Thursday, 27 January 2011

“Live And Dangerous” by THIN LIZZY. A Review Of Their 1978 Live Double-Album Now Reissued and Remastered Onto A 2CD/1DVD ‘Deluxe Edition’ In 2011.

"…Is There Any…Out There…Would Like A Little More Irish In Them…"

"Live And Dangerous" is the third of three 'Deluxe Edition' sets released Monday 24 January 2011 in the UK (8 February 2011 in the USA) - the other two are March 1976's "Jailbreak" and November 1976's "Johnny The Fox".

Universal/Mercury 5332073 breaks down as follows...

The 3-way foldout digipak is the same design as most of Universal's 2010 DE doubles - the outer plastic wrap has now been replaced with a 'Deluxe Edition' bandana around the base of the set and you have to split it to get the package open - bit fiddly, but it's easier to access the discs and the booklet. Unlike "Jailbreak" and "Johnny The Fox" which have packed 20-page booklets and original artwork - this booklet is very disappointing - as is the digipak itself. First up - the impact of the double-live album was made huge by its display of colour photos both on the inner gatefold and the two festooned inner sleeves - NONE of which appears here. Instead there are black and white shots of the boys on each flap with the space beneath the trays wasted on some barely visible 'Thin Lizzy' logo. It amounts to a huge amount of viewing space covered in a whole lot of nothing. The paltry 8-page CD booklet of the 1996 remaster has these photos - so why aren't they here - and enhanced? Also Universal could have used the original vinyl look on the CDs themselves - the UK 'Spaceship' Vertigo label design for Disc 1 with the USA Warner Brothers label design on Disc 2. I know it sounds like a bit of a whinge, but the effect of the original LPs is completely lost here.

Also - the booklet has only 16 pages (the other 2 have 20) with two of those are taken up with the original album credits. The MALCOME DOME essay on the LP lasts bits of 5 pages - much of which is taken with the tedious Tony Visconti versus The Band remembrances that have dogged the album for years - how much of it is 'actually' live... Overdubs to the tune of 75% are quoted by Visconti - disputed vigorously by Gorham and Lynott who say it was a 'lot less' - Downey say the drums weren't touched at all... (the truth probably lies somewhere in between - 25% maybe). Who cares if it was doctored after the event (most live albums were and are to this day), it stills rocks like Godzilla trampling through New York and roaring his head off. But it has to be said that after the excellence of the extras on the "Jailbreak" and "Johnny The Fox" Deluxe Editions (see separate reviews), this is a let down, when it wouldn't have taken a lot to make it a screaming success.

Disc 1 (36:16 minutes):
Tracks 1 to 8 are Side 1 and 2 of the double-album "Live And Dangerous", their 9th album released 2 June 1978 in the UK on Vertigo 6641 807 and July 1978 in the USA on Warner Brothers 2BS-3213 (it peaked at 2 in the UK and 84 in the USA). The booklet states it's been remastered by ANDY PEARCE and MATT WORTHAM in 2010 at Wired Masters Sound In London in the UK.
Disc 2 (51:15 minutes):
Tracks 1 to 9 are Side 3 and 4
Tracks 10 and 11 are 'Bonus Tracks' - L&D Outtakes - "Opium Trail" and "Bad Reputation"

Filmed live at The Rainbow Theatre in Finsbury Park in London in late March 1978, this was originally a video released at the time of the album - restored for DVD release in 2007. The 2007 issue had 2 discs (DVD and CD) - 'only' the DVD is presented here, but it does have it's full 11-track compliment (no new footage). Audio-wise there's disappointment also - BOTH the rear sleeve of the DE and the DVD itself list two audio settings - 2.0 and 5.1 Surround Sound, but on playing the DVD it offers only the 2.0 Digital Dolby playback - and I think it's only in Mono. The picture quality is hardly state-of-the-art either - very sloppy Seventies it has to be said, but the power of the band is still intact - especially the astonishing guitar solo Brian Robertson pulls out on "Still In Love With You" and the rocking last two tracks where they were arguably the best live band in the world bar none (note: the last track on the DVD is "Me And The Boys" which is NOT on the 2LP live set).

The remaster is great and only accentuates the power of them live - and by the time you get to the "Ba-Ba-Ba-Baby..." Phil versus The Audience singing exchanges on "Baby Drives Me Crazy" - resistance is futile. The two bonus tracks are good - especially "Opium Trail", but the sound on "Bad Reputation" is a bit corroded even if the performance is good. Is it better than the 1996 remaster - sounds a little meatier - but I'm more peeved with the overall presentation...

Ok - there are absolutely two ways of looking at this release - the lapsed buyer and newcomer will see this package, buy it and be sonically and visually pleased, but long-time fans who've bought the two superb Deluxe Editions of "Jailbreak" and "Johnny The Fox" will be wondering what the Hell happened here? Packaging that doesn't expand the original, only 2 extra tracks and a DVD we already own - fans are being asked to spend hard-earned cash on this. It seems odd to me that Lizzy's defining moment should be the one DE that slightly lets the side down. Surely - and backtrack to take a look at the playing times for both discs - surely there was more? The audio for "Me And The Boys" fro instance?? And for the DVD to not have a 5.1 mix or more importantly 'anything' new is a huge disappointment.

To sum up - a remaster of the album yes, but a mixed bag on the packaging front and a visual that many fans will already have (and in better form). Newcomers should just dive in and enjoy - but fans may want to wait until it drops into a sale in a few months...

Phil has his fist raised up on the front cover of "Live And Dangerous" - and on the 4-star presentation of this iconic and much loved double album - unfortunately I think I know why...

PS: see also my reviews for the 2010 Extended Remasters of "Thin Lizzy" (1971), "Shades Of A Blue Orphanage" (1972) and the 2CD Deluxe Editions of "Vagabonds Of The Western World" (1973), "Jailbreak" and "Johnny The Fox".

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Still have the original vinyl album and all the cd/DVD releases of this seminal album, but i'll buy it anyway. Philo is God!
Your reviews of the Lizzy remasters are informative and well written, good job!


Spines of Exceptional CD Remasters

Spines of Exceptional CD Remasters

INDEX - Artists, Albums, Record Labels, CD Remaster Engineers, Liner Notes Authors, Links etc