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Mike Oldfield - The Millennium Bell
Warner Vision/Warner Vision . R4 . COLOR . 56 mins . G . PAL


Mike Oldfield has always embraced new technological angles for his music. His music is also been the showcase for new audio technologies - recently his title was the first for multichannel SACD.

There are a number of his music titles on DVD and this seems to be the showcase title.

This is concert light show set on New Years' Eve 1999 live at Berlin. It is a mixture of his instrumental tracks and more contemporary vocal and choir pieces. For this he uses the Berlin State Orchestra and the Glinka State Choir of St. Petersburg, Russia.

There's something for the 'classical' Oldfield and the new as Mike says in the interview. The old catalog is what you'd expect if you've heard his catalog.

The new stuff is quite interesting with a clever mix of choir, ethnic and African styles.

Track List:

BEST OF: Tubular Bells, Portsmouth, Moonlight Shadow, Secrets, Shadows on the Wall.

THE MILLENNIUM BELL: Sunlight, The Doges Palace, Mastermind, Broad, Liberation, Amber Light, The Millennium Bell.


Video is of a consistently high standard. It needs to be to capture the flamboyant visual style of Oldfield although I felt that the PAL 4:3 frame tends to 'box' in the image when 16:9 or wider would better show the depth of the stage and event as a whole.

I would only note some instances of aliasing on closeups (eg. on instruments) and other long diagonal items like guitar necks. This is a recurring theme throughout the concert but only on closeups.

There is also slight edge enhancement or 'halo-ing' when a bright light borders pitch black. The lightshow tends to either wash out or tint the stage.

Audio is either Dolby Digital 5.1 at 448k/s or Linear PCM at 1,536k/s. The 5.1 track does not take full advantage of the rears or sub with little use except for very limited ambience. On the same token, the PCM track does not make itself known except on the more complex musical stages and it lends itself more to the volume knob if you're so inclined.

I'd expect that PCM track would be the choice. Both however are quite excellent.

Extras a limited to a well edited but short 'Making Of' which is set to music and a Interview with Mike Oldfield. This one is set to very low volume so you'll need the subtitles. If you boost it, the menu music will come on too loud. There is a short 'Art in Heaven' featurette which shows some of the visuals however like the other extras, you probably won't watch them more than once.

When it's going, it's quite good but the concert runs 56 minutes of a total of 80 minutes including the extras so I don't know how many people will take to a 56 minute concert no matter how well produced it is.

Thanks to Doug for some advice on this title:


  • LINK: http://www.dvd.net.au/review.cgi?review_id=752
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  •   And I quote...
    "Another Tubular Bells title to add to your collection of CD, LP and eight track catalog..."
    - Tony Lai
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Rom:
          Pioneer 105(s)
    • MPEG Card:
          Geforce2 32MB AGP
    • Projector:
          Panasonic 1024x768 LCD Projector
    • Decoder:
          Sony TA-E9000ES
    • Amplifier:
          Parasound HCA-1206THX
    • Speakers:
          Mission 763
    • Centre Speaker:
          Mission 75c
    • Surrounds:
          Mission 760
    • Subwoofer:
          Mission 75as
    • Audio Cables:
          rca coaxial SPDIF
    • Video Cables:
          VGA connector
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