I've been a fan of Cast pretty much since the days of 'Sandstorm' being released way back in the mid Nineties. Almost 20 years ago.
Three amazing albums, one passable album (Beetroot) splitting up and reforming again and releasing , slightly disappointing IMHO "Troubled Times" and I'm still a fan.
So as I spent the majority of last year unemployed any gig attendance was out the question. Troubled times indeed for me.
Buying this album would therefore be the next best thing.
It was a bargain at £6.00 for a full Cast concert. I know these lads are capable of some great shows and I was hoping this was one.
As far as live albums goes, the band or whoever in charge has a choice. They can make a live album one of several ways:
1) They can record one show warts and all and give it to their fans straight.
2) They can cobble together an album from various shows but again with warts and all.
3) They can do a recording but 'polish' it up in the studio, covering up mistakes, and remixing with the aim of providing a better listening experience.
4) They can cheat by splicing parts of individual tracks together giving a totally unrealistic creation. Rainbow "On Stage", "Deep Purple-Made In Europe" and "Queen-Live Killers" are shameful examples of this.
Cast have to their credit have decided to give us the first choice. This album has an energy and a rawness only available via a bootleg or personal attendance. Performed at the The Shepherds Bush Empire on 6/4/12 this album aims to capture the gig in full. And in this part the album excels. Any Cast fan should enjoy this aspect.
However the risk is that if the performance is variable then thats what the listener gets. And this fits into that category. The majority of the time John and the lads do a good job. Some highlights include "Fine Time", "Live The Dream" and "Alright". Some great passion here.
Sadly there are some warts. John sounds tired on several occasions,the sound is all over the place on others and sadly both factors come together at least twice. Two of Cast's outstanding tracks "Free Me" and "Sandstorm" are particularly poor here. Which is a real big shame.
However, nobody can accuse Cast of cheating here. I think this release is 100% live.
Another moan,why no booklet?
This release is devoid of anything but the most basic of information. No pics, virtually no credits and no information. Maybe the band wanted us to access their website and make our own?
So in its favour the album is an honest recording, it captures the excitement and raw energy of a Cast gig and it certainly represents value for money. But this has to be balanced out with some off-sound quality and also variable performance as mentioned.
I was going to give it two stars then changed my mind with the three gems " Fine Time", "Live the Dream" and "Alright". So it got three stars.
A gig where everything had clicked would have probably got a Five Star rating. The potential was certainly there but it didn't quite come off.
Still it has its merits and is worth a listen for casual and more serious Cast fans.
Recorded live at Shepherds Bush Empire in London on the 6 April 2012, 'The Troubled Times Tour' should please any diehard Cast fan. Most of the songs that were played are tracks from their most recent album to date 'Troubled Times' (and if you haven't got a copy yet, I recommend that you buy one today), as well as evergreen Britpop classics like 'Walk Away' and 'Guiding Star'. As much as I still enjoy the latter, I actually regard 'Troubled Times' as one of the best albums they have recorded, with catchy and emotional tracks like 'Not Afraid of the World' and 'Bad Waters' make me hope for another one like it.
The album captures the concert is full, raw and full of energy. When playing it, it is almost like being part of the audience. I rarely seem to enjoy a live album as much if it has been polished up or shortened down, but this thankfully hasn't been the case here.
Perhaps this will be of interest to long term fans Cast only, sort of like a present from the band to their followers, but if you have only listened to their hit singles in the the past - I think you'll enjoy hearing the old stuff again, and discover some excellent new material.
There are some live albums that leave you very disappointed - this is not one of them. The sound quality is excellent and the performances are top drawer. Power's voice sounds great but what struck me more than anything was how well the band plays together. The lead guitar is a revelation, it is much more to the fore than on studio recordings and it really works. Many of the hits are here but the set focusses heavily on the then new album - but is none the poorer for this. I actually prefer the live versions of the newer songs than on the official release, they work better with more room to expand. No crowd interruption though the album definitely captures a live feel. Power adds a few comments between songs, and evrything adds up to a great double album. I wasn't sure what to expect, but it exceeded all my hopes, it's one of the best live albums I've heard, a real find. I'm seeing them for the first time in a few weeks and this live album has got me very excited.
Disappointed. Cast are fantastic live..this CD doesn't do them any favours at all. Can hardly hear the backing vocals which is such a big part of the band.Heard better bootlegs...which I guess this is really...Compared to the Liverpool CD & DVD I bought on Amazon last year which is excellent....this is utter crap.