Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Reissue of the soul great's 1981 album, recorded in 1978. 75 minutes long, it features great versions of most of his best known hits, including 'Let's Stay Together' and 'L-O-V-E'. 14 tracks total. Also features the origin... more »
Reissue of the soul great's 1981 album, recorded in 1978. 75 minutes long, it features great versions of most of his best known hits, including 'Let's Stay Together' and 'L-O-V-E'. 14 tracks total. Also features the original cover art. 1999 release.
A wonderful vocal performance, all things considered
Ben Sullivan | Columbus, OH USA | 06/11/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Tokyo...Live!" is a consummate performance from an artist whose flawless execution is easy to take for granted. Your favorite handful of quotidian associations with Green's career all apply here: warm, effortless, effusive yet controlled, tasteful in ways we've long since forgone expecting from a vocalist, and, above all things and at all times, generous. This little-heard double-LP set touches upon a wide swath of Green's career up to 1978; the set opens with a string of hits ("Tired of Being Alone," "Let's Stay Together," "Belle") leading into a characteristically commanding mini-medley of two of the Righteous Brothers' best ("God Blessed Our Love," "Unchained Melody") to open the second half of the performance. As might be expected in `78, Green closes out his sets in Tokyo with some disco jams--"I Feel Good" clips along with the high-hat as Green's tenor bristles against the horn section.
While this is a recommended live document for anyone in the market for an account of Green's magnanimous on-stage personality, the set doesn't always hit its mark. The interaction between Green and the crowd is strained, and at worst, almost mawkish. Green evinces a strange habit of introducing a song stating "...and this is what it says"--he's most natural when singing the expected appreciative banter between songs. It also seems as if the crowd's applause is only being picked up by the stage microphones--the restraint is more polite than reverent (inappropriate!). There's a certain lack of spontaneity that doesn't vibe; one fan alone claps stridently when Green hits the first chorus of "God Blessed Our Love," accounting for the lion's share of Tokyo's enthusiasm that picked up on the boards that night. On a related note, Green's backup singers are undermixed, and the drummer's kit is miked cymbal and hi-hat heavy. The horns sit on top of the mix wonderfully, but I was anxious to hear one of the two guitarists cut through the brass and really contribute--call and response or some tasteful melodic leads. The mix might owe itself to the disco moment, but come on, Tokyo! This is Al Green in the flesh. Great live LPs bespeak of audience reception, and concert hall etiquette just ain't right for the Reverend.
Don't approach "Tokyo... Live!" with caution so much as DO consider what Green collection you're looking to build. I find myself accumulating armloads of studio LPs by force of Green's personality and charisma alone. If you find yourself with 76 minutes at a time to join this punctilious Japanese audience on occasion, you can't miss, but don't fool yourself into thinking this is heaven-sent. I, for one, need more than Green's steadfast brilliance to spur me to return to a live album when there are so many studio albums from this era to sink my teeth into."