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Sarah McLachlan

By Dwayne Carter
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Sarah McLachlan  Mirrorball

Compact Disc DVD Stock Number: Arista: B00001ODGH Compact Disc


  This month will bring many “firsts” to my life. It will be the first time I am separated from my wife for such an extended period of time. The first time I will live in the Southwest. And it will be the first time a DVD will be reviewed within the digital pages of Enjoy The Music.com Review Magazine!

This month, I have the pleasure of reviewing the full-length “In-concert”  DVD, Mirrorball, by the talented Sarah McLachlan. While this performance is a year old, the DVD was recently released.

My Editor and Chief (also known as Dude), in his infinite wisdom, has seen clear to expand the normal CD reviews a bit farther. We all know about DVD’s rise to fame. Included within the thousands of new DVD movies, comes a smattering of increasingly well recorded musical DVD’s. These include Concerts (as in this review), Video compilations, and Documentaries.

With the encryption scare of DVD-Audio, all but worked out, I felt it was time to start reviewing these new fangled thingamajigs! Because Enjoy The Music.com is still predominately about music, I will keep my impressions of the Video performance to a minimum (dude says "You da man!").

Sarah McLachlan’s Mirrorball was recorded over two days, at the Theatre in the Clouds (Rose Garden Arena, Portland Oregon, April 20-21, 1998 ) during the Surfacing Tour. This DVD features full 5.1 (AC-3) Dolby Surround Sound, Multi-Angle Camera Viewing, Full Motion Menu, Interview, Photo Gallery, Discography and Lyrics. During the course of this review, all songs were played through the Lexicon DC-2, with Logic 7 and AC-3 (5.1) Surround sound processing engaged.

As with any DVD, you can pick any chapter at random. I started with the excellent and personal twenty-minute interview session with Sarah McLachlan. This intimate interview takes place in Sarah’s living room, and offers the viewer great insight into her personality, song writing ability, and meaning behind many of her songs. I recommend watching this interview before diving into the concert. Sarah describes (in detail) some of the artistic struggles she endured, writing a few songs. After hearing these stories, it made me appreciate these songs much more. I listened closer to the melody or lyrics (of the songs) she said,  “Just wouldn’t come”.  Nice.

The concert opens with “Building A Mystery” and “Plenty”. These first two songs (while sung quite well by Sarah) lacked any depth or spatial Surround feel. They sounded muffled and muted.   I checked all settings and replayed the two tracks. Same result. A friend’s copy of this DVD had the same sound quality. Something happened on the recording or the mastering, I bet. Not a good way to start a review.

The next few tracks, “Hold On” and “Good Enough” brought a smile to my face, though. It was as if the concert doors were thrown open…and I was escorted to the fifth row! I was in total sound envelopment. The mix was open, subtle and spread over the Front and Center speakers, with ambient audience sounds and reverberations in the Rear (and in my case, Back) channels. I have heard a few earlier attempts at Surround Sound recordings, and this was the first time it sounded natural.

Sarah glides through “Do What I Have To Do”, “Witness”, “Wait” (superb vocal performance) “I Will Remember You”, “Ice”, “I Love You” (with a powerful bass performance), and more. There are twenty-four songs in all (including nine extra live tracks that are not included on the CD).

I especially enjoyed “Mary” ( lofty, Angelic vocals), “Adia” (crowd pleaser), and “Fear” (my favorite). “Fear” also happens to be one of the three Multi-Angle selections on this DVD. This song has an excitingly slow build-up, climaxing during an angelic, falsetto break:


 “But I fear
  I have nothing to give
  (And) I have so much to lose...

  I have nothing to give
  We have so much to lose...

  Do you know what I Fear now…?
  Do you know what I Fear now…”


Sarah is totally consumed while singing this song. You truly believe the Fear is real to her. The concert builds to a finish (with “Sweet Surrender”and “Fumbling Towards Ecstasy”). The Mirrorball DVD ends with a solo piano version of “Angel”. It has a nice, Club setting, with Sarah alone, at the piano. Visually, the concert starts soft and grainy and ends with a clear, sharp focus. I don’t know if this gradual sharpening is a deliberate effect or the result of learning how to master the A/V mix. Overall, the DVD has Satisfactory to Good Video Quality.

Having done the majority of this review with the Video Monitor turned off; I can state the obvious. Concert DVD’s are meant to be seen…as well as heard! Yes, Sarah is stunning. No doubt about that. Her stage presence is addicting. She glides across the stage (barefooted), weaving a visual and audio spell. So do yourself a favor…and leave the monitor on. If Sarah McLachlan’s Mirrorball is an example of what’s to come ( in 5.1 Surround Recordings), I’d say the future will be something to experience.


Enjoyment: 93
Sound Quality: 85
Video Quality: 88












































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