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Live Under the Red Moon

The Call

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Album Review

The Call's performance on Live Under the Red Moon can't be faulted. Vocalist Michael Been sings with the explosive passion Call fans are accustomed to, and the band sounds just as big outside of the studio. Then why is Live Under the Red Moon so unsatisfying? A rather lackluster set list is the culprit. With an epic title suspiciously like Under a Blood Red Sky, a classic live record from their heroes, U2, Live Under the Red Moon opens rather weakly with "Floating Back," certainly not one of the Call's high points. Unfortunately, the group meanders further with the generic swamp rock of "A Swim in the Ocean." Where are "The Walls Came Down" and "Everywhere I Go," two of the band's biggest — and best — alternative radio hits of the '80s? The exclusion of "The Walls Came Down" might have to do with the rights belonging to Mercury Records, but the absence of "Everywhere I Go," a pulse-pounding anthem with earth-shaking basslines, makes the album feel empty. "I Don't Wanna" is reminiscent of Joy Division's "Love Will Tear Us Apart" with its heartbroken keyboards and Been's anguished vocals; it's a powerful track that could've been the group's "With or Without You." It's the first song on the CD that shows why many critics consider the Call to be one of the most shamefully overlooked bands of the '80s. Sadly, six of the tracks were originally on 1990's disappointing Red Moon. Forgettable material can't be elevated by playing it live. Luckily, the group did choose to include "Even Now," a deeply moving song about unrequited love from 1986's superb Reconciled. Been doesn't seem as despondent as he did on the Reconciled version; however, Tom Ferrier's cathartic guitar solo still resonates.

Biography

Formed: 1980 in San Francisco, CA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

Despite great critical acclaim due to their literate, passionate rock, praise from some well-respected contemporaries, and a string of strong releases, the San Francisco band the Call never quite escaped cult status. The predicted breakthrough to a wider audience never materialized. Formed in the San Francisco area in 1980, the quartet, led by vocalist/guitarist Michael Been, released their self-titled debut in 1982 and earned positive reviews. The following year, the band issued Modern Romans and...
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Live Under the Red Moon, The Call
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