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Subject: "Greatest Hits Live" Album Review

Mike H.
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Date Posted: 22:44:19 05/31/02 Fri

Unlike a lot of live albums, the latter of Journey's two live albums, "Journey's Greatest Hits Live," exibits live audio at its best.

The first on this sixteen (16) cut album, "Don't Stop Believin'," is a great opener for an album, whether it be live or not. The keyboards sound OK, but the vocal and guitar are great. The only thing that I like better about the studio track is the pure sound of the piano. Here it sounds weak and diluted.

The second track, "Seperate Ways (Worlds Apart)," is better on this live version than the studio version because of Steve Perry's raw vocals and Neal Schon's "driving" guitar work. The keyboard work is a bit stronger, but still no match for Steve and Neal on this one.

The third track, "After The Fall," is OK. I like the studio version of this (the one I heard on the "Essential" two-disk set), and the only reason I say that is because I feel that the rythmn section is too weak on this despite the fact that the king of soul, Steve Perry's, vocals are up to par. Although, when I heard this album, I heard the live version before I heard the studio version, so initially, I wasn't impressed with this tune. Good guitar from Neal though.

On the fourth track, "Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin'," I like the blues romp Steve does at the beginning. My mother even loved it, and she cannot stand Journey. Really raw vocals and guitar. The piano on this one sounds awesome, but this tune focuses mainly on Steve Perry's vocals.

On the fifth tune, "Faithfully," the four-bar piano intro. sounds a bit watered down, but there's a bluesy guitar riff with soulful vocals in the first two verses. And for my number one favorite Journey tune, here's another that shows Steve's vocals as the main attraction. I really love his "whoa, ohh ohh ohhs" on this at the end.

On the sixth tune, "Who's Crying Now," Steve's vocals are great, I like Neal's guitar solo, I really like the way Steve sings, "So many stormy nights, so many wrongs or rights, neither could change their headstrong ways...ya know what I'm talkin' about, Houston?" I really love the way he squeezes that Houston line in there; although, Jonathan Cain's piano still sounds diluted. I think it's because of the same keyboard he uses throughout the 1981 Houston show.

On track seven, "Anyway You Want It," Steve's vocals and audience participation are both raw, and Neal has a great guitar solo on this one. I also love the way Steve says, "Houston, can you hear me?" at the end, singing that line with the rythmn section.

On track eight, "Lights," Neal's guitar on the intro. is raw, just as Steve's vocals are, but Jonmathan's keyboard work on this one is a bit weak. Steve Perry's vocals are at their best on this one. It's one of the most soulful rockers I've heard.

On track nine, "Stay Awhile," Steve Perry's soul shines on this tune, but despite Neal's killer guitar work on previous tracks, it doesn't show here, and Jonathan Cain's keyboard work is a bit stronger, but not as strong as on his studio albums.

On track ten, "Open Arms," Jonathan Cain's keyboard is OK, but Steve Perry's vocals are at their best with a good rythmn section accompaniment. Neal's guitar work isn't bad either. I love the "roll" he does at the end.

On track eleven, "Send Her My Love," the live track is as great as the studio track. This tune has a "killer" driving rythmn that is awesome. Steve's vocals are great, and I love the way Steve says, "The same hotel, the same old room...Journey's on the road again." Steve Perry described this tune as "cinematic."

On track twelve, "Still They Ride," Steve has great vocals, but other than that, I think that the studio track, on "Escape," is better. This live rendition has OK piano, but he has a lot of soul and good guitar.

The thirteenth track, "Stone In Love," is just as great, if not better, live than it is on the studio track. It has great guitar and "Killer" vocals from Stevo as usual. I like Neal's guitar riff at the end. It sounds like a siren.

On track fourteen, "Escape," I like Neal's guitar intro., but other than that, the tune is OK. It has good vocals, good guitar and good piano. It's loose like a jam.

On track fifteen, "Line Of Fire," the rythmn is heartstopping. I really love Neal's guitar, Jonathan's keybard work, Steve Perry's vocal's and Steve Smith's drumming; although, I liked the "Captured" rendition of this tune I heard on the "Essential" disk. Great cannon firing for the gunshot though. I also loved Steve Smith's drum roll at the end and Steve Perry's "whew ooo!"

And for the last tune, number sixteen, "Wheel In The Sky," I really like Neal's guitar intro. along with Steve Perry's vocals and Steve Smith's drumming. The audience participation is great, too.

Overall, a good live album, and despite the fact that Jonathan Cain, the greatest piano player, doesn't appear on the "Captured" album, it seems to me that "Captured is a "tighter" performance. But, depite that, this lineup (Steve Perry, Neal Schon, Jonathan Cain, Ross Valory, and Steve Smith) is Journey at its best time...now and forever.

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