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4.2 out of 5 stars20
4.2 out of 5 stars
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
The title of the review alludes not only to the recording but Ron Mael flinging his shirt off at the end of the show.

I took my 12 year old daughter to see this show at the Barbican in 2012 and it was an amazing experience. We both loved it.

What is so very clever is that there are no drums to keep time, no bass guitar line to follow - it is simply Russell finding the right notes and following the cues in his head, whilst Ron accompanies on keyboards. Despite this perceived handicap, there are no timing issues and no bum notes (either vocally or instrumentally) and the result is a joy.

It is fascinating to hear songs old and new stripped down like this. It is an album that needs to be listened to and worked at - but only when you take the time to really listen to it does one realise how damned clever these guys are and what a feat this show was/is.

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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 5 April 2013
Last year I was lucky enough to see Sparks live in Manchester on the tour documented by this album, recorded at various shows around Europe. One of the highlights of a year spent witnessing a lot of live music. This album is a great documentation of a great night which saw the Maels deconstructing their back catalogue and presenting it with keyboard and voice alone. I was unsure how this would work but work it did.
Russell's voice astonished with it's power and all in all it was a night of great songs and some interesting dance routines by both Mael brothers.
Highlights for me were the excerpts from their new opera' "The Seduction Of Ingmar Bergman" as well as a great version of lesser known 80's track "Sherlock Holmes" which easily trounces the original.
Would be nice to have some indication in the packaging where each of the tracks was recorded but it was a nice surprise as the second cd ended and Russell shouted "Thank You Manchester". A great reminder of a special night.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 18 July 2013
Their 1st live album sees Ron & Russell giving a new twist to their own songs. "Plagiarism" I hear you cry, no, unlike the 1997 release, where they re-recorded their own tracks, THOM has the classics "This Town", "Beat the Clock" & "Good Morning" stripped bare. As the title suggests, this is the lads & no-one else - and boy, does it work! What makes it one for the purists is their choice of songs - obscure little numbers such as "Sherlock Holmes", "Under The Table With Her" & "Singing In The Shower" blend perfectly with favourites like "Dick Around" & "Never Turn Your Back.." alongside the more recent "Rhythm Thief" & "Metaphor". This collection is an absolute 'must have' for Sparks fans & a 'must listen to' for the enthusiast.
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on 15 September 2013
Live albums are always a bit tricky: the sound is rarely as good as a studio album, and you miss the effect of actually being there. This one makes me very sad to have missed the concerts.

Mind you, I have seen them live several times before, including performing all their albums during their wonderful "Sparks Spectacular" back in 2008. Because this is one for at least some of the fans - not everyone, as you can see - who can appreciate some of the Maels' extensive and highly varied catalogue being done very differently. Not all of it works, and there's nothing here that will become the definitive version of the song in the way that some of the reworkings of their Plagiarism album improve on the originals. (Having said that, I do particularly like "The No 1 Song in Heaven" and "Beat the Clock" here, where Ron stops pretending he has a piano and uses the synth as a synth.)

If you don't already have at least a couple of Sparks albums and didn't see this live, then I don't think this is going to be for you. Get one of the 'greatest hits' packages or Plagiarism album, and at least one of the later albums. But if you know at least half the songs, give it a go. It's worth it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 18 May 2014
I saw sparks in London and Brighton on this Tour.They were both brilliant nights.I was not sure how this would sound on cd as live albums are mostly dreadful but i loved it apart from one thing and that is the very annoying audiance hand clapping during the songs.i do wish people would stop doing this at gigs.if they are not clapping then they are filming which should also stop.Rant over
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on 8 January 2014
I went to see the boys on their tour of the same name last year. It was at the Manchester gig, which is the track that closes the album, so somewhere, my cheering and applause is on the disc.

What can I say - if you're a Sparks fan, then you'll buy the record anyway. If you're not then this isn't probably the best introduction to their genius. As it says on the tin, this is just 2 hands (Ron on his 'Ronald' keyboard) and one mouth (Russel's age-defying vocals) and nothing else.

For two guys approaching their 70's, this is a testament to how good they still are though.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 17 May 2013
I write this as a Sparks fan for many years. Ron and Russel excel on this live double album of their recent tour.
Don't expect lavish production though as this is bare and stripped down to the bone just 2 men and a keyboard. However it is all the better for this giving the songs old and new a fresh energy and showing the sheer genius of the original compositions.

The songs are varied theatrical and at times best described as the sound you would imagine produced if Gilbert & Sullivan were composing opera whilst under the influence, absolutely mad brilliance.

Sparks fans will love it and I had the CD on repeat in the car over and over again, it's strangely addictive.

For those not familiar with Sparks keep an open mind and give it a listen you wont believe it but you may end up loving it!
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on 16 February 2015
I do like Sparks - I do like Sparks - I do like Sparks - I don't really like this but it is original and well done chaps for still experimenting at your age. Must have been a cheap tour to stage?
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on 31 July 2013
Great CD. Went to the show and it reflects it very well.

A must for any sparks fans especially if you attended one of the concerts
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on 26 September 2013
off to seee them live now, as a consequesne of listening to this and then feeling I would treat my wife.
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