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2016:

 

 Barenaked Ladies – BNL Rocks Red Rocks

Barenaked LadiesBNL Rocks Red Rocks

In June 2015, the Ontario band was performing on the stage of the legendary Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado. It is this unique recording that is presented on this 60-minute CD. We can hear some recent songs, but especially classics like "The Old Apartment", "Brian Wilson", "One Week" and "If I Had $1,000,000". We can also hear their version of Men At Work’s "Who Can It Be Now". The sound quality is particularly exceptional and the band appears at its best. Here is a good way to rediscover this great Canadian band. (July 2016)

Raisin' / Warner

½

   

 Eric Clapton – Live in San Diego (with Special Guest JJ Cale) (2 CD)

Eric Clapton Live in San Diego (with Special Guest JJ Cale) (2 CD)

Eric Clapton and JJ Cale collaborated for the album The Road to Escondido in 2006, but never promoted it on stage since Cale had an aversion about touring. He did appear on stage for one concert only for five songs on March 15, 2007 at iPayOne Center in San Diego. These five tracks form the heart of this double live album, released three years after the death of Cale. The first CD starts with no less than five Derek & the Dominos songs, including "Little Wing", the Jimi Hendrix cover. Subsequently, Cale got on stage with "Anyway the Wind Blows" and "After Midnight". Their collaboration of five tracks is completed at the beginning of the second CD with the classic "Cocaine". You can feel the joy that have had the two friends getting back together to play music. After getting alone with his musicians for pure blues, Clapton concluded the set of nearly two hours with the inevitable "Wonderful Tonight", "Layla" and "Crossroads". Less focused on his hits than some other of his live releases, Live in San Diego offers a rather unique concert where the guitar and friendship occupy the center of attention. A great tribute to the late JJ Cale! (October 2016)

Reprise / Warner

½

   

 Eric Clapton and Guests – Crossroads Revisited: Selections from the Crossroads Guitar Festivals (3 CD)

Eric Clapton and Guests – Crossroads Revisited: Selections from the Crossroads Guitar Festivals (3 CD)

Founded in 1999 by Eric Clapton, the Crossroads Guitar Festival aims to support the Crossroads Centre, a rehab centre in Antigua. Several editions of the festival have appeared on CD and DVD over the years and this triple album is a compilation of the best of these festivals. Clapton is accompanied by the greatest blues musicians such as Buddy Guy, B.B. King, Jimmie Vaughan, Jeff Beck, Joe Walsh, Robert Cray, Albert Lee, John Mayer and Gary Clark Jr. There are also forays into rock and country at various times, and artists from different backgrounds can be heard such as Carlos Santana, Sheryl Crow, ZZ Top, Vince Gill, Willie Nelson and Steve Winwood. This compilation can assemble these exceptional talents in one place, making it a must for blues fans. (August 2016)

Reprise / Rhino / Warner

½

   

 Pat Metheny – The Unity Sessions (2 CD)

Pat Metheny The Unity Sessions (2 CD)

In 2012, jazz guitarist Pat Metheny created the Unity Band, that would grow later with the addition of multi-instrumentalist Giulio Carmassi. This double album recorded live at the Black Box Theatre in New York in 2014 is a single recorded and filmed performance. The main feature of this band is that their music is mostly based on the brass and rhythm section, leaving at the same time less space for the guitar of Metheny. In addition to the tracks of the two albums of the Unity Band, there are pieces from Metheny’s long career that now spans 40 years. The style of the album goes from classic acoustic music with more sustained rhythms, and even atmospheric world music. There's something for everyone in a very nice listening ensemble, despite nearly two hours of music. (June 2016)

Nonesuch / Warner

½

     

 Joshua Redman & Brad Mehldau – Nearness

Joshua Redman & Brad MehldauNearness

Saxophonist Joshua Redman and pianist Brad Mehldau has often played together since the early 1990s, while they have their own separate careers. In 2011, they joined forces for a tour as a duo. It is the European leg of the tour which is represented here with live recordings from July and November 2011. The CD contains six jazz pieces including several that stretch in what appears to be a long jam. Included are compositions by Redman and Mehldau, but also standards of Charlie Parker ("Ornithology"), Thelonious Monk ("In Walked Bud") and Hoagy Carmichael and Ned Washington ("The Nearness of You"). The duo forms a symbiotic tandem, very pleasant to listen to. (November 2016)

Nonesuch / Warner

½

   

 Philip Sayce – Scorched Earth, Volume 1

Philip SayceScorched Earth, Volume 1

Following his Canadian debut, Influence, issued in 2015, the Torontonian comes back right away with a live album. Recorded at the Silver Dollar Room in Toronto on April 14, 2016, Scorched Earth contains seven tracks including several that are stretching for a total of nearly 40 minutes. In this live context where the jam and guitar dominate, Sayce is reminding more than ever his idol, Jimi Hendrix, even if Stevie Ray Vaughan never seems far away either. This live recording certainly can make us discover all the musical talent of Philip Sayce, without artifice. (October 2016)

Warner

½

   

 

The John Wilson OrchestraGershwin in Hollywood

After the Cole Porter recordings for movies, the John Wilson Orchestra returns with those of the Gershwin brothers, legendary George and Ira. George Gershwin has always oscillated between jazz and classical music and that is exactly what offers the John Wilson Orchestra with light classical music punctuated by entertaining jazz. The 75-minute album was recorded live at the Royal Albert Hall, certainly a magical evening considering the quality of the works offered. It contains extracts from Girl Crazy, Funny Face, An American in Paris, Shall We Dance and many more. Listening to the applause after several pieces played, the crowd seemed conquered. An excellent album for fans of light classical and jazz. (July 2016)

Warner / SIX

½

     

 

Neil Young + Promise of the RealEarth (2 CD)

The legendary folk rocker remains as productive despite his 70 years of age. After a first collaboration with Promise of the Real in 2015 for The Monsanto Years, they release a double album of their performances of last year, on a background of animal sounds and other atmospheres directly from the earth. In fact, Earth is an album that is so raw that the music seems to take the second place. We must even pump up the volume to get an earful. The Nelson brothers (Willie's sons) are struggling to give tone to this double CD that contains good songs yet, but it is the animals that unfortunately steal the show. The basic idea remains more than valid, but you do not buy a Neil Young album for his animal recordings. Too bad! (July 2016)

Reprise / Warner

   

 

2015:

 

 Jeff Beck – Live+

Jeff BeckLive+

Recorded in August 2014, Live+ is not really a summary of the career of Jeff Beck because it ignores much of his best songs instead focusing on having fun with the guitar in different styles. For example, he reworks The Beatles’ "A Day in the Life" in fusion jazz before concluding with some harder blues moments. We can hear personal versions of Stevie Wonder’s "Superstition", Jimi Hendrix’ "Little Wing" and "Danny Boy". In addition to the 14 tracks recorded in concert, we can discover two new studio songs: "Tribal" and a cover of "My White Tiled Floor". Even if the record seems quite uneven, it presents a Jeff Beck who has lost none of his skill on the guitar. (June 2015)

Deuce / Rhino / Warner

   

 Blue Rodeo – Live at Massey Hall

Blue Rodeo Live at Massey Hall

The Toronto band celebrates 30 years of career this year and they offer us a very solid live album recorded at Massey Hall, a mythical theater in Toronto. The band offers us no less than 14 of their best compositions to date, filling at the same time the entire CD. Greg Keelor, Jim Cuddy and company offer us among others the inevitable "Lost Together", "5 Days in May", "After the Rain" and many more. Blue Rodeo fans will get thrilled about it. (November 2015)

Warner

½

   

Céu – Ao Vivo

CéuAo Vivo

To celebrate her 10-year career, the Brazilian singer performed before an enthusiastic crowd in her home district of Vila Madalena in Sao Paulo. The more than 66-minute album combines the best of her three albums in an intimate atmosphere where the crowd seemed to be part of the show. We can hear some quite different versions of the original, more acoustic or with other influences of the world. Céu goes briskly between different rhythms: bossa nova, reggae, rock, etc. Note her beautiful performance of Bob Marley’s "Concrete Jungle". (November 2015)

Six Degrees / SIX

½

 

 Chicago – Chicago XXXIV: Live in ’75 (2 CD)

Chicago Chicago XXXIV: Live in ’75 (2 CD)

This double live album presents the pop rock band when it was at the peak of its career. It includes recordings during three concerts given between June 24 and 26, 1975 at the Capital Center in Largo, Maryland. On this 34th album by Chicago, you can hear as many as 24 songs among their most popular for a total of nearly two hours. You can hear again with pleasure the hits "Beginnings", "Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?", "Old Days" and "25 or 6 to 4". The sound quality is not perfect, given the technology of 40 years ago, but it is interesting enough to make us appreciate the band's talent, which incorporates elements of jazz to its pop rock / soft rock style. Here is the perfect album for their hardcore fans to go back to their memories of that era. (May 2015)

Rhino / Warner

½

 

The John Coltrane Quintet – So Many Things: The European Tour 1961 (4 CD)

The John Coltrane Quintet – So Many Things: The European Tour 1961 (4 CD)

These four CDs present a series of live recordings by John Coltrane and his quintet during the European tour of 1961. We hear performances at the Olympia in Paris, Copenhagen, Helsinki and Stockholm. The saxophonist is accompanied among others by talented multi-instrumentalist Eric Dolphy. This tour would mark a shift not only in Coltrane's career, but in the history of jazz, with a step towards modernity. (April 2015)

Acrobat / MVD

Mika - L’Orchestre symphonique de Montréal

Mika - l’Orchestre symphonique de Montréal

During the tour for the No Place in Heaven album, Mika gave a concert accompanied by the Montreal Symphony Orchestra (L’Orchestre symphonique de Montréal). It is this symphony recording that is offered here. We quickly find that the melodic pop music of Mika adapts beautifully to symphonic arrangements and the result is a beautiful blend perfectly showcasing the songs of the artist. The orchestra is very present throughout the record, but it never overshadows the singer's unique voice. Here is a great way to rediscover the greatest hits of Mika. (November 2015)

Republic / Universal

 

 Needtobreathe – Live from the Woods at Fontanel (2 CD)

NeedtobreatheLive from the Woods at Fontanel (2 CD)

After numerous major concerts, including opening for Taylor Swift, the Christian alternative rock band was ready to release its first concert album. So here is Live from the Woods at Fontanel, recorded in front of 4,500 people in Nashville on September 13, 2014. The 17 tracks on two CDs cover all their albums except the debut. Since the concert was recorded during the Rivers in the Wasteland tour, it is normal to find several songs from this album (there are 9 of 11). It includes an 8-minute jam version of "Oh Carolina" and a version of "Wanted Man", which turns into a hard rock cover of Modest Mouse’s "Float On". One can of course also listen to their greatest hits, including "The Outsiders" and "Brother". You can clearly hear the crowd at several moments of the album, especially during quieter passages or between songs, which helps create a beautiful festive atmosphere, even in our living room. Needtobreathe offers us an energetic and contagious performance, an essential album for fans of the group. (May 2015)

Atlantic / Warner

½

   

 Van Halen – Tokyo Dome in Concert (2 CD)

Van Halen Tokyo Dome in Concert (2 CD)

The last live album by Van Halen goes back to 1993 with Sammy Hagar at the microphone. Now here is the return of David Lee Roth in a concert recorded in front of a crowd of 44,000 people in Tokyo, Japan. The other change on the album is the replacement of bassist Michael Anthony by Eddie Van Halen's son, Wolfgang. In terms of the songs offered on this double album, they are all tracks recorded by Roth, for a total of 25 including most of the biggest hits of the band. Even though they may no longer have the enthusiasm of their best years, the four musicians still know how to demonstrate all their talent in a classic Van Halen performance. (May 2015)

Rhino / Warner

½

   

 Guitar Heroes

Guitar Heroes

The Guitar Heroes album was recorded on July 12, 2013 at Vancouver Island MusicFest by four masters of the Telecaster guitar: James Burton, Albert Lee, Amos Garrett and David Wilcox. This memorable evening was immortalized as is on record, without any editing or reworking. The four living legends play great classics of blues and rockabilly as "That's All Right (Mama)", "Susie Q", "Sleep Walk" and "Flip, Flop and Fly". A must for every guitar fan! (June 2015)

Stony Plain / SIX

½

   

 

2014:

 

 Gary Clark Jr. – Live (2 CD)

Gary Clark Jr.Live (2 CD)

The Texas guitar virtuoso got considerable success with his album Blak and Blu in 2012. He now has a double live album containing 15 tracks of his best pieces and blues classics. Even if you cannot help but compare him to Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan, Gary Clark remains perfectly representative of the new generation of bluesmen. Here is a live album of 96 minutes including quite exciting moments. (December 2014)

Warner

½

 Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young – CSNY 1974

Crosby, Stills, Nash & YoungCSNY 1974

In 1974, the legendary folk rock quartet began a tour that would go down in history for its size. This album contains 16 selections from that tour for a total of 78 minutes. The tracks were recorded in a dozen concerts between Chicago, New York, San Francisco and London. There are obviously their biggest hits, but most of all the tracks offered are played strongly by the musicians. CSNY were at the peak of their art at that time, despite some internal differences. It was already planned to release a live album after the tour, but these recordings have remained well hidden for 40 years, until Graham Nash decided to offer them to us for their 40th anniversary. In addition to this single CD version, we also find a box of three CDs and a DVD. (August 2014)

Rhino / Warner

½

 The Miles Davis Quintet – All of You: The Last Tour 1960 (4 CD)

The Miles Davis Quintet – All of You: The Last Tour 1960 (4 CD)

After 5 years of partnership, John Coltrane and Miles Davis would make one last tour together in 1960. This 4-CD set presents live recordings from the tour in Europe. Trumpeter and saxophonist were often playing twice a night at that time, so we could see them constantly evolve in their play. The recordings found on these CDs have been cleaned and remastered to faithfully reproduce these performances dating back to 54 years. The result is nearly 5 hours of music, interrupted only by a backstage interview with John Coltrane. The main disadvantage of these many recordings is that the same pieces can be heard several times. Otherwise, since you will not listen to all at once anyway, it is less problematic. The 4 CDs are accompanied by a beautiful detailed 36-page booklet in which author and tenor saxophonist Simon Spillett gives a detailed technical commentary on the performances and solos. Very interesting and a must for any fan of jazz! (December 2014)

Acrobat / MVD

 George Michael – Symphonica

George MichaelSymphonica

Produced by Michael and the legendary Phil Ramone (his last project before his death in March 2013), Symphonica portrays the popular symphonic tour of George Michael in 2011-2012. You can hear a selection of songs from his 30-year career, as well as covers of his favorite artists (Terence Trent D'Arby, Elton John, and others). Several of his hits are ignored and Michael does not seem to fully exploit the potential of the symphony orchestra with his voice. He will probably still manage to satisfy his beforehand conquered fans. (May 2014)

Virgin / Universal

½

 Laura Mvula - Laura Mvula with Metropole Orkest conducted by Jules Buckley at Abbey Road Studios (Live)

Laura Mvula - Laura Mvula with Metropole Orkest conducted by Jules Buckley at Abbey Road Studios (Live)

The young singer from Birmingham, England presents a new version of the great songs from her excellent album Sing to the Moon released last year. She is accompanied for the occasion by the Metropole Orkest conducted by Jules Buckley, everything recorded at the legendary Abbey Road Studios in London. The presence of the 52 musicians in the orchestra adds some theatricality to her music, although some softer pieces do not seem so different from the original with already beautiful arrangements. Little work on post-production was done except for the voice of Laura for a couple of times. With this record, her fans can rediscover the songs they liked with a new perspective. (September 2014)

RCA Victor / Sony

½

 NEeMA – Live: Leave the Light On

NEeMALive: Leave the Light On

The Montreal folk singer offers a live album recorded between Montreal, Paris, London, Belgium, Ireland, Italy, Sweden and Norway. We can hear a few covers as Bruce Springsteen’s "The Ghost of Tom Joad", Félix Leclerc’s "Le petit bonheur", Leonard Cohen’s "Avalanche" and Charles Aznavour’s "Emmenez-moi". Recorded during the tour that followed the release of her excellent album Watching You Think in 2010, Leave the Light On somehow makes a summary of the highlights of that tour. NEeMA is currently working on recording a new album to come by the end of the year. (May 2014)

SIX

½

 Peter, Paul and Mary – Discovered: Live in Concert

Peter, Paul and MaryDiscovered: Live in Concert

The folk trio began recording all of his concerts in 1980 in order to have a look at their effectiveness on stage. When they went into all of their material in 2004 in order to select the songs to be included in a box set, they found great recordings, with a wonderful sound quality. Discovered: Live in Concert contains 13 of these rare live recordings of which only one appeared on record, "Mi Caballo Blanco". The CD allows us to rediscover the effectiveness of the vocal harmonies of the trio. (December 2014)

Rhino / Warner

 Joshua Redman – Trios Live

Joshua RedmanTrios Live

This album by saxophonist Joshua Redman presents him in concert with his trio at two venues. There are 4 songs recorded in October 2009 at the Jazz Standard in New York City and 3 songs recorded in February 2013 at Blues Alley in Washington, D.C. We hear no guitar or piano on these recordings on which only bass and drums accompany the saxophone of Redman. He presents three original pieces and standards of Kurt Weill/Bertolt Brecht, Jay Livingston/Ray Evans, and Thelonious Monk. He also presents his unique version of Led Zeppelin’s "The Ocean". Redman does not hesitate to improvise, once again demonstrating all his musicianship. (August 2014)

Nonesuch / Warner

½

 Rachel Sermanni – Live in Dawson City

Rachel SermanniLive in Dawson City

Scottish contemporary folk singer Rachel Sermanni gave a concert in 2013 at the Palace Grand Theatre in the small town of Dawson City, Yukon for the Dawson City Music Festival. This concert took place about a year after the release of her first album, Under Mountains. The CD contains 10 songs plus an intro, and it allows us to rediscover the music of Rachel in a context other than the studio, in front of an audience. (June 2014)

Middle of Nowhere

 

2013:

 

Big Sexy Noise – Collision Course & Trust the Witch (2 CD)

Big Sexy NoiseCollision Course & Trust the Witch (2 CD)

The post-punk trio led by extravagant Lydia Lunch presents a unique concert of 11 tracks recorded in Italy, in addition to offering a re-edition of their 2011 album, Trust the Witch. During the concert, you can discover all the passion of Lunch and her band, even if the sound turns somewhat mediocre. Even if the band does not revolutionize anything musically, the fact remains that their energy is contagious. (February 2014)

Cherry Red / MVD

½

Ry Cooder and Corridos Famosos – Live at the Great American Music Hall, San Francisco

Ry Cooder and Corridos Famosos – Live at the Great American Music Hall, San Francisco

This live album was recorded on August 31 and September 1, 2011 in San Francisco. This is the first live album by Ry Cooder in 25 years. For the occasion, he is accompanied by a full orchestra including singers and a horn section of 10 musicians, the Mexican group La Banda Juvenil. Only two of the 12 tracks offered are Cooder originals and he is mainly playing classics he likes. Note among others two Woody Guthrie songs, "Do Re Mi" and "Vigilante Man", which take a new orientation (polka for the first one and blues for the second one). The presence of the crowd helps to recreate the atmosphere of the show, as well as the interventions between songs. (October 2013)

Nonesuch / Warner

½

Justice – Access All Arenas

JusticeAccess All Arenas

The house duo consisting of Gaspard Augé and Xavier de Rosnay participated in an extensive tour following the release of Audio, Video, Disco in 2011. On July 19, 2012, they were at Les Arenes de Nimes, and the concert was recorded to be presented here on CD. The duo proves greater dexterity than on the other live album available in their early career in 2008, A Cross the Universe. They manage their transitions so beautifully, in addition to carrying the crowd in their adventure. The main issue is that we’re only entitled to the sound portion of the event, so that on several occasions we would also like to be able to discover the visual. Despite this minor detail, both French guys show their stability in front of a large audience and prove that they have nothing to envy to their big brothers of Daft Punk. (July 2013)

Ed Banger / Because / Warner

½

Madonna – MDNA World Tour (2 CD)

MadonnaMDNA World Tour (2 CD)

Following the release of her very good album MDNA in spring 2012, Madonna has once again embarked on a major tour. She is now immortalizing that extravaganza on two CDs, a DVD and Blu-ray. The 2 CDs have 24 songs totaling 115 minutes, mostly recorded at two concerts in Miami on November 19 and 20, 2012, but which also contain footage from other shows. It contains many songs from the recent years, and most of her greatest career hits in often quite different versions from the original. The sequences between tracks are always very successful, which leaves very little downtime. Also, the crowd can be heard on the recordings, which helps us to get quickly in the special atmosphere of the concert. (October 2013)

Videos: DVD Trailer - Making of

Live Nation / Interscope / Universal

½

Metallica – Through the Never (Music from the Motion Picture) (2 CD)

MetallicaThrough the Never (Music from the Motion Picture) (2 CD)

Through the Never is above all a movie in IMAX 3D, but this is the album that accompanies it. It is a double album containing many Metallica classics recorded live in August 2012 in Edmonton and Vancouver. Although it is the music from the movie, the album allows us to rediscover the essential by the band still played with all the energy of the past. Hardcore Metallica fans will be all smiles while listening again to "Creeping Death", "For Whom the Bell Tolls", "One", "Master of Puppets" and "Battery". Those who have rather discovered them with the very popular black album in 1991 will also be pleased with "Wherever I May Roam", "Nothing Else Matters" and of course "Enter Sandman". Unfortunately, we don’t have the best sound quality, and some technical problems have even passed straight to the final mix. The film gives us still a great excuse to get back right to the best of the Metallica repertoire. (October 2013)

Video: Movie Trailer

Blackened / Warner

½

Gianmaria Testa – Men at Work (2 CD)

Gianmaria TestaMen at Work (2 CD)

Men at Work is a double album of 23 tracks recorded live during a tour in Germany, Austria and Luxembourg by the Italian singer and guitarist. Accompanied by three musicians, Testa offers smooth songs carried on by his superb style at classical guitar. The booklet contains texts in Italian, but also in French, German and English. With Men at Work, Gianmaria Testa managed to literally bring us into his world. An excellent live album! (February 2014)

Le Chant du Monde / SIX

½

Sing Me the Songs: Celebrating the Works of Kate McGarrigle (2 CD)

Sing Me the Songs: Celebrating the Works of Kate McGarrigle (2 CD)

On these two CDs recorded live in London in 2010, in New York City in 2011 and in Toronto in 2012, there are 34 songs by the late Kate McGarrigle performed by different artists. It is above all a family story so we can hear her sister Anna, her children Rufus and Martha Wainwright, and other family members. Other guest artists include Norah Jones, Emmylou Harris, Jimmy Fallon, Antony Hegarty, Broken Social Scene and Kate herself on two tracks by the magic of technology, "Proserpina" and a home demo, "I Just Want to Make It Last". Far from being maudlin, this double album is meant to be a celebration of the work of the artist. Profits from the sale of the album will go to the Kate McGarrigle Foundation supporting cancer care and research. (July 2013)

Nonesuch / Warner

½

 

2002:

 

Dropkick Murphys - Live On St. Patrick's Day CD

Dropkick Murphys - Live on St. Patrick's Day

It’s on stage that the Boston band with Irish ancestors the Dropkick Murphys are at their best. So, it was a particularly good idea to release a live album recorded at 3 concerts in Boston in 2002 during the St. Patrick festivities, the Irish day. The atmosphere is totally awesome and the festive and contagious punk rock of the Dropkick Murphys seem to have conquered the people present at the concert. They also presented a few effective covers like only them can do, like for example "Fortunate Son" of the legendaries Creedence Clearwater Revival. The 25 tracks of the CD never give us a time to breathe for 74 minutes and, even if some are a little weaker musically, they all move and are all very effective. The crowd is well present on the record, without being too present, and it adds a lot to the atmosphere. If there is one CD by the Dropkick Murphys you should have, it’s this one that is at the same time a good anthology of their career until then. (July 2005)

Hellcat / Epitaph

 

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