Not that there's anything wrong with the rest of Hotel California on DVD-A. If I had the space, I could give a minute-by-minute account of every song, from the subtleties of "New Kid in Town" to the appropriately grand climax of "The Last Resort." For now, I'll have to focus on one important result of Scheiner's handiwork: whereas he has been known to lean heavily on the surround channels, here he uses them prominently but artfully. The rhythm guitars of "New Kid" and "Try and Love Again," the clavinet of "Life in the Fast Lane," the strings of "Wasted Time" - all come from behind without compromising the primary music in front. Even the low riff of "Fast Lane" sounds fine in the rear, especially when it's joined by the high riff in front. As Szymczyk says, he and Scheiner wanted to "put the listener in the middle of the band" by "taking full advantage of the medium." Yet they were careful to A/B the results with the album's original stereo mix (which is provided here, too) so that the new mix wouldn't end up sounding "radically different." On each point, they've succeeded impressively.
Szymczyk makes those points in a brief video interview included as an extra - a department where this DVD-A emphatically does not succeed, since it's the only extra here. No bio, no essay, no commentary, no photos. And no lyrics except those for the title song. Yeah, I know, the original LP didn't give us the other lyrics either, but that was then, and this is DVD-Audio, a multimedia format. Now you know why I've docked a full star from what could have been a perfect five-star format rating. Besides, the interview sounds buzzy - and nowhere do we get a full reproduction of the LP's inner-gatefold photo. Get outta here!
On the other hand, I hope Elliot Scheiner stays right where he is, if the mix here is a true indication of his current multichannel-mixing ethic. Because even if you think you know Hotel California inside and out, you haven't really heard it until you've gone down these six corridors. And once you check in, you'll never want to leave.
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