Tracking Surround: Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds Blu-ray

Live at Radio City ATO/RCA
Show •••• Picture •••½ Sound •••½ Extras ••½

RCA's first Blu-ray title isn't quite the knockout that its parent, Sony BMG, was likely hoping for. Brian Malouf's Dolby TrueHD mix places you in the front of the hall, but the subtle surrounds (except during applause) don't evoke the grandeur of this hall. Still, the sound of the acoustic-guitar strings is remarkable, from treble scrape to bass resonance (with just enough support in the subwoofer). As for the picture, this isn't the sharpest I've seen; the stubble of Matthews is clear but not as 3-D as the stuff that stares back at me from my bathroom mirror. And the photography too often transitions from out-of-focus to in-focus. Yet the Blu-ray easily outdoes the DVD, with excellent definition to small red/green lights against a black background. A second disc has the usual doc and photo montage. The real star of this release is the concert itself - unplugged but bracingly electric.

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