For those unfamiliar, Sugar Ray are an LA five piece band that combine various musical styles to gain their own unique style. Incorporating pop, R&B and hip-hop, they create some very catchy songs, giving them a very broad ranging fan base. With numerous top ten hits to their credit, they have toured extensively throughout the world and look like they will only get stronger.
Music In High Places is a series of releases that take artists of varying musical genres to exotic locations around the world to play acoustic versions of their songs before incredible natural backdrops. For this release we see Sugar Ray travel to Australia to experience life in the “bush”. North Queensland is the destination of choice and the band enjoy varying aspects of this region including a crocodile park, a derelict gold mine, a tropical rain forest and an isolated island. Showing the diverse terrain of this rugged land, these self proclaimed “wimps from LA” show how amazed they are by what they see and how fortunate they are to be seeing it. The band members experience the local hospitality and customs, performing their music in return.
The obvious friendship of the band members comes across as does their humour and love of fun. This is a bit like watching a home movie at times, only these guys have a crew to do the filming. The obvious fascination for Australia and its wildlife are forever evident.
This documentary is more about the places the band visit rather than the band themselves. Containing interviews with both Sugar Ray and locals, we are given an insight to this region of Australia. The music is what we want to see though and the songs are performed as a type of break between segments and are very enjoyable.
Just a Little
When it’s Over
I did get slightly annoyed at a couple of text style advertisements promoting a website that popped up every now and then, but I couldn’t believe it at 57:00 when, during the final song Every Morning, a commercial kicks in promoting other releases in the series. Now I can understand to a degree when this is done during credits, but this is halfway through the song, and possibly their best known song. What the...?
Apart from this annoyance, this is a very enjoyable look at the band and at Australia. Laughs are aplenty and the scenery is spectacular.
Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 (not 1.85:1 as stated on the case) and not 16x9 enhanced, this transfer is of a pretty high standard. Picture is generally good with some very nice colours capturing the exotic locations. Skin tones are true and detail is generally very good. There are not too many blacks, but the ones that appear are acceptable. There are minor artefacts but nothing to really affect the viewing pleasure. Occasional pixelisation occurs and there are some glitches during the wild ride they take in the bush in a Hummer four wheel drive vehicle.
Audio supplied is a choice of Dolby Digital 2.0 and 5.1. The DD 5.1 track is very good, with clear audio and nice separation across the front speakers. The rear speaker use is quite subtle but ads nice body to the sound creating a good atmosphere. The subwoofer gets a little work but nothing too taxing. The DD 2.0 is also very good but the DD 5.1 has a much fuller sound so would be the track of choice, should you have one. Audio sync is never a problem. This is a dual layer disc but the layer change is not noticeable. As the main feature runs for 58:39, I would assume it is placed between the main features and the extras.
Quite a few extras are on this release. All are in the same aspect ratio as the feature, but only come with DD 2.0 audio.
Interview is a featurette which shows interviews with the band members regarding their trip and is basically footage either not used in the main feature the full interview that was used. Running for 14:55, this is a nice extra for fans.
Just The Music is a nice feature also. This is a list of all the music tracks included in the feature allowing you to play the song of choice or to play them all in succession. The difference between this and scene selection is that with scene selection you get the documentary scenes leading up to each song.
One Last Shoot is a series of interviews with the crew and their adventures while making this feature. This is a very amusing featurette and runs for 10:15.
Promo Spots is a series of ads made by the band for television shows. It's a bit repetitive, but something fans may enjoy. This feature runs for 52 seconds.
Location Footage is perhaps the pick of the extras. Running for 20:51, this feature includes parts of the main feature as well as much more footage taken from varying locations.
Sugar Ray Biography is a text only feature, which includes several pages talking mostly about the band’s albums rather than the band themselves.
Overall this is a very good DVD for fans and something that others with a slight liking for Sugar Ray should enjoy. The promotion of Australia and its wildlife is very good also so check it out.