"Royal Albert Hall October 10 1997 Live"
Well, the title should say it all. I donít think that Iím alone in
thinking that a live album is an unlikely choice from a band like
Spiritualized, but here is it, or rather, here they are: two discs of
the bandís performance at Royal Albert Hall from a couple years ago.
If youíre unfamiliar with Spiritualized, I suggest you run out right
now and buy "Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space," quite
possibly the best album of 1997. In a nutshell, the band plays a
little bit of everything. Think Sonic Youthís "Washing Machine" with
strings and horns. This eclectic attitude can be felt on the live
album as well.
Disc One kicks off with a stirring rendition of "Oh Happy Day" which
evolves (or devolves, depending on your opinion) into a symphony of
noise. The selections that follow include older songs like "Shine a
Light" and an incredible version of "Home of the Brave." The second
disc, however, is where the band truly shines. Mainly showcasing about
half of the songs from Ladies and Gentlemen, this half contains
possibly the albumís most amazing moment, a this-might-make-you-cry,
string-laced version of "Broken Heart." The live version of "I Think
Iím in Love" is also very cool, heavily incorporating the use of backup
singers and horn section. Another highlight of this disc is (for me) a
somewhat unexpected performance of the sixteen minute-plus closer to
"Ladies and Gentlemen," "Cop Shoot CopÖ." The chaos ends with a second performance of "Oh Happy Day" closing off the album, and again
demonstrating the variety shown on this album.
Live albums are usually looked upon as collectorís items, but this one
goes far beyond that generalization. Pick it up if youíre in the mood
for something experimental. However, if this is the first
Spiritualized album you buy, be warned: it may take a few listens to
appreciate it completely.
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