20th Century Masters - The Best Of Styx
By Allan Hirt

Basic Information
Catalog Number: B0002462-09
Label: A&M/UMe
US Release Date: April 20, 2004
Review Date: March 25, 2004
Notes: This review copy was not in final packaging, but is a pressed unlabelled DVD

Track Listing
1. Blue Collar Man (Long Nights)
2. The Best of Times
3. Too Much Time On My Hands
4. Boat on the River
5. Mr. Roboto

Ratings (on a scale of 1 to 5, 5 being the best)
Overall: 5
Track Listing: 4
Sonics: 5
Video Quality: 4

I. General Comments
This DVD is part of UMe's 20th Century Masters DVD series, which takes five of one band's videos and releases them at a budget price. The videos selected here are not necessarily the five I would have picked (although three are; "The Best of Times", "Too Much Time On My Hands", and "Mr. Roboto"). That said, I'm glad they put "Boat on the River" on here. It was recorded on their live stage as a promo video (clearly), and I think I have it on some Nth generation videotape copied from someone in Japan. It is clearly 1979/80 (nice sparkly shirt, Tommy). Very cool to watch. The "BOTR" video made the DVD all the more worth it to a collector like myself. "Blue Collar Man" is the live version from Caught In The Act, which as of the writing of this review, is slated to be released the same day as Come Sail Away: The Styx Anthology.

II. Video/Audio Quality
For videos, the youngest of which is 1984, they look pretty good.
There is no way I could have rated this one a 5 above; you're not going to get modern quality from this stuff. Overall, I didn't notice too much pixelization. "BCM", which has a lot of reds from being live, had the usual isses most DVDs have with reds - pixelization was a bit easier to tell. "TMTOMH", "TBOT", and "BCM" looked the best. "BOTR" looked remarkably good, and just suffered from some film spots occasionally (the white ones); the master used for "Boat on the River" was definitely kept in good shape (and makes you salivate at what else is in the vaults!). Sadly, the one video that probably looked the worst was "Mr. Roboto" and the color/pixelization was most apparent to me. The video quality never detracted from my enjoyment of watching.

The audio sounded great all around. No complaints.

III. Packaging and DVD Menus
My review copy did not have the external packaging (but was a pressed disc with no artwork), so I'll update this section when I see the final release.

Navigating the DVD is simple. From the main menu, you can either play all of the tracks or select the one you want. The center plays bits from each video in a revolving loop until you make a selection.

The menu for selecting the individual songs is also very simple. Each song has looping and moving clip for each video.

IV. Conclusion
Although this is not a full Styx video collection, there is no excuse for Styx fans not to pick this release up for a few reasons:
1. It will be priced cheaply (others in this series I think list at roughly $9.99, and can be had cheaper).
2. You cannot get these videos on DVD anywhere else.
3. If it sells well, maybe UMe will consider releasing a complete video collection for the band. There is certainly enough material to do so.

Styx fans celebrate ... the video vault is open, and let's hope it stays that way!