Jeffery K. Matheus | Indianapolis, IN United States | 11/12/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have been following the music of Alan Parsons ever since his first album back the glorious 70's. Parsons has proven to be such a creative and consistant artist that I am still following his every move over 20 years later! For all those years throughout the 70's and 80's (even through his most commercially successful periods) Parsons always claimed that he was a studio artist, with no intentions of EVER playing live. However, all of that changed with the 1994 European release of "The Very Best Of Live". The album was then repackaged (with three additional studio tracks as a bonus)and released to the USA about a year later. Well, simply put, "The Very Best of Live" is just about everything that I hoped it would be! The performances of some of Parsons best rockers ("Standing On Higher Ground", "Your Gonna Get Your Fingers Burned") are emotionally-charged and energetic to the hilt! Just as his best known ballads ("Old and Wise", "Time") are given the full dreamy, atmospheric treatment of their original studio versions. The live band consists of many of Parsons usual studio cohorts (drummer Stuart Elliott, keyboardists Andrew Powell and Richard Cottle, and of course, colorful guitar-meister Ian Bairnson). On these live tracks all of the lead vocals are provided by Chris Thompson and Gary Howard. Both singers have good versitile pipes, and do a more than admirable job of covering the varied vocal styles of the many singers that have contibuted to Parsons repertoire over the years. Thompson's empassioned take on "Limelight" easily surpasses the studio version from 1985's "Stereotomy", just as the dual vocals on "Don't Answer Me" add an extra dimension to the song. Another treat for the Parsons faithful are the new studio tracks added onto the US release. "When" is a simple rocker sung by Thompson. "Take the Money and Run" is an excellent piece of modern art-rock, with some spacy keyboard textures, a dynamic arrangement that builds in intensity, and a rare vocal performance by drummer Stuart Elliott. Perhaps the best of the new studio tracks is "You're the Voice", an anthemic rocker with an outstanding lead vocal from Thompson. "You're the Voice" was to become one of the emotional highlights of Parsons 1995 tour in support of this album. I can still remember the whole audience joining in on that catchy chorus at Clowes Hall in Indianapolis...a great moment! All in all, if you are a hardcore fan of Alan Parsons, I can't imagine that you would be disappointed with this fine album. Perhaps the only disappointment for me was the complete lack of any songs from Parsons stellar 1992 disc "Try Anything Once", but the new studio tracks go a long way towards curbing that disappointment. (Parsons later said that record company politics prevented him from including some of the "Try" songs that were recorded during these live shows). Oh' well, "The Very Best of Live" is still a fine live document of a true art-rock genius!"
Alan Parsons: Live!
Alan Caylow | USA | 08/13/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"For the longest time, studio wizard Alan Parsons said that he would never tour because he didn't think the technology was there to bring his studio-perfected, progressive pop/rock to the live concert stage. Of course, this was back in the 70's & 80's, when Alan fronted his studio group, the Alan Parsons Project. But come 1993, with the release of Alan's first solo album, "Try Anything Once" (his first album without the "Project" name), and Alan finally felt that he had the necessary equipment to take his music out on the road. "The Very Best Live" documents Alan's very first live concert tour, recorded in Europe in 1994. In his live band are longtime Project veterans Ian Bairnson on guitar, Stuart Elliott on drums and Andrew Powell on keyboards, as well as singers Gary Howard and Chris Thompson of Manfred Mann. Parsons & company deliver brilliant live renditions of such Project favorites as "Eye In The Sky," "Psychobabble," "Time," "Prime Time" and "Don't Answer Me." The band also go back to the very first Project album, "Tales Of Mystery And Imagination," for a burnburning double-header of "A Dream Within A Dream" and "The Raven." There's even a marvelous melding of the Project instrumentals, "Lucifer" and "Mammagamma," called "Luciferama." Alan & the band sound SO good live in concert: crisp, lean, and sharp, with the fantastic musicianship that Parsons' albums are known for, and singers Howard & Thompson both do an excellent job at the microphone. Only gripe: no live version of "Games People Play"! Oh well, I guess there just wasn't room for it.And as an added bonus, "The Very Best Live" concludes with three exclusive studio tracks, and they're all winners: "When" and "You're The Voice," both sung by Thompson, and "Take The Money And Run," featuring drummer Stuart Elliott's debut lead vocal on a Parsons album, and he does a great job. Quite simply, "The Very Best Live" is a terrific document of Alan Parsons and his superb live band, plus you get a wonderful trio of studio songs, t'boot. As a longtime fan, I'm thrilled that Alan is performing his outstanding music live for his fans at long last. May he play gigs for many years to come!"
For completists only
Alan Caylow | 10/15/1999
(1 out of 5 stars)
"In a radio interview year ago, Alan Parsons was asked why they didn't tour. He said it's better to be asked why didn't you, than why DID you! This disc shows that he was RIGHT. While it's a good collection of songs, the performance is poor; Much of the interesting music seems to be from a tape and the vocals are not good. The singers who made those memorable (Eric W. and Lenny Z) are absent. I'd really recommend the albums in their original form. Otherwise, please trust me and buy the best-of's or Definitive Collection first."
Rafael Aycinena | Lexington, MA United States | 08/20/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is the first time I heard the Alan Parsons [Project] play live. The selection of songs is very good as well as the new voices. My favorite songs are Sirus, a very strong and powerful intro followed by Eye in the Sky and the beautiful combination of Lucifer and Mammagamma. I don't know how many times I have listened to this CD."