On July 4, 1996, Tupac Shakur’s concert at the House of Blues proved to be his final performance before his untimely death two months later. On May 25, Eagle Rock Entertainment will proudly release this concert in the Blu-ray format, when Tupac: Live at the House of Blues hits shelves. As a critical component to Death Row records, alongside other icons such as Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg, Tupac brought a multi-dimensional appeal, allowing fans to bond with hip-hop like never before. This Blu-ray captures the raw charisma of one of Hip Hop’s most revered artists. He contributed an immense body of work in his brief five-year career, as evidenced in this House of Blues performance.
Filmed in LA, the DVD showcases hip-hop’s poet laureate joined by Snoop Dogg, Nate Dogg, K-Ci & JoJo, Outlawz, and Tha Dogg Pound through 118 minutes of hits and collaborations. 24 tracks deep, with five bonus songs, it shows Tupac’s commanding presence, as he traverses from R&B cuts to straight club bangers to hard knock anthems. He also throws Snoop Dogg a few bones, featuring such hits as “Murder Was The Case” and “Who Am I (What’s My Name).”
My taste is music is quite varied but it stops dead when it comes to traversing the genres of rap and country. Any exposure to either I have is limited and never self-inflicted, so any knowledge I have of Tupac and his style of music is incredibly limited. I am, of course, aware of the circumstances surrounding his death (who isn’t?) and there’s of course the whole feud that went on (or is still going on, I have no idea) between various rappers back in the 90s. Hell, there is a lot of it present here on this concert as well—there are some truly vitriolic lyrics being spewed out here and it’s no wonder things went down as they did.
So wading into this twenty-four track deep concert, I had a lot of time to reflect not only on how much I dislike the rap genre but also realize how varied it really is. The concert isn’t entirely Tupac, as there’s quite a bit of Snoop Dogg in it as well (in fact Dogg’s set list outnumbers Tupac’s for the night), so while the two are definitely from the same genre they are far from the same style of music through and through. Dogg in his later years has mellowed out some from his rather forceful self here, but he was still laid back even then (I wonder why). Tupac, however, was pretty forceful and had much stronger and forceful beats as well as lyrics; it’s evident who the star of this set was, even if he commands less of a presence.
The aforementioned set-list is lengthy and includes:
Tupac (feat. Outlawz)
1.) Ambitions as a Ridah
2.) So Many Tears
4.) Hit ‘Em Up
5.) Tattoo Tears
6.) All About You
7.) Never Call U B*tch Again
8.) Freek’n You (feat. K-Ci & JoJo)
9.) How Do You Want It (feat. K-Ci & JoJo)
Tha Dogg Pound (Snoop Dogg, Kurupt, Daz, and Nate Dogg)
10.) Murder Was The Case
11.) The Shiznit
12.) If We All Gonna F*ck
13.) Some Bomb Azz (P*ssy)
14.) Ain’t No Fun (If The Homies Can’t Have None) (feat. Nate Dogg)
15.) New York
16.) Big Pimpin’ (feat. Nate Dogg)
17.) Do What I Feel
18.) G’z And Hustlas
19.) Who Am I (What’s My Name)
20.) Me In Your World
21.) For My N*ggaz And B*tches
23.) Gin And Juice
Finale – Tupac, Snoop Dogg, Tha Dogg Pound, Outlawz, Nate Dogg, K-Ci and JoJo
24.) 2 Of Amerikaz Most Wanted
As you can tell by the song titles above the songs are potently peppered with quite unsavory lyrics; not that it really bothers me so much as it grows to be quite tiresome after awhile. Still the two-hour long concert did zip by pretty fast, even if a lot of it just seemed like it was a concert that was trying to murder my subwoofer. Recommended for fans, but if you’re like me and are irked by the rap genre as a whole then you aren’t missing much.
Eagle Rock Entertainment brings Tupac – Live at the House of Blues to Blu-ray in a standard Elite Blu-ray case. There is oddly no booklet inside, but the menu system for the disc lays out everything in a nice and tidy fashion. It’s a very basic looking disc, but considering its age I’m not surprised by how bare it looks.
I am, however, surprised by how nice the AVC encoded transfer looks. Presented in 1080i (as usual) the clarity is quite astonishing given its age; there is the usual amount of blurred imagery you get with a concert due to the lighting and fog on stage but the image detail here is quite nice. The camera angles do leave something to be desired as there are moments where half the stage is missing and it all just seems rather amateurish at times. Although I do have to remind myself that this is a fourteen year old concert so I suppose it’s not all bad.
Audio is given in three formulas: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, Dolby Digital 5.1, and LPCM 2.0. As expected they are in that order in terms of greatness as well, as the DTS-HD mix is really just as surprising as the video. The audio plays around with the surrounds quite a bit and that LFE output is just pounding away for nearly the entire concert. If you need something to test to see if your subwoofer works, I suppose this is a good tester.
Original promo videos
1.) California Love (Remix)
2.) To Live And Die In L.A.
3.) Hit ‘Em Up
4.) How Do You Want It (concert version)
5.) I Ain’t Mad At Cha
The bonus tracks are presented in 1080i as well and are a nice bonus for the Tupac fan, but I didn’t get anything out of watching them. This release is Recommended for fans, but something you can Skip if you don’t like the genre.
Tupac – Live at the House of Blues arrives on Blu-ray on May 25th.