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Alchemy - An Apt Description,
This review is from: Alchemy - Dire Straits Live - Two CD Set (Audio CD)
Alchemy's meant to be turning lead into gold, right? But the tracks on here were already brilliant studio recordings. What we have here is gold being turned into platinum! I used to have this on crackly old vinyl (remember that?) and I was surprised at how the remastered CD really lets the detail come through.
The sixteen minute version of "Once Upon A Time In The West" sounds like a complete re-write of the reggae-tinged track off 'Communique'. It just takes on a life of its own. Similarly 'Solid Rock' really does sound like a big rock song and indicates where Dire Straits were to subsequently go. "Romeo and Juliet" doesn't really work that well, in my opinion (I've heard beter live versions) and "Expresso Love" just kind of comes and goes. "Two Young Lovers" recalls early Dire Straits boogie tracks and provides a good break to the brooding, serious tracks elsewhere on this set. "Going Home" is an obvious closer, but the best tracks here are the lengthy "Sultans of Swing", "Tunnel of Love" and "Telegraph Road". Thankfully, even though the tracks are over ten minutes long each, they avoid the unnecessary noodling splattered all over their second live album.
The album is apparently excerpts from a Dire Straits performance without any overdubs, which was pretty revolutionary at the time, because EVERYONE fixed live albums. It's a testament to the band that they could play that tight. Live albums are strange beasts, but along with Thin Lizzy's and Led Zeppelin's, this is a "must buy".