been left intact, but they've cut up the frame, so the focus is disturbingly uneven at times. As for the "bonus" tracks. Well, the quality haven't improved on the music video, and I have seen better quality on Youtube from Christ's sake! Again, I have no idea what their source was, but it must have been the most abused VHS tape in existence.

Universal Music have been very strict about keeping videos of her show off of Youtube, so it is a wonder why they gave permission (did they?) to make this release possible. Not once is the title "A One Man Show" mentioned, as if they knew exactly that it would be nothing but an insult to give this release its original title. Immortal obviously realized the needs of all of her fans to have this magnificent show on DVD, but as a true Grace Jones fan, I could have been without this release as it is nothing but an insult to Grace and her legacy.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x98332ca8) out of 5 stars Nice to have on DVD, but Island Records should be ashamed! 1 Oct. 2010
By G. Mitchell - Published on Amazon.com
I'll make this short: I've been a huge fan of Grace Jones since the 70s when I was a little kid and basically own every LP, 12" CD and video and DVD she's ever released.

While it's ok to (finally) have the long-awaited, much-delayed DVD release of what amounts to Grace's "One Man Show" aka "State of Grace" plus a few later videos tossed in for good measure, I have a few basic gripes:

*While the sound appears to have slightly upgraded (with mixed results, the way a lot of today's CDs are mastered "too loud" and tend to clip/distort due to volume levels pushed too high), the PICTURE quality of this DVD is horrific - if I transferred by old original VHS copies of STATE OF GRACE or ONE MAN SHOW to DVD from a store down the block it would probably appear sharper, clearer. This is unacceptable for a visionary, ground-breaking, VISUAL show that Grace delivered decades ago. Still ahead of it time today.

*Why would they chop/move around the order of the songs/segments? Leave it alone and in its original perfect incarnation. If it's not broken, why "fix" it?

*The cover art/packaging is abysmal. Again, this is a disGRACE for an artist of Grace's caliber. ISLAND RECORDS should be ashamed of themselves - Grace is one of the label's highest A-level, most influencial artists ever, and Island never sees fit to reissue/remaster ANY of her early OOP disco CDs (where's MUSE on CD now? or FAME on CD now?) with bonus tracks/better sound/additinal photos/notes/remixes, etc. Even when last year Island celebrated its 50TH anniversary, they couldn't see fit to reissue the original ONE MAN SHOW VHS on DVD in remastered, pristine condition? Instead, Grace Jones fans/collectors have to suffice with a subpar import DVD release that looks more like a bootleg unauthorized than the real deal. Again, WHY? And then major labels wonder why people buy less and less CD/DVDs - because labels don't listen to what fans really want, they just rehash/repackage/reboot krap over & over ad nauseum to sell a buck on back catalog. Pathetic.

Still, if you're a Grace Jones fan, you'd be wise to by this DVD if you ever hope to see ONE MAN SHOW aka STATE OF GRACE ever on DVD.

Too bad. Another missed opportunity on Island pissing on the reputation of one of its own greatest artists.

(*While we're at it, isn't it a crime that Grace's amazing "comeback" HURRICANE CD last year didn't even get a U.S. domestic release (?!), only Wall of Sound in the UK? You'd think Island might license it for the States since she toured the U.S. for the first time in years? Again, go figure!)

Well, I guess this wasn't so short after all.
Go ahead, put some Grace in your Face.
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