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Styx: The Grand Illusion/Pieces of Eight — Live Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080i/60(29.970Hz)
  • Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit) LPCM 2.o Stereo (48kHz/24-bit), Dolby Digital 5.1
  • Subtitles: English, French, German, Spanish
  • Region: ABC (Region-Free)
  • Rating: Not Rated
  • Run Time: 131 Mins.
  • Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
  • Studio: Eagle Rock Entertainment
  • Blu-ray Release Date: January 31, 2012
  • List Price: $19.98

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Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Performance
[Rating:4/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:1.5/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(All TheaterByte screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Performance

[Rating:4/5]

The native Chicago progressive rock band Styx has not now and has never been my musical cup of tea, so to speak, but their two big selling albums The Grand Illusion (1977) and Pieces of Eight (1978) did yield at least one track that I find reasonably tolerable, the mega-hit “Come Sail Away.” That these two albums would land just as the industry was shifting toward punk and new wave, the musical genres that were in big part a response to the musical excesses of the 70s progressive rock scene is an irony unto itself.

Here in this Eagle Rock release, the band is captured in a November 9, 2010 show performing the two albums in their entirety in order. Love them or hate them, something about their twin guitar attack and high harmony vocals digs down into the subconscious. And they do know how to put on a live show, even over thirty-years later, the energy level is right there. Speaking as a non-fan, if I had to choose which album I had to sit through in its entirety, it would definitely be The Grand Illusion, which to my ears has stronger melodies and harmonies. Pieces of Eight with its trite “I’m Okay” and “Sing for the Day” just made me want to poke my eyes out.

The track list:

  1. Intro/1978
  2. The Grand Illusion
  3. Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man)
  4. Superstars
  5. Come Sail Away
  6. Miss America
  7. Man In The Wilderness
  8. Castle Walls
  9. The Grand Finale
  10. Great White Hope
  11. I’m Okay
  12. Sing For The Day
  13. The Message
  14. Lords Of The Ring
  15. Blue Collar Man (Long Nights)
  16. Queen Of Spades
  17. Renegade
  18. Keyboard Interlude
  19. Pieces Of Eight
  20. Aku-Aku

Video Quality

[Rating:4/5]

This native high definition video production arrives on Blu-ray in a 1080i/60 AVC encodement that keeps artifacts at a relative minimum, video noise low, and has good, life-like detail. Flesh tones seem rather natural and small details can be made out on instruments and clothing.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4.5/5]

Apart from sounding a little too overemphasized in the high end, probably more to do with the music of Styx than the mix and mastering, the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit) soundtrack provided on here is a good one with a nice bit of dynamics for a rock concert and strong instrumental separation.It provides just enough ambience in the surround channels to offer an appropriately live feel. There is also a LPCM 2.0 Stereo (48kHz/24-bit) mix that is evenly balanced as well. A Dolby Digital 5.1 track also resides on the disc.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:1.5/5]

The two-part behind the scenes “making of” featurette Putting on the Show in 1080i is offered as the only supplement.

The supplements:

  • Putting on the Show – Part 1
  • Putting on the Show – Part 2

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4/5]

This is a solid and energetic performance with great sound and video that Styx fans won’t want to pass up.

Additional Screen Captures

[amazon-product]B006IY4QPM[/amazon-product]

BestBuy.com
Grand Illusion -

Purchase Styx: The Grand Illusion/Pieces of 8 — Live on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for More Blu-ray Titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Performance
[Rating:4/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:1.5/5]

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