Something of a stopgap release between `93s `Face the Heat' and `96s `Pure Instinct', `Live Bites' has a rather throwaway feel to it, from the mediocre packaging to the uninspired track listing. However, it's definitely a superior album to the two studio releases it that sandwich it and even though it's no match for the Scorpions' previous live outings, `Live Bites' does have plenty of fine moments.
Certainly, the first half of the album is very good indeed; `Tease Me, Please Me' and `No Pain, No Gain' are not the band's best efforts at heavy rock, but the live recording gives them a welcome burst of energy and they sit well among the older songs evident in the first half-hour. Of course, it's these older tracks that give `Live Bites' a touch of class - a fiery version of `In Trance' sounds fresh and exciting, `When the Smoke is Going Down' is performed beautifully and it's great to hear the excellent `Is There Anybody There' in a live setting. Even `Rhythm of Love' comes over very well, with a lot more punch than the studio version. However, after six tracks, things get decidedly patchy, with a smattering of clunky ballads (`Living for Tomorrow' is simply a bad song) filling the gaps between the muscular `Alien Nation' and the hard-hitting `Crazy World'. I can do with out that "song with the whistling", which closes out the live proceedings in wholly predictable and unspectacular style and the two execrable ballads tacked onto the end will definitely have the listener reaching for the stop button.
So, `Live Bites' is a record of two halves and on vinyl, side one would get worn out a lot quicker than side two. For the Scorpions fan, it's a good purchase because of the great versions of a few old classics; for the uninitiated, `World Wide Live' and `Tokyo Tapes' offer a far better introduction to the band.