Bad Religion
30 Years Live


3.0
good

Review

by Pedro B. USER (303 Reviews)
October 20th, 2010 | 12 replies


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: This could have been a defining free album, one for the annals of history; however, a severe miscalculation in the setlist keeps it a merely acceptable, if ultimately rather frustrating, release.

Ever since their appearance a couple of years ago, free and official album downloads have been revolutionizing the way both fans and musicians alike see music. After all, there are many benefits to giving your oeuvre away: you make your old fans happy, gain some new ones, attain name recognition, make the specialized news and even avoid being swindled by the greedy middleman. The downside is that you may come off losing a bit of money, but overall, there seem to be more positives than negatives to free album distribution.

This is why, in recent years, this phenomenon has ceased to be the privilege of ultra-underground metal and indie acts and expanded to encompass even widely-known bands. In recent times, Coldplay, the Pixies, Calexico and Annihilator have all put up totally free and totally official releases as thank-you notes for the fans or as means to attain new ones. To this distinguished list, one must now add another band: Bad Religion.

On second thought, it does make sense for a band who always took pride in their underground ethics and anti-commercial stance to offer their fans a free album. Furthermore, Bad Religion have a very good reason to do so, seeing as 2010 marks the thirtieth anniversary of their foundation. And a live album - a free live album - seemed the perfect way to do so; after all, the Angelinos have always arguably been more of a singles band than an album band. Despite their anti-commercialism, the band have always stood out because of single songs, with their full-lenghts veering between the repetitive and the hit-or-miss. However, even the most mediocre Bad Religion release always had at least one or two awesome songs, which is what made 30 Years Live such a great idea on paper: grab a few of our greatest hits, play them for the rabid fans, and let's party.

Unfortunately, however, the band managed to botch what seemed like a perfect project by making the setlist, at the very least, questionable. You see, 30 Years Live is not a Greatest Hits Live album. There is no Against the Grain here, no Sinister Rouge, Sorrow, Give You Nothing, Generator or Punk Rock Song. Some well-known songs do appear - American Jesus, Suffer, A Walk - but the album seems far too concerned with material only the fans would be interested in. Which is all well and good, seeing as this album is mostly for the fans; but one cannot help but wonder why Bad Religion would leave out the casual fan who wants to listen to his favorite songs.

Besides, this setlist imbalance ends up harming the record itself. While the band's performance is lively and well-oiled throughout, the lesser songs provide moments of nondescript boredom, where the old Bad Religion feeling of listening to the same song again with different lyrics does set in. This feeling is partially redeemed by the best moments on this album - where it is hard to even remember why we were so frustrated before - but at the end of the day, it is unsurprising that the few well-known songs are also the standouts. Barring some pleasant surprises like an unexpectedly melancholy Dearly Beloved, the best songs on this album are those we expected to be: American Jesus is its boisterous, rip-roaring self, New Dark Ages is perhaps the best thing on here, and Los Angeles Is Burning provides a fitting tribute to the city that saw Bad Religion be born, and where this celebratory concert is taking place. Much of the rest is taken up by stereotypical Bad Religion songs, i.e, blasts of energy which come and go leaving little aside from some clever rebellious lyricism.

In the end, then, it is a pity 30 Years Live does not manage to be all that it could be. This could have been a defining free album, one for the annals of history; however, a severe miscalculation in the setlist keeps it a merely acceptable, if ultimately rather frustrating, release.

Recommended Tracks
Dearly Beloved
New Dark Ages
American Jesus
Los Angeles Is Burning

[u]Download it officially and for FREE here: www.badreligion.com/mailinglist.html



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Trey Spencer STAFF (4.5)
Bad Religion celebrates 30 years of excellent punk rock with a free live album that covers a few cla...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Lakes.
October 20th 2010


28400 Comments


monkeys? um, no.

Digging: Scott Walker and Sunn O))) - Soused

Satellite
October 20th 2010


20826 Comments


What?! The mostly obscure setlist is my favorite thing about this. They deliberately played a bunch of shit that wasn't on Live at the Palladium.

ConsiderPhlebas
October 20th 2010


6157 Comments


Disagree with the review but it's well written. Pos.

Eclectic
October 21st 2010


3302 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Disagree with the review but it's well written. Pos.



Masochist
October 21st 2010


8047 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Disagree with the review but it's well written.


^^^ This. But even more...

What?! The mostly obscure setlist is my favorite thing about this. They deliberately played a bunch of shit that wasn't on Live at the Palladium.


^^^This. They already have a live album full of their hits called 'Tested', and two live DVD's (one from the 'Suffer' tour and one from right after 'The Empire Strikes First')....not to mention one of the most lauded compilation of hits ever released in 'All Ages'. Lord knows they definitely didn't need yet ANOTHER album with "Infected" and "I Wanna Conquer The World" and "Sorrow" on it ("American Jesus" and "New Dark Ages" aside). I'm happy to hear live versions of songs like "A Walk" and "Marked," songs which are always neglected in favor of their hits.

And they sound so good! "Man On A Mission" has a new lease on life thanks to this album. So much energy, and the singing is perfect!

Digging: Flying Lotus - You're Dead!

ReturnToRock
October 21st 2010


3448 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

*shrugs*

It´s a fan thing, I guess....

Alucard125
October 21st 2010


535 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I love the setlist. 'Marked' is one of my favourite songs by BR...

Willie
Moderator
October 21st 2010


16050 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This could have been a defining free album, one for the annals of history; however, a severe miscalculation in the setlist keeps it a merely acceptable, if ultimately rather frustrating, release.
Bitching about a setlist completely changes this from a review for the masses to a review for only yourself. The band has 30 years of music, 15 CDs with an average of 15 tracks each and they narrowed it down to 17 songs for this CD. My point is that everyone is going to have a different opinion on which tracks should have been on here and to knock the album down for it is going to fall on deaf ears.
but the album seems far too concerned with material only the fans would be interested in. Which is all well and good, seeing as this album is mostly for the fans; but one cannot help but wonder why Bad Religion would leave out the casual fan who wants to listen to his favorite songs.
You answered your own question... the setlist is geared towards their long-time fans and if the casual fan wants to hear their favorite songs they can buy the greatest hits album or any of the other live albums BR has out (or steal them, as the casual fan is more apt to do anyway).

I usually don't mind your reviews and don't agree with the crap that you get from time to time, but this whole review is coming from a very skewed and personal perspective that is going to be lost on most readers. Everyone has a different opinion on which tracks should be on here and so to base your whole review around a specific subset of missing tracks will probably result in just about nobody agreeing/relating to this review. Also, as has already been said, they already have a Best Of album, as well as a handful of live albums (of which Live at the Palladium is the "Best Of" live album you're looking for).

Digging: Skrew - Universal Immolation

WatchItExplode
October 21st 2010


3273 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

yeah, what everyone else said and then some...

Digging: Giant Squid - Minoans

ReturnToRock
October 21st 2010


3448 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

All right. Criticism accepted. I admit I was speaking from the perspective of a casual fan who owns one album (The Process of Belief) and a bunch of mp3's. But this being free is likely to attract the casual fans, too - it did me - and they will think the same as me.

Criticism accepted, however.

Willie
Moderator
October 21st 2010


16050 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Sometimes you just can't win. ;)

vanderb0b
October 21st 2010


3473 Comments


Honestly, this was my introduction to the band and, even from that perspective, the set list is pretty damn great. Good review, though.



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