I listen with good headphones on, because I find it really helps hear the whole of everything going on in a record. And what slapped me in the face with this one was right off the top. A huge crowd yelling and then, quickly, once the band starts in earnest <poof> they’re magically gone! That’s quite a trick, making that many people disappear for a song’s duration! Move over, Copperfield. Look, if this is a live album, leave the crowd in there! It is what it is! I hate when they insult us by fixing things like that in the studio. Anyway. I know it happens all the time. Doesn’t mean I have to like it.
Be Quick Or Be Dead, otherwise, is a good version, though the warble is back. Ugh. From Here To Eternity shifts gears quite noticeably at first, but it soon speeds up. And the vocals go to the growl (thank goodness). And I was right (I called it) – that chorus is a great shout-along! Can I Play With Madness speeds up like hell at the chorus, and the crowd magically returns again! Sigh. Nice to hear him try speaking en francais, though. Does better than I could, off the top of my head and in front of thousands of French-speaking people. Wasting Love had to happen, I suppose. It’s saved by the guitar-work, otherwise I’d say skip this one.
Tail Gunner is a neat track to include. I like this song, and this is a good version. The Evil That Men Do takes an absolutely punishing pace. Damn! Nice to hear the crowd singing along, here. Afraid To Shoot Strangers has a funny intro tagged on to the end of Evil, the whole “war is bullshit” thing. Bumper sticker sentiment, while true in this case, doesn’t go too deep in this setting. The song itself, as we know from the album, plods itself into being before the guitars finally save the thing from boredom. I dunno, after a while I stopped listening to what he had to say. They edited the crowds’ “hey! hey! hey!” into (and then out of) the guitar line section. We’re past the 3:30 mark before it takes off. The guitar solo here is scorching. Woo! Still, it’s a long time to make people wait for what they know is coming.
Bring Your Daughter… To The Slaughter is pretty faithful to the album version, just straight-on going for it. Heaven Can Wait bops along at a great clip, and the crowd gets to shout along in the chorus bits again. Holy hell, you know what? This band is a great sum of its parts, sure. But, and it has been said before, it is all about these guitar solos! Studio and live, these sections KILL! The Clairvoyant was one I wanted to hear, and I was not disappointed. Probably the best track here. And it feeds nicely into Fear Of The Dark, which I can see never leaving their live set. Ever. It gives the crowd a soccer chant-style line to take with them, shouting into the night on their way home. Nice.
In all, not a bad live album, but not overwhelmingly great, either. The varying sound quality between recordings in different cities makes it uneven. In fact, stepping back and lookin gat the album as a whole, the production is not good at all. Also, as I stated, I really hate that crowd editing thing. But it’s a great selection of songs, and it’s fun to imagine being able to be there. And it was about time, after that many albums, that they put out a live record anyway.
And now for a real, informed review, here’s Mike: