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Live In Concert! - Greatest Hits and More

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Reseña de álbum

After keeping a low profile since the release of God Save the Smithereens in 1999, the Smithereens returned to record making with a vengeance in 2007, but not in a way likely to offer much encouragement to their fans; in the space of 18 months, they released an album of Beatles covers, a Christmas collection, and then this live disc in which the band takes on their best-known songs before an audience of loyal fans at the Court Tavern, a club they played many times in their early days in New Brunswick, NJ. None of this seems to bode well for the Smithereens' ability to generate new material or come up with fresh ideas, but if the band wanted to present a calling card for future touring, they could hardly have done a better job than with Live in Concert! Here, the Smithereens sound tough, full-bodied, and tight as the proverbial drum, and though they offer no new material here, the group plays their back catalog with a commendable degree of enthusiasm. Pat DiNizio's moody vocals are rich and well modulated, DiNizio and Jim Babjak's guitars roar and jangle gloriously, Severo Jornacion holds down the bottom end like a champ, and Dennis Diken stakes his claim as one of the most solid drummers in pop, laying down a furious backbeat and filling the spaces with skill and imagination. While the band sticks close to their original arrangements most of the time, when they do open up the tunes they find interesting things, and the extended soloing on "House We Used to Live In" in full flight recalls the Who on Live at Leeds. It's anyone's guess where the Smithereens are headed from here, but Live in Concert! confirms they can still cut the mustard on-stage, and it's a mighty impressive look back at the group's best stuff.

Reseñas de usuarios

The Live Album I've Waited 20 Years For!

Look, I'm hardly going to give you an objective opinion about The Smithereens. I've basically been listening to "Live In Concert" for almost twenty years now. I've seen this so many times, that I know the act...no, I could probably DO the act if I had the musical ability, and I've got the battle scars to prove it. And I've been waiting for most of those twenty years for a proper live album from The Smithereens. Sure, there were live EP's, radio shows and short budget label live comps...even a bootleg or two, but they never really captured what I'd been seeing for myself all those years. I like live albums. I know some people don't. Apart from the hits medleys, crowd singlongs, and that guy yelling "WOOOOO!" during the quiet parts (and I'm convinced it's the same guy on every live album!), they can be hit and miss. I've been disappointed by a few of them myself. The exciting live sound you imagine in your head often gives way to a disinterested, rushed runthrough by a tired artist. I assure you, that's not what you're going to hear on "Live In Concert." In fact, I hear at least three or four tracks on "Live In Concert" that I consider to be better than the versions on The Smithereens' original studio albums. Don't believe me? Cue up the new album's versions of "Top Of The Pops" or "Yesterday Girl" for starters, and tell me there isn't more life in them than they've had in years. Listen to the structured improvisation added to the close to 12 minute (!) "House We Used To Live In". Immediately, you'll notice the debt it owes to "Live At Leeds," and amazingly, it compares quite well. Here's the weird part: I was there. I stood in The Court Tavern for two of the four nights, watching this happen right in front of me. Some of those "WOOOOO's" are probably mine. Yet, when I heard the finished CD, I still couldn't believe how good those guys sounded. They play like they're hungry, because they still are. You know how it is...it sounded good at the show, but when you hear the tape later on, the imperfections show themselves. Not this time. It sounded great at The Court Tavern, it sounds great at home, and in my car. Kurt Reil has done a fantastic job of making The Smithereens sound like The Smithereens. The mix places everyone where you expect to see them on stage. Each player stands out, while jelling together as a whole. A couple of my favorite little moments from the album: Listen to Jim Babjak weave in a bit of McCartney's "Taxman" solo into the coda of "Only A Memory." Just before the last chorus of "Spellbound", a few audience members mimic a background scream from the studio version. To finish up, listen for a quick reprise of "Time And Time Again" tacked on to "Batman" to close the show with a final fanfare. Moments that happen all the time at Smithereens concerts that veterans treasure. If you've ever bought a Smithereens album, liked a song of their's that you heard on the radio, or seen them live, there's something here for you. If you've ever wondered why I can't, and won't, shut up about these guys, this album is my only defense. Buy it, crank it up, and figure it out.

One Of The “All-Time Greatest Live Rock Albums”!

In March of 1980, the Smithereens played their first live gig in Hillside, NJ but it took them until now to release this long overdue and definitive full-length live CD. It was well worth the wait! Nearly thirty years later, the band still sounds just as tight and ferociously energetic as ever on this CD of 18 “road tested” Smithereens gems. As anyone who has ever attended a Smithereens concert can tell you, you haven’t really heard the Smithereens if your only exposure to them has been from listening to their studio albums. They’re a whole other entity live as they somehow manage to transcend and even exceed the studio versions of their songs when performing them in concert. (“Time and Time Again” and “Top of the Pops” are just two examples of the many expanded songs here that somehow manage to rock even harder in their riff-friendly refurbished live versions.) The concert venue for this 2008 live recording is the aptly nostalgic “Court Tavern” in New Brunswick, NJ where the band developed their musical skills during their formative years. The various eras of the Smithereens’ career are all nicely represented on this CD. There's something old (greatest hits), something new (“Since You Went Away” and “Any Other Way” adapted from lead singer/songwriter Pat DiNizio’s recent solo album), something borrowed (a suitably Smithereen-ized cover version of Buddy Holly’s “Well…Alright”) and something "View" (a stellar "Room Without A View" from the “Smithereens 11” album with Dennis Diken’s propulsive drumming and the band’s hyperkinetic guitars driving the tune along to its dramatic conclusion). The Smithereens’ trademark brand of pulverizing (yet melodic) power-pop still continues to thrill in this live environment (with peak performances of “Blood And Roses”, “A Girl Like You”, “Only A Memory”, “Behind The Wall of Sleep”, “Drown In My Own Tears”, “Miles From Nowhere” and many more). And Pat DiNizio’s new songs “Since You Went Away” and “Any Other Way” can stand proudly alongside any of the other Smithereens classics in their vast catalog. Even “deep cuts” and audience favorites like the enticingly moody “Spellbound” and their “surf” version of “Batman” make their way onto this all-inclusive set list. At nearly 80 minutes long (roughly the length of what used to be called a “double LP” in the olden days), this live CD is literally “jam”-packed. In fact, the extended jam version of “House We Used To Live In” with its ever-building “guitar heaven” momentum perfectly exemplifies what live rock albums are supposed to strive for but that very few of them are ever able to accomplish this well. Midway through the song, Pat DiNizio’s memorable pitch-black vocals vacate the premises in order to make way for the free-wheeling solos soon to follow. Lead guitarist Jim Babjak expertly tosses-off numerous blistering power chords with DiNizio adding a simmering harmonica solo and more guitar crunch to the proceedings. Severo “The Thrilla” thunders along on bass while Dennis Diken celebrates this homecoming bash by bashing away on the drums like a “Live at Leeds” era Keith Moon. I might even be bold enough to suggest that comparisons of the band’s performance on this CD with the Who’s legendary “Live at Leeds” album are appropriate and well-deserved. Co-producer Kurt (“The Gripweeds”) Reil’s dependably dynamic recording and mix (as with “Meet the Smithereens”, “Christmas With The Smithereens” and Pat DiNizio’s recent self-titled solo album) is sonically pleasing without ever seeming overly polished and without losing any of the raw energy of a typical Smithereens live concert. There is hardly any stage patter included on this CD and no prolonged audience sing-along choruses that can tend to become increasingly tiresome upon repeated plays. All of this only serves to further transform this incredibly exhilarating CD into a “full speed ahead” live album masterpiece that you’ll invariably feel the need to play loud…and to play often!

AWESOME!

This selection of songs captures the Smithereens at their FINEST and has become my new favorite Smithereens CD!

Biografía

Se formó en: 1980 en Carteret, NJ

Género: Rock

Años de actividad: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Dressed in leather, brandishing heavy guitars, and exhibiting an unabashed fetish for British Invasion pop, the Smithereens were an anomaly in the American college rock scene of the late '80s. Lead singer/songwriter/guitarist Pat DiNizio stood out not only with his strange beatnik goatee, but also because his catchy hooks were haunting, not punchy, and because his lyrics were morose. As time wore on, the group became more straightforward, turning into an excellent bar band, one that attacked pop...
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