*Warning: Really bad joke contained in body of review.
Recorded at the Key Club in LA before a collection of family, friends and die hard fans, Juice Newton Ė Every Road Leads Back To You is a concert performance by a very talented artist in her prime. Covering an array of songs from her many albums and featuring a selection from her new release of the same name as this disc, she ably demonstrates her obvious talent as a singer. Most of her hits are covered in this recording and are performed to perfection. She's backed by a more than able band, including long time friend and manager Otha Young on lead guitar, a talented guitarist and someone that has been there since the beginning in 1970. Over twenty albums have followed with sales of over ten million, along with several Grammy nominations, including a win in the early days.
Your Heart Is Showing
Love Sail Away
Medley: I'm So Hurt/Break It To Me Gently
The Trouble With Angels
Red Blooded American Girl
Medley: You Make Me Want to Make You Mine/Cheap Love/Love's Been a Little Bit Hard on Me
Every Road Leads Back To You
Shot Full of Love
This Old Flame
The Sweetest Thing (I've Ever Known)
They Never Made it to Memphis
Angel of the Morning
Queen of Hearts
Night Time Without You (After Midnight)
Like most people unfamiliar with the music of Juice Newton, I was fully expecting a non-stop show of country and western tracks. Thankfully, there isnít a cowboy hat in sight, well OK there was one but that was in the audience and you only see it for a few seconds. Yes, there are a number of country tunes, but there are also songs that show her obvious influences from folk and rhythm and blues music. One song even sounds as though the Stray Cats could have performed it. One item that I found amusing is a "No Stage Diving" sign - a bit out of place for this show I think.
There have been quite a few artists who have made the cross over from country to pop and vice versa, but few do it successfully or with any longevity, Juice Newton is one of the few to have succeeded. She will be around for some time, whether it be playing to sold out arenas or to ten people in a bar, as she plays purely for the love of it. Letís hope that her love of horses and her devotion to her family never take her away from making music, after all that would be Juice extraction wouldnít it? (Hey, there was a warning!)
Presented in 1.78:1 and not 16x9 enhanced, the transfer of this DVD is generally very good, dependent upon which camera the view is from. What I mean by this is that there are standard fixed cameras filming the majority of the show and these shots are of a very high standard. On the other hand, there are a couple of cameramen that parade around with hand held cameras (donít worry, you canít miss them) and the vision that comes from their cameras is generally less than adequate. Pictures are sharp, colours are vivid with little saturation and shading is excellent. Blacks are very deep and there is the usual blue light, which is common with live performances. There is minor aliasing in the usual places of guitar strings and microphone stands, but nothing that's too distracting. From the mobile counterparts, who for some reason like to aim directly into the lights, the vision is jerky, out of focus at times and generally poor. A couple of prime examples are at 15:46 and 33:59. There is no problem with audio sync.
Audio is used very well. The Dolby Digital stereo track is sufficient, but I would guess this was only added for people that donít have surround capabilities. The only problem with this audio is the occasional distortion, primarily during loud and high notes.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 track is very nice. The surrounds are used well for lead vocals on the centre speaker and there is good use of separation for the harmonies and occasional crowd noise, something that is refreshingly not intrusive. The subwoofer gets a reasonable workout.
The DTS 5.1 track is slightly better than the DD 5.1 track. The seperation is a little better and the general sound is a touch louder. Not a drastic difference to the standard 5.1, but nice all the same.
Overall the transfer is very good and captures the concert very well, however it is hard to overlook the poor camera work of the hand held cameras. The sound is what this show is all about and that stands up very well.
There are quite a few extras included on this release. Firstly, there is the bonus song, Love Is Still Alive and Well, taken from the concert performance of the main feature. It is of the same standard and runs for 4:22.
Next we have an interview, split into four segments with a total running time of 20 minutes. The four segments are titled Growing Up, On the Road, Songwriting and Influence and Excitement. This is an interesting interview that should cover all you wanted to know about Ms Newton.
Lastly are the bonus audio tracks. All four songs are from the CD of the same name as this DVD and are Love Is Still Alive and Well (3:36), If I Could I Would (4:23), Every Road Leads Back To You (3:33) and Your Heart Is Showing (3:54). All bonus tracks are in DD stereo and are a nice extra that should satisfy any fan.