'Live At Moondance Jam'
Release Date: 19th November 2013
Gary 'Rockulus' Clarke
What a live bonanza we have here. If you're rather partial to the melodic rock flair that is constantly exhibited within the back catalogue of REO Speedwagon, then this live collection could be something to consider.
The live renditions are faithful to their studio brethren, and all in all the quality has already stood up well as this performance was shown on various outlets earlier in the year. If you witnessed this show on VH1 Classic or Direct TV then hopefully you'll recall the set list which contained such staples as 'Can't Fight This Feeling', 'Take It On The Run' and 'Keep On Loving You'.
For those of you that are die-hard fans, this live affair is notable for including the first ever live version of the song 'In Your Letter' which originally appeared on the mighty fine 1980 studio album 'Hi-Infidelity'. Apart from that, it's a selection that also incorporates fan-favourite 'Golden Country' (originally found on their second studio album released back in 1972) and a larger-than-life version of 'Back On The Road Again' that first appeared on their 1979 studio album 'Nine Lives'.
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To break down their song choices that made it to this veritable feast of classic parping, the earliest one is from their 1971 debut album, '157 Riverside Avenue', with the latest choice from their back catalogue being the radio-friendly 'Can't Fight This Feeling'.
They opted to avoid any of their material after 'Wheels Are Turnin'', but they thankfully avoided repeating what was already made available in 1977 when they released their live album 'Live: You Get What You Play For'.
Although this review is all about the audio version of the concert, don't be fooled in to thinking that it's not available on other formats. It is also ready to view as a DVD or Blu-ray if you so prefer.
The musicianship is great and the songs really have a fresh feel which is the proverbial cherry on the top. 'Like You Do', 'Keep Pushin'' and 'Don't Let Him Go' provide highlights for my ears during this live recording and have sufficient zest about them to keep the listening experience interesting.
The songs don't really translate too radically from what you know and love regarding the studio versions and as with all live albums, they're really an important addition to the true fan whilst providing the casual interested party with a new angle on a familiar song. The quality is good; the performances do the job; what more can you say?
To summarise, this is an album for the real fan of REO Speedwagon who are tired of listening to their copy of 'Live: You Get What You Play For'. But folk like me who were hoping for some newer tracks to make it and even a rendition of 'Only The Strong Survive' (a personal fave), might feel let down a little despite those points about performance and quality made earlier. I suppose that's another inevitable aspect regarding live albums; you can't please everyone all of the time.
1. Don't Let Him Go
2. Keep On Loving You
3. In Your Letter
4. Take It On The Run
5. Keep On Pushin'
6. Golden Country
7. Can't Fight This Feeling
8. Like You Do
9. Time For Me To Fly
10. Back On The Road Again
11. Roll With The Changes
12. Ridin' The Storm Out
13. 157 Riverside Avenue
Neal Doughty – keyboards, organ, piano, synthesizer
Kevin Cronin – lead vocals, rhythm guitar, piano, keyboards
Bruce Hall – bass guitar, vocals
Dave Amato – lead guitar, vocals
Bryan Hitt – drums, percussion