ALAN PARSONS -- The Very Best - Live (RCA Victor)

In 1994, after years of being known exclusively for his studio wizardry, Alan Parsons embarked on his first ever concert tour. Citing the technological developments that have been made in recent years, Parsons decided that it was now possible to take a band on the road & reproduce onstage the majority of what is heard in the albums. All the shows on the tour were recorded, with the "best" of the material making it onto the new CD, "The Very Best -- Live".

At almost 75 minutes long, "The Very Best -- Live" gives us the original 11 tracks that were on the previously released import CD, plus 3 "new" studio tracks. The standout track of the three, "You're the Voice" is a song co-written by vocalist/guitarist Chris Thompson in 1986. It was covered that year by John Farnham & again a few years later by Heart. The other 2 new tracks, "When" and "Take the Money and Run", have potential but never quite come through.

The remaining 11 songs on the CD consist mainly of the "hits", and not many album tracks although there are a few suprises thrown in. The CD opens with "Sirius" - a fine choice. The only other instrumental track is a medley of "Lucifer" and "Mammagamma", cleverly entitled "Luciferama". They do a great job on "Lucifer". It's a shame they don't play it in it's entirety.

One of the suprises on the CD comes early, at the end of "Eye in the Sky". What was once an AOR classic is now a much more powerful song, with a spectacular guitar solo added. As expected, "The Raven" was excellent as was "Prime Time". The sound & production on the CD is, of course, impeccable.

The only real disappointment in the CD is that Eric Woolfson is not involved with it. Woolfson was an integral part in the writing of the majority of the music that is performed live. However, the positive things about the CD outweigh the bad.

All in all, "The Very Best - Live" will make a nice addition to anyone's collection.

© 1995 Steve Marshall