Review Summary: Great blues/rock live performance by Captain Beefheart
Captain Beefheart (and his Magic Band) is a blues/free jazz/rock band from America who isn't always so easy to understand, musicwise. But this album is quite easy to connect with, even if you aren't a fan of their other work.
This is one of the best live albums I've heard so far in my life and the sound is exceptional for a live album. The album is mainly focused around their album "Unconditionally Guaranteed", but other songs as "Abba Zabba" and "Crazy Little Thing" is also featured here.
1) Mirror Man
Starts off with a double guitar riff, and then makes its way to a complete ensamble. The buildup is almost like an awakening, laidback at first and working itself up from the ground. After a while you understand by the crowd that Captain Beefheart enters the stage, and soon he beginns to play his harmonica in a very bluesy way. Then the song changes character slightly and builds up with yet another, heavier riff + the harmonica that leads to the first words of Beefheart. A good opening song, not spectacular in any way, but a very good song! 3.5/5
2) Upon the Me of My
Start off with a killer guitar riff, which is the trademark of this song. A bit slower than Morror Man. Mood/Theme in this song is drinking beer, and hanging out with friends. Nice fills by the second guitar (Dean Smith). The whole song works as a beautiful entity, the solo is great, and then the quieter part which leads to yet another harmonica solo. And the soft buildup to the harmonica is marvelous! My second favourite song off this album 5/5
3) Full Moon Hot Sun
Another song with quite a long instrumental intro before the short verse of vocals from Mr. Beefheart kick in. Shows how great the band is at improvisation, great fills, though the long intro can be annoying at times. I get the feeling that they're trying to make the song epic in many ways, but doesn't always succed. Can be seen as a "filler", but still a very good song. 3.5/5
4) Sugar Bowl
A lone guitar which seems to indicate a ballad opens this song, but then the whole band kicks in and Beefheart starts singing about "little girls and little boys... they know they're being naughty but they love their sugar bowl". It's a very "happy" song, you turn it off with a inner smile. Solo by a trumpet I think, which improves and jazzes up the song. Not one of their greater songs. 3.5/5
5) Crazy Little Thing
Catchy opening phrase by Beefheart. Another great Blues/Rock song which is the theme or style on this album. In this song you can really hear the "greatness" of Beefhearts voice, he uses it perfectly to demonstrate the mood of this song. The song seem to be about a former affair with a girl that was a bit "loco", sometimes it's hard to understand how mr. Beefheart sings everything, and that is really shown in this song. From the lowest to the highest note without sounding bad. 4/5
6) This is the Day
Probably my favourite song on this album, so I'll try and be as modest as I can. This song opens up with an Arpeggio-Acoustic guitar, and then a lead guitar (Dean Smith) slowly kicks in. This is a ballad in many ways, but it maintains the trademark of Captain Beefheart, and it never gets cheesy. The good harmony in the band is really shown here, and you can nearly imagine the creative process the musicians is going through in their head here. The intro leads into several verses, and then the greatness is shown in full: The guitar solo, coming from Dean Smith. This is one of the best solos I've heard to this day, the understanding of the song is total and Dean uses his instrument perfectly. Later followed by a leanedback harmonica solo, this adds the extra to the song. 5/5
7) New Electric Ride
Just one accord played in the beginning of this song. A good song, great difference feeling to "This is the Day". Again great fills by Dean Smith, great vocals, but nothing "extra special". The slide guitar is the special thing here! It adds to the great feeling of "laidback hanging out" theme. 4/5
8) Abba Zabba
One of the Beefheart hits, a strange rock/blues feeling which gets on your head real quick. Great musicianship, cool vocals done by the Captain. The song breaks down to a bass line, which is quite funky, then a quick guitar solo. The feeling is experimental, yet leaves a solid impression on you. The ending is so great and funny, almost mantra-like Beefheart repeats "Abba Zabba", and it will get on your head quite quick. 4.5/5
A positive uptempo song that end the album perfect. Amazing vocals by Beefheart, good blues guitar/keyboard play, cool saxophone solo in the middle! This song really ends with the feeling that you've just heard a great live album and that you really wanted to be there for the experience!
This album is a highlight when it comes to Captain Beefheart, he is backed by a great band, and the sound is exeptional. The whole experience when listening to it is great and I for one really felt the creative process on-stage. I think most people will find something they like on this album, this is laidback blues/rock when it's best! There are highlight (listed below), and songs that are less good, but still okay. One might find Mr. Beefhearts voice hard to understand at first, but I promise you that you can learn to like it.
Recommended: This is the Day (!), Upon the Me oh My, Abba Zabba