abingdon boys school – Japan Tour 2008 (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)
November 22, 2009 by Dennis Amith
Overall, “abingdon boys school – Japan Tour 2008” is an enjoyable, high energy concert. Definitely one of the best concerts videos I have seen from Japan. Multiple cameras all around, great editing and also an entertaining documentary. But for a Blu-ray release, it comes up very short on picture and audio quality.
Images courtesy of © Epic Records Japan Inc. All Rights Reserved.
TITLE: abingdon boys school – Japan Tour 2008
DURATION: 133 minutes
BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 16:9, 1920 x 1080, 59.94i, Stereo Linear PCM (48KHz/16 bit)
COMPANY: Epic Records Japan Inc.
Release Date: December 24, 2008
Producer: Ko Ikeda (UNO)
Director: Yo Ohashi
Producer: E.K. Ching, M. Tang Cole
Director: T. Claussell
Writer: Jose Corleone Mariovchenko, Peter “Killima-Njaro” Smith
Hiroshi Shibasaki (guitarist, former guitarist of WANDS and al.ni.co)
Toshiyuki Kishi (keyboards, turntables and programming)
MICRO from Home Made Kazoku
TAKUYA from UVERworld
Kozy Hasegawa (Drums)
Documentary Narration by Lynne Hobday
The abingdon boys school (aka a.b.s.) was a band formed by Takanori Nishikawa (best known by his music persona T.M.Revolution). In 2005, Nishikawa joined up with Sunao (guitarist), Hiroshi Shibasaki (guitarist, former guitarist of WANDS and al.ni.co) and Toshiyuki Kishi (keyboards, programming and turntable).
The name of abingdon boys school is named after the British independent school Abingdon School based in Abingdon, Oxfordshire and the same school attended by rock band Radiohead.
In February 2008, the band held a special concert at Zepp Tokyo which the band recorded for their Japan Tour 2008 DVD and Blu-ray release.
The video would showcase the concert plus the band behind-the-scenes preparing for the concert during rehearsals. While there is no encore on the actual main concert portion, MC portion was included on the encore segment.
Included on the DVD/Blu-ray is a special bonus movie “EBS Documentary -a.b.s. JAPAN TOUR 2009-” which would showcase the group performing at several venues and showing their daily rituals, giving fans a sneak peek at the members of the group and how they interact with their fans during the concert.
The tracklisting for “abingdon boys school JAPAN TOUR 2008” is as follows:
01. opening -ReVerse-
02. As One
04. DOWN TO YOU
05. NERVOUS BREAKDOWN
06. Via Dolorosa
08. SUNAO solo
09. BLADE CHORD
10. SHIBASAKI solo
11. Desert Rose
13. LOST REASON – feat. MICRO from Home Made Kazoku –
14. stay away
15. Fre@k $HOW
16. INNOCENT SORROW
03. Sweetest Coma Again
05. ending -ReBirth-
VIDEO & AUDIO:
“abingdon boys school JAPAN TOUR 2008” is featured in 16:9, 1920×1080 (59.94i). I have to admit that this is one of the better shot Japanese concerts I’ve seen in awhile. There are a lot of camera placements from closeups of each member of the band, cameras stationed right in front of the stage, behind the stage, above the stage, high above the audience, right in front of the drums.
During the faster-paced songs, there is a lot of editing and typically, I’m quite anal about concerts using the 3-second quick edits because sometimes when used, the concert doesn’t give your eyes a chance to fixate on the artist or band member because it keeps switching out. But somehow for this concert, editing works very well according to the music. Slow-tempo or mid-tempo tracks stick with the 8-second cut.
But overall, lighting is very well done and not much emphasis on the stage but the overall crowd excitement and lighting around Nishikawa and the band members.
But as for the video quality, this is where the video suffers and possibly is an upconvert. there is quite a bit of grain, compression artifacts, occasional banding and even combing. It’s not the the most beautiful looking concert in HD and that’s disappointing because the camera work and editing and choice shots during the concert were well-done.
Audio quality is another disappointment for those with a 5.1 or higher setup (yes, I know in Japan, very few people have a solid setup and that most can’t really blast their concerts loud due to their close living proximity and thin walls) as the concert is only featured in Stereo/Linear PCM (48KHz/16-bit). For the most part, concert sounded fine but I personally felt it was better just to set my receiver with stereo on all channels.
The documentary is quite enjoyable in terms of content but similar to the concert, you get the similar PQ and AQ.
“abingdon boys school – Japan Tour 2008” comes with the following special features:
- EBS Documentary -a.b.s. JAPAN TOUR 2008 – Included is a half hour documentary with narration by an English woman. The discussions are not translated via English subtitles but she pretty much explains most of the scenes of what Nishikawa and band members are talking about. Her narration does feature non-removable Japanese subtitles. Special guests in the documentary include Takuya of UVERworld and MICRO of HOME MADE Kazoku. It’s quite interesting to listen to because the narrator talks about a.b.s. creating music for the galaxy and as long as their is evil, the band will continue to fight in all four corners of the galaxy.
- EBS Documentary -a.b.s. JAPAN TOUR 2008 – Audio Commentary – Optional audio commentary by members of abingdon boys school.
- JAPANESE TOUR 2008 ASSEMBLY KIT – Like the instructions that come with a model kit, you get an 11×17 folded guide with each track accompanied by odd photos on one side and production credits on the other.
- Lyrics booklet – Designed like a translation booklet with English, Japanese, Spanish, German, French and Italian on the front with Japanese checked on. Also, featured in the booklet is a story titled “amazing band story”.
Overall, I enjoyed the concert and the documentary feature because it’s full of energy and you can tell the band is feeding off the energy from the audience. The audience was totally into it and as mentioned earlier, this is one of better Japanese concerts in terms of camera utilization and editing.
It’s just a shame as some Japanese concerts on Blu-ray such as “abingdon boys school JAPAN TOUR 2008” look like they are just upconverts and audio is just in stereo but this an older 2008 release and I know some 2009 releases have improved in overall quality.
As for the main difference between the DVD version, the DVD limited edition version contains a bonus disc with the commentary for the documentary, special sleeve and sticker.
If you are an abingdon boys school fan, the concert is very enjoyable and the documentary is very entertaining but if you are expecting awesome PQ and AQ in HD, then this release unfortunately comes up short.
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