Sarah McLaughlan: Mirrorball

January 28, 2012 6 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

I’m not usually one for live performances on home video, but one this one surprised me and I really enjoyed it. I had heard a lot of good things about this performance and disc, but never had the chance to check it out for myself until now. I had heard McLachlan’s music before through my friends and I was never that impressed, but I found the performance and music were terrific on this presentation. Maybe I just liked it better with the “live” sound or some other reason I am unaware of, but the music seemed more enjoyable within this performance. McLachlan has a nice amount of showmanship and seems very comfortable with her audience, which was a departure from other recent live performances I’ve reviewed. The visuals were cool also, with various red and blue light schemes used to enhance the presentation for the eyes as well as the ears. I was worried this one would be like most live performance discs I’ve seen of late, but Mirrorball turns out to be a terrific release. Of course fans of McLachlan will want to peruse this release, but even those in the middle might want to give this one a chance.

Now that I’ve given the lowdown on the performance aspect of this release, I’ll break down the disc itself. While some musical releases are given a solid treatment on our beloved format, most are simply thrown together and slapped onto a shiny disc. At best, most musical titles feature good sound, but lack standards in terms of visual presentation and supplements. This disc on the other hand, is well crafted and contains a selection of extras that almost stakes claim to a special edition label. This disc contains a number of bonus tracks not available on the compact disc, which is a superb notion even if not considered a true bonus feature. In addition to the bonus songs, this disc includes a few other cool extras, which will pleases fans I am sure. As it should, this disc sports an impressive surround sound mix, but the visuals haven’t been ignored. The transfer looks very good and that impressed me, as most musical releases rush over that portion of the disc. This is a fine example of what musical releases should be like, so no one should hesitate to add this disc to their collections, should they feel so inclined.

Video: How does it look?

Sarah McLachlan: Mirrorball is presented in a full frame transfer, which preserves the performance’s original aspect ratio. This is a live performance, so the image isn’t going to be pristine by any means, but this is a fine replication in the end. The colors look bold and rich, but never bleed in the least. This performance is sometimes drenched in deep reds and blues, but never did I notice even a trace of distortion or discoloration, very impressive. The contrast seems dead on also, which no overly dark regions and detail is never overexposed. I also no evidence of compression flaws, this is a fine overall transfer.

Audio: How does it sound?

This is where the disc shines and as should be, this performance sounds fantastic. This disc offers both Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 tracks, but I switched to 5.1 and never looked back. This is a very natural sounding mix and never comes as forced, as some of these live performances do in surround tracks. The surrounds are used to perfect ends in this mix, always active though never too much so. In the slower songs the surrounds take on a more subtle tone, then pick back up when they need to. The instruments come across in distinct fashion and never overpower the vocals, which sound crisp and clean at all times. This is how a live performance should sound!

Supplements: What are the extras?

This disc includes fan club information, biography and discography for McLachlan, selected photos, and lyrics for the songs, but also contains some other bonus features. A twenty minute interview with McLachlan can be found on the disc, in which she describes her start in music and where she is taking things in the future. I’m not one for learning about the people behind the music, but fans should appreciate this extra. The final extra feature involves three of the songs from the performance, which you can select alternate angles for (on the fly). This is a cool feature and lets the viewer decide where the camera should be. A nice selection of bonus materials, which add a lot of value to this disc.

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