Better Motörhead Than Dead: Live At Hammersmith


Steamhammer, 2007

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


After more than 30 years as a band, one could rightfully ask whether Motörhead – hell, whether any band – has anything left to say from a stage without becoming a “greatest hits” act?

On the occasion of their 30th anniversary, Lemmy Kilmister and crew hit the stage of the Hammersmith Odeon, one of their more familiar stomping grounds, and served up one of their most memorable shows. Fortunately for us, it was captured and released without any studio fixes or polish, and the end result, my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Better Motörhead Than Dead: Live At Hammersmith, proves to be quite possibly their best live disc in their career.

It is worth noting that this show is different than the one captured on the DVD Stage Fright, also culled from their 30th anniversary tour. It is also worth noting that, at least to this reviewer, the audio CD is far superior.

Is it possible for Lemmy, guitarist Phil Campbell and drummer Mikkey Dee to cover every album in Motörhead's career? Well, not unless you wanted to create a four-hour show, something Motörheadbangers would never have complained about. So, chances are some of your favorites didn't make the cut on this tour. But Motörhead indeed dug deep and included some wonderful surprises.

Look – “Love For Sale” from Snake Bite Love! “Dancing On Your Grave” and “I Got Mine” resurrected from the Another Perfect Day album! Even the then-current album Inferno is fairly represented, so the show proves to be a nice introduction to all things Motörhead.

What is amazing to me is that the show is presented even with the minor musical and lyrical flubs intact. How many other bands would have gone back and fixed the mistakes so that the performances sounded flawless? The fact is, the minor gaffes – and they are indeed minor – actually add to the performances, proving that it was the emotion and the vibe they got from the audience, rather than getting it note-for-note perfect, that made this particular Motörhead show special.

Don't get me wrong, No Sleep Till Hammersmith will always have a special spot in my CD collection. But Better Motörhead Than Dead is an amazing disc which captures a band quite possibly at the peak of their professional career, and finally beginning to be able to enjoy its fruits. This one, simply put, is a must-own.

Rating: A

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