Music: 4.5 stars; Compilation: 3.5 stars
I was a fan of the Cranberries during their first 3 albums, and my interest in them steadily declined after that. I must not have been the only one, as the band went on indefinite hiatus in 2002. Only just this year did the band get together again for a summer tour (more on that later). Meanwhile, I had no idea this live collection had been issued earlier this year, the first official live Cranberries album ever.
"Bualadh Bos: The Cranberries Live" (15 tracks; 59 min.) is a very curious, if intruiging, affair. 11 of the 15 tracks on here are live recordings fr0m 1994, with 3 coming from 1996 and 1 from 1998. As a result of this particular choice, 9 of the original 12 "Everybody Else Is Doing It" album's tracks appear on this collection, and that's not a bad thing per se. Check out the beautiful opener "Wanted" (one of my favorite Cranberries songs ever), or "Linger" in a just slightly different enough version that makes it worth checking out. Also recorded in 94 are 3 tracks from their "No Need to Argue" album including a sweet "Ode to my Family" and a guitar-crunching "Zombie". The 1996 recordings include The collection is rounded out with "Promises", recorded at the 1998 Olso Nobel Price Ceremonies (it would later appear on the 1999 "Bury the Hatchet" album. In all, this is quite the collection. First thing first: there is a lot of GREAT music on here. But as to why these particular tracks were chosen, or in this particular sequence, there is no rhyme or reason to it whatsoever. The best block of tracks on here are the first 7, which all come from the same set at the Record Plant in Los Angeles in 1994 when they were pretty much nobodies still. Why the rest of the tracks don't follow chronologically, I have no idea (in particular to see "Promises" stuck in between two 1994 recorded tracks at the very end, makes no sense at all).
I saw the Cranberries a number of times in the 94-99 period, and at that last show in 1999 in Indianapolis, the band looked spent to me and uninspired, contrary to those earlier shows. As mentioned the band has reunited and toured earlier this year. Already there is a live album out from that tour called "Live in Paris" (available here as an import). I really don't have much of a desire to see the band again, although if they showed up here in Cincinnati, I might be tempted. All that aside, despite its compilation flaws, "Bualadh Bos" is a worthwhile live album.