Genesis: When In Rome appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1 on these single-sided, double-layered DVDs; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. While always acceptable, the visuals didn’t look as good as I’d expected.
Sharpness caused some of the concerns. Most of the show appeared reasonably concise and well-defined, but exceptions occurred, primarily during wider shots. The image had a slightly gauzy look at times, and this meant the proceedings could be just a little hazy. The majority of the show looked fine, but it lacked the tightness I’d prefer.
Some minor instances of jagged edges and shimmering popped up, but nothing significant came in those areas. Edge enhancement appeared to be absent, and source flaws weren’t a concern. I noticed no defects through the show.
Colors suffered a little from that gauzy feel I mentioned. Some segments seemed overblown to a mild degree, and that meant the hues could be a bit pale. On the other hand, some lighting was too heavy, such as during “In the Cage”; the red lighting that covered the band seemed a smidgen dense. Again, these were minor concerns, but they existed.
Blacks were dark and tight, and shadows tended to be fine. The only low-light delineation issues that arose came from those dense colors I mentioned. Otherwise those segments looked good. Overall, this was a satisfactory presentation, but it didn’t excel.
When In Rome presented both Dolby Digital 5.1 mix and DTS 5.1 soundtracks. Don’t expect significant differences between the two. The DTS mix was a little warmer, but not to a substantial degree. For the most part, the pair seemed identical to me.
As one expects from a concert presentation, the soundfield remained focused on the front, where the elements showed good stereo imaging. Phil’s vocals appeared firmly set in the middle. The instruments were accurately located and they demonstrated nice breadth and delineation. I could distinguish the various instruments with ease, as they were placed in a natural and clear manner. They also blended together smoothly to create a forward soundstage that consistently created a real and involving setting.
As for the surrounds, they mostly featured crowd noise, though they seemed to involve the music to a higher degree than normal. The instruments seemed quite expansive throughout the track, and that meant the surrounds gave us a little more than usual. This worked well and never felt gimmicky; the music showed a natural sense of place. I was also glad the mix omitted the standard “arena echo”. Yeah, if you see Genesis in a cavernous spot, you’ll get that reverb, but I don’t need it on a DVD to feel like I’m at the show.
Audio quality sounded solid. Phil’s vocals worked fine, as they replicated the desired impressions well. The rest of the track also showed good clarity and a dynamic tone. The instruments remained crisp and vivid during the concert. Low-end was warm and full, and high-end seemed concise. This was a consistently positive audio presentation.
We find a nice mix of extras across this three-disc set. DVDs One and Two include Concert Extras. These give us 20 behind the scenes snippets. They can be accessed as you watch the concert - an icon appears on screen when they’re available – or separately in the supplements area. The shortest lasts one minute, 32 seconds, while the longest goes for eight minutes, 58 seconds. Taken as a whole, they fill a total of one hour, 10 minutes and 12 seconds.
Throughout the “Concert Extras”, we look at various aspects of the pre-tour machinations. We might see rehearsals, band meetings, or other elements that went into the creation of the tour. Each one relates directly to a specific song, which is why they link from each tune during the show. This makes them a bit disjointed if you watch them separately, but they’re still cool to see as they provide fine behind the scenes information.
On DVD One, we find a stillframe reproduction of the Tour Programme. It covers 20 screens as it shows the tour book. Since I was too cheap to buy one, I’m happy to get this reproduction, even if it’s impossible to read the text. DVD Two presents a Photo Gallery. 21 stills pop up in this decent collection of shots.
Some brief Deleted Scenes also show up on DVD Two. This section runs two minutes, 11 seconds as it essentially shows another “Concert Extra”. In this one, we see manager Tony Smith badger the band members to do their “homework” and write short essays for the tour programme. It’s amusing.
Over on DVD Three, we get a feature-length documentary called Come Rain or Shine. The one-hour, 50-minute and 18-second program includes comments from band members Phil Collins, Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford as well as musician Daryl Stuermer and band manager Tony Smith. We follow the tour from its start through its end – well, its finish in Europe, at least.
“Rain” really does cover a wide variety of tour elements. We watch rehearsals, see the band put together the set list, design the stage, and figure out all the other aspects of a massive stadium tour. We learn a lot about all the work that went into the trek and find many fascinating tidbits.
Indeed, there are tons of entertaining little bits on display, and we get some “warts and all” moments such as when Collins tries – in vain – to hit the high notes for “In Too Deep”. I love the bit when Rutherford gripes that the stage is too small – much to Smith’s astonishment, as well as the amazement of anyone who saw the gargantuan set. There’s also a hilarious detour in which drum tech Brad “Munchie” Marsh goes off in a profane way when delegated to find the perfect stool for the drum duet.
I worried that the 70 minutes of “Concert Extras” would make “Rain” seem redundant, but that definitely wasn’t the case. Concert DVDs rarely provide extensive behind the scenes footage, and that’s part of the reason “Rain” is so wonderful. It offers a truly in-depth look at the tour, and it does so in an engaging and entertaining manner. Honestly, “Rain” is more fun to watch than the concert itself; this is a terrific documentary.
As a moderate fan of Genesis, I can’t say I expected to be dazzled by When In Rome, a look at their 2007 reunion tour. Nonetheless, I hoped to feel more moved than I was, as the show proves enjoyable but not especially compelling. The DVD provides decent picture, very good audio and some excellent supplements. Despite my lack of great enthusiasm toward the concert itself, I still recommend this nice package for Genesis fans.