ZZ Top: Live From Texas appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. A consistently fine presentation, I found little about which to complain in regard to the DVD’s visuals.
Sharpness mostly seemed solid. Occasionally, wide shots came across as a little soft and ill defined. However, those examples appeared infrequently and did little to distract from the rest of the presentation, which usually looked concise and detailed. I noticed no issues with jagged edges or moiré effects, and I also detected no signs of edge enhancement. Source flaws looked absent, and I saw no issues related to artifacting, noise, or other distractions.
Since the band dressed in dark tones, the majority of the colors came from lighting. Those hues looked well developed and accurate. Even the thickest lighting remained distinctive and rich. Blacks were deep and dense, while low-light shots came across as reasonably clear and appropriately visible. Overall, this was a solid visual presentation.
In terms of audio, the DVD provided both Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1 soundtracks. Should you expect notable differences between the two? Nope, not according to my ears, at least. Both sounded very similar to me.
Given the spare instrumentation found from the three-piece band, the mix didn’t have to fight to make the elements heard. They were well placed in the soundfield and meshed smoothly. Surround usage leaned toward crowd noise and general reinforcement of the music, though it seemed a little more active in that regard than most concert programs. The surrounds accurately and solidly supported the front but didn’t cause distractions.
Audio quality sounded decent but unexceptional. Vocals showed too much echo and portrayed a moderately distant sound. They still came across as acceptably accurate, but they lacked the natural tones I’d like. Midrange dominated the piece and dynamics seemed only moderately good. Though most high-end material was fairly clear and well rendered, bass response was adequate but no better. Low-end seemed somewhat lacking, and I didn’t get the sense of warmth from the track that I expected. I’ve heard worse, but I’ve also heard better.
A smattering of extras fill out the DVD. Three featurettes appear here. Poker Game runs 18 minutes, 37 seconds as it includes comments from band members Dusty Hill, Frank Beard and Billy Gibbons. As they play cards, they chat about their career together. Some interesting tales emerge, but they come out in a scattershot manner. The program lacks real coherence, so it becomes a frustrating history of the band. A better structured featurette would’ve been more satisfying.
Dallas Show Day goes for six minutes, 45 seconds as it goes through all the events that lead up to a concert. We see the stage get put together as well as other aspects of the production. It’s a decent glimpse of the ZZ Top experience, though don’t expect many insights into the technical side of things.
For the last featurette, we get the four-minute and 40-second Photo Shoot. Here we watch the band on location as they pose. It’s not particularly interesting.
A bonus live performance comes next. Foxey Lady runs four minutes, 32 seconds as the band runs through the Hendrix classic. I have no idea why it doesn’t appear as part of the main concert program. I can’t call it a great version of the tune, but I’m glad it shows up as a bonus.
Finally, a booklet finishes the set. It includes a little history and a lot of praise for the band along with some photos from the concert. While not particularly valuable, it’s an easy read.
After nearly 40 years, ZZ Top still churn out their brand of Texas rock, and we get an update on them in Live From Texas. The program presents a 2007 concert in a satisfying way and shows them in reasonably good form. The DVD offers very good picture, pretty positive audio, and a few minor supplements. With a bargain list price of less than $15, this is a nice buy for ZZ Top fans.