The Police – Rio de Janeiro (Retro-Tone)


Rio de Janeiro (Retro-Tone)

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – December 8, 2007

Intro, Message In A Bottle, Synchronicity II, Walking On The Moon, Voices Inside My Head/When The World Is Running Down, Don’t Stand So Close To Me, Driven To Tears, Hole In My Life, Truth Hits Everybody, Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic, Wrapped Around Your Finger, De Do Do Do De Da Da Da, Invisible Sun, Walking In Your Footsteps, Can’t Stand Losing You/Regatta De Blanc, Roxanne, King Of Pain, So Lonely, Every Breath You Take, Next To You

To date, a number of DVD-Rs have been released chronicling different dates from The Police’s 2007-2008 reunion tour.  Almost all of these were shot from the audience.  Even if you could get past the fact that they are DVD-Rs, I can’t imagine they would be worth getting.

With Rio de Janeiro, Retro-Tone brings us the first silver DVD to be released from The Police’s reunion tour.  This is a professionally shot concert from a Brazilian broadcast.  The television channel logo (“multishow”) remains in the upper left hand corner of the screen throughout the entire concert, but is not too distracting.

A HUGE number of DVD-Rs of this concert have already been rushed to market:  e.g., Complete Resurrection, Regatta De L’Amerique 2007, Police in Rio 2007, Live in Rio, Message in Brazil, etc….  If you are looking for a silver DVD of this show, please be careful you are getting the real deal and not a DVD-R.

With the flood of quick DVD-Rs, perhaps Retro-Tone rushed too quickly to get Rio de Janeiro to market, as it suffers from a number of flaws.  The packaging is almost non-existent, consisting merely of a clear plastic hard shell case with a single page with front & back cover on one side and a single photo of Sting and Andy on the other (visible when you open the case).

The biggest problem with this DVD is the synchronization of the audio and video.  I watched the DVD both on my computer and on my DVD player.  The audio and video were far enough out of sync that I did not find it enjoyable to watch.  I then activated the setting for A/V Sync on my DVD player; the synchronization became better, but still not perfect.  I subsequently tried the DVD in 3 friends’ DVD players with the same results:  watchable, but not perfectly synched.  The bottom line is that the audio and video are not entirely synched and I found it distracting.

In the interests of full disclosure, I should note a colleague said his copy was perfectly synched.  However, upon review of his copy, I found it identical to mine.  It could be that my eyes/ears are more sensitive than others’.]

The concert was quite well shot, with many different cameras and angles of the band, the stage and the audience.  Aside from the synchronization problem, the video is quite good.

The audio, however, leaves something to be desired.  The audio level frustratingly rises and falls throughout the DVD.  It is not known whether this was a problem with the broadcast or with Retrotone’s production.  I found the fluctuating audio level quite distracting, requiring constant manual adjustment of the volume.  Finally, during Voices Inside My Head, there are several ‘pops’ like you might hear from an LP with a scratch.

As for the concert itself, the set list is very representative of the reunion tour.  Sting’s voice starts off sounding rough, cracking a couple of times.  After a few songs, he shakes off the rust and his voice is back to normal.  The band is in excellent form, and the many close-ups well display their impressive musicianship.  Indeed, it is clear their instrumental skills have only increased with the passage of time.  They are very relaxed and appear to be enjoying themselves.  Andy acknowledges the audience with a curtsey as he begins playing Message In A Bottle.  Sting repeatedly invites the crowd to “canta” (sing) with him.  On several songs, Stewart leaves his drum kit to play an impressive array of symbols, chimes and miscellaneous percussion instruments.  Unfortunately, the camera doesn’t stay on him nearly as much as it should.  The synchronization problem also prevents true enjoyment of Stewart’s mastery of all things percussion.

Although Rio de Janiero is currently the only silver DVD of The Police’s current tour, with its synchronization and audio problems, I can only give this DVD the most marginal of recommendations.  Because this DVD was taken from a broadcast, it will surely be released on another silver DVD at some point in the future.  It might be best to wait for some future release, since they will have ample opportunity to avoid the issues which beset this release.  

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