Barenaked Ladies
Rock Spectacle


5.0
classic

Review

by SubtleDagger USER (35 Reviews)
January 14th, 2005 | 10 replies


Release Date: 1996 | Tracklist


BNL:
Steven Page - Guitar, Vocals
Ed Robertson - Guitar, Vocals
Jim Creegan - Bass
Tyler Stewart - Drums
Kevin Hearn - Piano, Keyboard, Various Instruments

Compiled from several shows spanning their 1996 tour for Born On A Pirate Ship, Rock Spectacle covers the best of the Ladies' live show, right down to their odd stage antics. While the three studio albums that came before this live set were not exactly the most amazing releases from BNL as a whole (despite a Junea award and fantastic sales on Gordon), the Ladies manage to either make something out of nothing or improve an already great piece on just about every song, and that is why this live compilation shines. I know this firsthand because this was my first BNL record after Stunt, and after buying all the records before this one, it is still the superior album by far.

For example, "Straw Hat And Old Dirty Hank" from Pirate Ship was not exactly the most exciting song BNL's done... it was tame and rather unimpressive in the studio. Here, they manage to make it amazing, putting in parts that were never there, playing off of each other, and doing things a fantastic live band knows how to do. While the ballads "Break Your Heart" and "What A Good Boy" were exceptional on their records, they are so much more affecting and beautiful here that they become much preffered to their originals.

The songs from Maybe You Should Drive ("Jane", "These Apples", "Life In A Nutshell") retain a much more upbeat feel to them than was found the first time around, while the tracks from Pirate Ship ("Hello City", "Straw Hat", "When I Fall", "Break Your Heart", "The Old Apartment") bring out the emotion that was initially just noticable enough to be deemed interesting. And of course, the tracks from Gordon are fantastic. "Brian Wilson", "What A Good Boy" and fan favorite "If I Had $1000000" are simply excellent renditions and deserve to be heard.

The Ladies are revered for their humorous take on music, and with this record you get both sides. On the one hand, you get a hidden track, containing a silly story and an improv rap piece about Ed's "Uncle Elwyn", and you get the spontaneous antics of "If I Had $1000000" (which is the audience's biggest moment on the record).

On the other, I feel the best tracks are the beautiful, emotional ones: "Break Your Heart", "When I Fall", "Jane", and "What A Good Boy" are the real standouts, but they don't outshine the upbeat tracks at all; the truth is that there is not a bad track here. All are well-written, awesomely preformed, and a pleasure to listen to. While other BNL albums may make it difficult to get past the candy-coated exterior and goofy humor, this has something for everyone. I think Rock Spectacle is definitely worthy of a 5/5.

Recommended Tracks: "Straw Hat And Old Dirty Hank", "Break your Heart", "When I Fall", "What A Good Boy"

Overall Rating: 5/5



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user ratings (41)
Chart.
3.9
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
SubtleDagger
August 1st 2004


737 Comments


Bump?

cbmartinez
August 2nd 2004


2525 Comments


Nice review. I don't have any BNL cds but their good to listen to every once in a while. I checked this out cause you always do great reviews :thumb:.

Kaden
October 23rd 2004


222 Comments


I can't believe I missed this!

Barenaked Ladies are awesome. And this cd is awesome. 4/5

My favorite track is The Old Apartment.

SubtleDagger
October 23rd 2004


737 Comments


Haha, this review was so unbelievably dead.

Desensitized
August 2nd 2005


136 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Too bad this doesn't get more attention, this is a FANTASTIC live album.

TheChaplain
October 31st 2006


98 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

BNL has always been about great musicianship first and foremost, and it shows on this album. And tomorrow, I get to see them live for the first time! Whoo-hoo!

Hedgedive
September 19th 2007


6 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Probably my favorite live album of all time.

MBS
January 23rd 2008


83 Comments


One of my favorite live albums of all time. The atmosphere is so amazing.

omnipanzer
January 7th 2011


21626 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Good review, This is definitely my favorite album of theirs and it was my 5th or 6th.

Digging: We Were Promised Jetpacks - Unravelling

Demolitionizer
November 17th 2013


15 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This is the only offering I have had of the barenaked ladies and I enjoy it. But not much. The song I do enjoy however are f***ing awesome! this is: "If I Had A Million Dollars"



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