|3. A Thousand Trees|
|5. Mr. Writer|
|8. Maybe Tomorrow|
|9. The Bartender And The Thief|
|10. Local Boy In The Photograph|
|1. Hurry Up And Wait|
|2. Madame Helga|
|3. Vegas Two Times|
|4. Carrot Cake And Wine|
|5. I'm Alright (You Gotta Go There To Come Back)|
|7. Too Many Sandwiches|
|9. Just Looking|
Although live tracks have been released as B-sides on their singles, this album gives you the whole Stereophonics concert experience, and the band are on form.
After getting a preview listen of the album thanks to a friend in the business, I can tell you that I have never heard the band so energeticised or talkative. The album doesn't cut out the band's banter with the crowd, and Kelly Jones reveals himself to be a funny guy. And I'll be first in line to buy a copy when it's released.
The band are on fire, revelling in their latest hits like Superman, and Pedalpusher, while waiting till the fianle to show off their greatest work, Dakota.
But the old stuff also gets equal billing here, with Bartender and the Thief and A Thousand Trees really rocking the house. Although disc two does slow the tempo down a bit with I'm Alright, and a sneak preview of their new work in the form of Jayne.
This two disc set is sublime, and endlessly listenable. Without a doubt, Stereophonics have hit their stride in the last year, and really are the best thing in music at the moment.
A live performance is always an interesting and engaging experience, the familiar becomes unfamiliar, the sound takes on a very different form and the CD you have in your car just doesn't do what you just heard justice.
Of course this only counts if the band are great live, and it's safe to say Stereophonics are one of the best live acts in the business. They are a band with experience on the road, touring from the early stages of their career and not stopping since, they have the talent to produce immense performances in front of the biggest, and smallest of crowds, without ever disappointing.
I have had the fortune of seeing each of the bands albums toured and always wanted the live experience repeated, that feeling, that sound and those songs, so I could re-live it over and over. It has been a long time coming, the rumour mill started back in 2001 after the release of JEEP, now it's here, the 'Live' album.
It is always difficult to capture the essence of a live performance, it never lives up to the memory, but I'm glad to say Live from Dakota is a flawless representation of the Stereophonics live experience. Noise spills out in raptures, drums cascade out of the speakers and Kelly Jones' vocals resonate in the ear drums more than ever, close your eyes and you're in the crowd.
From the opening track Superman, taken from the bands return to form album Language. Sex. Violence. Other? the album cracks on at a steady pace covering the wide range of material written by front man Kelly Jones back in 97 up to the present day, ending on the superb single Dakota.
Along with recent releases sounding better than the album ever could, there is 'meat and two veg' rock and roll served up in the form of early classics, Thousand Trees, Local Boy and B-Side, Carrot Cake and Wine, and boy does it taste good. Stereophonics have faltered with previous releases, JEEP and You Gotta Go There to Come Back, but track choices from both albums sit perfectly in the repertoire showcased on this album.
The timing of this album is perfect, Kelly Jones has finally harnessed his voice to his full potential and his guitarmanship is never short of impressive, not sharp as a tack, but loose and rocking. The installation of Javier Weyler on drums adds potency and a new found energy, with Richard Jones on bass providing cool only bass players can.
Live From Dakota succeeds in providing fans with a live experience that you only get from a gig, this album is less a prequel to a best of, and more a snapshot of a band at their best. If you are looking to buy an album, forget the latest indie band because you can't do better than this.
Stereophonics have always sounded at their best live, with stripped down and dirty guitars, drums and a bass, and not forgetting Jones' roaring vocals, they are a rock and roll band, and rock and roll is best served live.
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