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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars26
4.4 out of 5 stars
Format: Audio CD|Change
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on 31 March 2001
It amazes me that more people haven't discovered the absolute brilliance of this album.
Firstly, Portishead take the best tracks from their first two landmark recordings and improve upon all of them. In every area you hear virtuoso performances. The vocals go to places you've never heard before, the orchestration is perfection and every single instrument is both played with both technical perfection and masses of passion.
Secondly it is one of the finest productions you will ever hear. Every single sound from that day in NYC is captured with breathtaking fidelity and and delivered in a perfect mix. I've worked in some of the best studios around and know what I'm listening to. Records doesn't sound any better than this.
If you like Portishead then buy this album. If you haven't heard them before then buy this album. Roseland NYC Live was my introduction to the band and it took my breath away. The studio recordings, as groundbreaking and influential as they were, can not compete with the depth and emotion of this live album. A pinnacle of music in the nineties.
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on 8 May 2008
Other reviewers have said it all - I just want to clarify a couple of things
1) A couple of tracks here are not the same performances as on the companion video. One of them, Roads, was recorded at a festival (and certainly sounds like it!). The other - well, read on...
2) None of the tracks on this album deserve to be damned with the faint praise of "faithful reproduction of the originals". For one thing, they're all loud and vivid-sounding, with a fine balance of ambience and clarity (and this makes a particular difference to the second-album material - Cowboys is a speaker-blaster!). Elsewhere, Mysterons and Strangers have extended codas; Half Day Closing (with all its vocal processing intact) ends with a strange `Liberty Bell'-like sample (!); most importantly, Sour Times is not the standard arrangement but rather the slowed-down `rock' version that's been such a highlight of so many gigs.
The only reason I've given it four stars is that it should have been a double disc with alternate versions of the four video-only songs (and how about an uncut version of Western Eyes - the live version was really heavy (!), far superior to the studio take).
But don't overlook it because of that - after all, you're unlikely to find a bootleg that sounds this good.
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on 28 January 2007
Its been a long time since the last time I heard something new and loved it. In this case however it wasnt really new, the concert was 9 nine years ago. But it is something new for me, and I'm sure was/will be for many others as well.

I'm coming from a rock/metal background, but also listen to blues and jazz and bands like Pink Floyd and, more the more recent Radiohead and Muse. THANKFULY I did not see the label 'trip-hop' next to Portishead's name when I first listened to this album. Had I seen such a label I probably wouldn't even bother to listen to it. So, don't let the label trick you. It's never a good thing.
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on 7 May 2011
I own the Roseland CD - In my opinion, this is one of the best live recordings ever made - but the difference between the vinyl and the CD, is substantial! If you own a relatively good turntable, this vinyl will blow your wig off. The textures are amazing and the deepness in the bass and sound is flawless. If you are thinking about it, don't. This album is a must have!
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Most live albums pretty much lose the feel of the original studio albums -- sometimes they sound tinny and distant. No such sound here. "Live: Roseland NYC" has not only an orchestra, but the jazzy trip-hop of Portishead's two albums, and the beautiful voice of Beth Gibbons. No wonder it was so good.

Portishead hit the big time with their sophomore album "Dummy," an exquisite blend of smoky jazz and subtle trip-hop. Which, admittedly, sounds like the wrong kind of music to play live, but it works wonderfully here. Portishead includes an almost equal mix of songs from their two albums -- six from "Portishead," five from "Dummy."

And surprisingly, the songs sound like simple redos of the mysterious, melancholy songs from Portishead's too-short career, not stage banter and stripped-down versions of lush songs. It's more than a little unusual to have a band's third album be a live one, but in this case it seems perfectly acceptable.

Backed by an entire orchestra, horns and some wicked turntables, the band plays remarkable versions of their songs. "All Mine" is even more beautiful and haunting than in the album, and "Sour Times" is even more breathtaking than it was originally. Most of the others are faithful renditions, given a powerful new twist with the strings and horns -- only a couple feel less cohesive in a live setting.

Frontwoman Beth Gibbons is known as having a lovely pop voice, and she is in excellent form here. A lot of singers are exposed in live performances as having less-than-stellar vocals, but Gibbons' performance demonstrates what a beautiful voice she has.

"Live: Roseland NYC" is a demonstration of what a good live album should be, showcasing one of trip-hop's best bands. Definitely worth checking out, both as as an accompaniment to Portishead's studio albums, and as a good listen itself.
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on 31 August 2013
Sometimes you have to make quite a few sonic compromises when you search for the ambience of a live performance, but this sounds spacious, tight and atmospheric.
If you like Portishead anyway, in many ways this is even more listenable than their studio recordings. You know you want one.
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on 20 September 2004
One of the best live recordings I have ever heard, a perfect recording. The music is enchanting and Beth's vocals stir the listeners emotions like few others can.
If you don't own this album, you should buy it right now.
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on 22 September 2000
For me, this is one of the better live albums I've heard. In the same way Johnny Cash managed it At Folsom Prison, Portishead connect with their audience. As the first notes of Roads ring out, an ecstatic audience is taken to new heights - the power of music is so masterfully shared with us here. In her own way, the emotion the lead singer (Beth Gibbons) conveys in Mysterons and Roads I would put only a few steps down from king Otis Redding. Supporting the honest vocals, the combination of the creepy modern instruments works excellently with the sheer power of emotion generated by an orchestra. Depressingly good for their competitors, and good but a tad depressing for their listeners.
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on 8 July 2012
portishead are one of the few bands that give me the shivers. in a good way, obviously.
the production in this album is superb. the slight reworking of the, already classic, songs is subtle but very effective.
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on 1 December 2012
liking this @ the time for their distinctive sound, I struggled with better known studio albums
preferring instead natural live recording at a now defunct venue a fitting tribute to this fine band
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