John Denver was born Henry John Deutschendorf, Jr on the 13th December 1943 to Henry John Sr, an Air Force Pilot and Erma. As his father was in the armed forces, Denver lived in many places while he was growing up, which no doubt sparked his love of travel and the country. In 1952 his grandmother gave him a guitar and thus began his interest in music. Denver left college to pursue a career in music and ended up in Los Angeles where he discovered folk music. Convinced by others that his name was an obstacle to fame, John changed his surname to Denver and the rest is history.
Denver was very passionate about the preservation of flora and fauna as well as helping those less fortunate than himself. He co-founded many conservation and charity groups such as The Windstar Land Conservancy, The Hunger Project and Plant It 2000. His generosity is demonstrated by this concert which was arranged by Denver and filmed for commercial release. The proceeds of any sales to be given to The Wildlife Conservation Society to aid them in their work throughout the world.
Filmed in 1995, only two short years before his tragic death in a plane crash, we are fortunate to see Denver at his peak. He and his tight and talented band seem to be genuinely enjoying themselves before a small but enthusiastic audience in an intimate studio setting. Right from the first song, Eagles and Horses, I knew that I was in for a real treat. Denver is one of those genuine talents that can really, really sing. His voice has real strength, warmth and total clarity. His music may not be everyone's cup of tea but there is no denying that this man was a good song writer, a good performer and a great singer.
This DVD contains 24 tracks of Denver's best plus short interviews in which he discusses his love of the wilderness, some of the experiences that motivated him to write his songs, personal anecdotes and some pitches for The Wildlife Conservation Society.
The playlist for this particular performance is:
|1. Program Start
2. Introduction from John Denver
3. Eagles And Horses
4. Country Roads
5. Back Home Again
6. The Wildlife Conservation Society
7. You Say The Battle Is Over
8. A Song For All Lovers
9. Feeling Rocky Mountain High
10. Rocky Mountain High
11. I Guess He'd Rather Be In Colorado
12. Outdoor Life
13. I'd Rather Be A Cowboy
14. For You
15. I'm Sorry
16. New Perspectives
17. Fly Away
18. Two Different Directions
|19. Shanghai Breezes
20. Annie's Song
21. Images From Nature
22. Sunshine On My Shoulders
23. The Spirit Of The American West
24. Wild Montana Skies
25. Darcy Farrow (Note: No subtitles on this track)
26. Poems, Prayers and Promises
27. The Harder They Fall
28. Bet On The Blues
29. Falling Out Of Love
30. What Can I Do?
32. Resentment And Regret
34. To Be Remembered
35. Medley: Leaving On A Jet Plane/Goodbye Again
36. Farewell and End Credits
Before going into detail about the video transfer, you should note that the video on this disc is in NTSC format (arrgh!). Please ensure that your display equipment is compatible with this before obtaining a copy.
The news for this transfer is generally good. While the camera remains close to the performers, detail levels are quite high. Fine, fly away hairs are visible and the brand names of the performers instruments easy to distinguish. It is during wider shots that the humble NTSC origins of this transfer have an effect which manifests itself as an overall reduction in the clarity of the image. Faces lose definition and things are generally less clear. However, this transfer doesn't suffer as badly as some and so you shouldn't be overly concerned.
Colour saturation is excellent throughout with skin tones lovely and pure. The backdrop for the concert changes colour throughout. At times it is a lovely blue and then changes to strong reds, oranges and yellows. Despite these strong colours, bleeding was not a problem. The black level is excellent as is shadow detail.
There are some artefacts present such as minor aliasing and a couple of examples of cross coloration. Aliasing is seen throughout the performance and therefore cannot be missed but as it is always minor, I doubt that anyone will find it distracting under normal viewing conditions.
This is an RSDL disc with the layer change occurring at 58:03 during a fade-to-black. Unfortunately, the fade occurs while John Denver is still talking and the word "world" is truncated by the change. Doh!
There are two audio tracks on this DVD, the default is PCM stereo and the other is Dolby Digital 5.1. I listened to both although the pick of the two is the Dolby Digital offering.
The Dolby Digital track has a very 'live' sound to it and makes good use of each of the 5.1 channels in your system. The front channels are the feature of the sound design with the rears used to create an involving sound field. This transfer doesn't make the mistake of placing individual instruments in the rear channels and so better matches what you experience at a good concert venue. This track is of reference quality with excellent instrument separation and clarity.
The PCM stereo track isn't as spacious or open but still exhibits the high fidelity and excellent clarity of the Dolby Digital offering.
The extras on this DVD are limited to a discography and biography for John Denver, information on John Denver fan clubs and information about The Wildlife Conservation Society.