Having never seen or even heard of Cliff Richard, I went into his latest concert release, Still Reelin’ and A-Rockin’: Live In Sydney, not knowing what to expect. The only real clue as to what I was in for was a quote down on the bottom of the cover that stated “The Real King Of Pop”, a quote from Daily Mail. My mind instantly went to Michael Jackson and his particular brand of pop music. Boy, was I wrong.
If you’re not familiar with Cliff Richard have no fear. The concert opens with a beautiful nigh time view of Sydney, a bit of choppy looking stock footage number that suffers from white noise, but then you’re inside the concert and everything comes to life in crystal clarity with vibrant color. Richard is introduced, does his first number, then begins to converse with the audience, a trend he repeats throughout the program.
Richard’s use of showmanship to connect with his audience and make sly jokes about his career and his age come off very natural and is a very easy way for you to get to know the performer. Sure, on first look I just saw an older guy coming out and performing a pop rock number that I probably wouldn’t have listened to aside from covering this performance for review, but his allure is his easy going connection with the audience that makes you want to get to know him better.
An actor, both stage and screen, and a musician, Richard actually popped up on my radar once I checked out some stuff he did in the past. Thunderbirds Are Go: The movie, derived from the TV show I used to watch as a kid on channel 13 in California, featured not only Cliff Richard as a celebrity character, but he and his band The Shadows also contributed to the soundtrack. I also came across some familiar tunes in the concert as well, tunes I’d heard on British television shows Ballykissangel and New Tricks.
All in all, the show ran a whopping two hours, featured some amazing performances from Richard as well as his back up singers and band, and Richard really connected with the audience in the concert and at home. Very funny, charming, and an impressive performer.
I was really amazed at the quality of the concert footage. Hiccups in low light and stage lights can really give a BD picture some hurdles, but black levels were very smooth, stage lighting never gave the picture difficulties, and texture and clarity remained solid for the most part. The only minor hiccup that the show contained seemed to be a poorly mounted camera just behind the drums. Whenever the picture was shot from this camera it was a bit shaky and appeared to be struggling to focus in the midst of all the vibration. Other then that you have one troubling spot in the opening introduction sequence that shows a bridge outside the concert venue at night. You get a bit of white noise in this particular, few second, spot.
As far as HD concerts go though I’d say it’s pretty amazing. Even the audience really stands out. You can see every individual person, the amazing vibrant color in their clothing, and even as the camera’s attempt those tough wipeout shots everything stays copasetic. A really good example of fine HD concert footage done right.
Included in the bonus features section you get a behind the scenes look at Richard’s wardrobe, crew, and Richard himself as he provides more insight into his 50+ year career as a performer.