Long-overdue live album from band of same name
Twenty years into their career, aging alt-rock band Live released
an eponymous live album last November that, given their name and mid-'90s
heyday, was long past due. As drummer Chad Taylor put it, Paradiso
represents "15 years of heartfelt love and dedication to our
With all the enthused, unsolicited audience participation through
this career-spanning, 14-song set, you can definitely feel the love
that Taylor described. But it's a dedication that belongs only to
a fan base that's a fraction of what it once was. Hence, while Paradiso
serves a good oeuvre for the Live initiate, it's an album that only
followers will really notice or appreciate.
Live At The Paradiso is culled from two shows that the band
recorded last summer in Amsterdam. Although the DVD performance is
slightly longer, the CD version is comprised of 16 tracks, the latter
two of which are new studio cuts. As for the performance, Live makes
a pretty standard run-through of their hits and singles, but the band
still sounds tight and plays with as much vivacity as they ever did.
And while the set list meanders between material new and old, their
biggest hits from 1994's multi-platinum breakthrough Throwing Copper
remain the standouts, and still hold up years later. Newer, lesser-known
singles like "The River" and "Heaven" are strategically
sandwiched in the set list, but don't detract much despite not holding
as much water as their predecessors. The only real pleasant surprise
here is the rocked-out rendition of Johnny Cash's "I Walk
The Line", complete with Cash-like baritone.
The two new studio cuts (the harmonica-squealing "Purifier"
and the end-is-nigh ballad "Forever") are dismissible numbers
that represent Live's spiritual U-turn taken six years ago during
lead singer Ed Kowalczyk's religious transformation. The songwriting
is bland and the music tame; just further evidence that Live is not
the force it once was.
To this end, Paradiso serves as a snapshot of where Live is
in the twilight of their career. In their prime they were playing
large arenas and festivals; now it's rounds on the small-theater circuit.
But in this day and age, they're just happy to keep their day jobs.
Download: "I Walk The Line", "I Alone",
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