Baaba Maal

Live at the Royal Festival Hall [DVD]

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Palm Pictures has done a fantastic job on the Baaba Maal: Live at Royal Festival Hall DVD. For concerts, normally it wouldn't be the image that really matters. This disc is an exception. Shot with six digital cameras specifically for the DVD release, the picture is sharp and really looks wonderful. The bright colors of the costumes and the dark recesses of the stage complement each other, making each stand out -- it's very noticeable and worth watching. But most would agree it's the sound that really matters, and this disc has both a Dolby Digital 5.1 and a DTS 5.1 soundtrack, each of which sounds awesome. Whether it's the musicians or the sizable crowd, the sound surrounds, creating a feeling of being part of the action on stage and in the audience. A big surprise is the extra material on this disc. Along with an interview with Baaba Maal and a photo gallery and trailers to other Palm Pictures titles, there is also an unlisted audio commentary from Maal. Palm has gone out of its way to make this an extra-special disc. Another unexpected turn is that they present the image in a widescreen ratio of 1.85:1, giving it more of a theatrical experience. The image isn't enhanced for 16 x 9 televisions, which would have taken this disc to even higher levels. Regardless, Palm has put together an interesting title, and while the music won't appeal to all tastes, the disc is certainly worth a look.

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