The Very Best Live

Alan Parsons

RCA Victor, 1995

REVIEW BY: Duke Egbert


Military intelligence. Jumbo shrimp. Alan Parsons live.

When I was a freshman in college, we did a mock promo for the campus radio station (which was a carrier wave signal that no one could pick up) for an Alan Parsons Project concert. The tagline was "The band you've never seen, by the station you can't hear." Needless to say, our station advisor (who had very little sense of humor anyway) didn't find it funny.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Irrelevant? Perhaps. But when a band who didn't tour through eleven years of recording as "The Alan Parsons Project" decides to start touring and release a live album, it's kinda weird. I remember my jaw hitting the floor when I found The Very Best Live in the record store, and I thought someone was playing a joke. (That, or it was sixty minutes of silence in Dolby Surround-Sound.)

Turned out to be neither; instead, it was a live album recorded during a 1994 tour of Europe by three of the four key members of the Project (Alan, guitarist Ian Bairnson, and drummer Stuart Elliot) along with a few other folks who had come along for the ride. It also turned out to be pretty darn fine stuff.

Longtime readers of the DV will know that I hate most live albums. Live albums are almost invariably recorded badly and are fillers designed to pad a band's catalog. Not so TVBL. In some cases ("You're Gonna Get Your Fingers Burned," "Psychobabble") the live version is actually better than the original. Add to that a funky blend of two instrumentals, Eve's "Lucifer" and Eye In The Sky's "Mammagamma," and you have one heck of a live CD.

Likewise, bonus tracks are often throwaways that should have stayed in someone's closet. On TVBL, the bonus tracks range from good (a cover of Chris Thompson's "You're The Voice") to really good (a rocking, brass-laden "When") to what may be the best damn thing these musicians ever did ("Take The Money And Run" -- and no, it's not the moldy, hackneyed, desperately overplayed Steve Miller song). If I had lots of money, I would send "Take The Money And Run" to every record company executive employed in 1995 with a note that said "Idiot."

In summary, unlike your normal live CD, The Very Best Live is indeed that. Check it out.

Rating: A-

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