4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
A fairly unusual live album.,
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This review is from: Serious Hits Live (Audio CD)
As has already been noted, some of the tracks on "Serious Hits Live" are almost note for note replays of the studio versions, which is maybe a bit pointless, unless it was intended to show that the - then relatively new -digital music technology had made it possible to faithfully repro studio cuts at live concerts.
As a generalisation I steer clear of live albums, preferring the controlled and somewhat more disciplined studio versions of my favourite tracks. Live albums can be great for those who were there, but for the rest of us I find that often the artists do needlessly elongated, or uncoordinated and emasculated versions of their stuff. For me, that quickly gets very tedious. Then, usually there's the disruptive attempts by idiots and drunks in the audience to get "in on the act" by making silly noises during quiet parts of the music which get's really annoying on repeated listenings - and so on.
However, a few tracks on "Serious Hits Live" actually achieve that rare thing: They *improve* on the originals. I've only felt that a few times before with a live album (Paris by Supertramp was one such). On this album I'm thinking of "Do You Remember", which here features an almost acapella ending that I much prefer to the fade on the studio track, and also the hauntingly bleak version of "In the Air Tonight". They do "Another day in Paradise" pretty well too, and Phil performs his reworking of Carole Bayer-Seger and Toni Wine's "Groovy Kind of Love" most excellently.
On the downside, the performance of "Easy Lover" is flat and uninteresting compared to the studio cut and "Against All Odds" is not quite up to par. "You Can't Hurry Love" almost completely lacks the tight excitement of the studio version - though the audience do add some great handclaps at some points. For most of the rest of the tracks? Well apart from a little audience noise, you could be listening to the originals.
Should you buy this album? If your view of live albums is the same as mine, then yes you should. This album is mainly not heir to the usual problems of live albums. If you disagree with my view of live albums, then no - leave it alone.