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It was to prove to be one of the last releases by Shed Seven. This album recorded during one of the tours in 2003 comprises of 17 of the best Shed Seven tracks. It was the only thing missing from the Shed Seven discography. They are such a phenomenal live band and it only seems right that the last official release before they split up be a live album. This album shows exactly why after almost 13 years the band were still together and seemingly going strong.
Of course bands don't always sound great live and there are a number that should certainly stick to the studio rather than the stage. Shed Seven aren't one of them though and actually sound more at home on the live stage than recording new material. They were one of the longest running Indie bands and when you've seen them live it's easy to see why. They are crowd favourites and every track on this album gets a phenomenal reaction from the adoring crowd.
Singer Rick Witter still has that definitive style that shines through from the albums, but it sounds infinitely better live. He brings each track to life and that's really what the Shed Seven live experience is all about. The only let down with the live album and it's something I noticed when I saw them during the same tour, is the feeble attempts by Witter to interact with the crowd. It's the only time the quality drops a bit as he only seems to half heartedly makes a comment out of some sort of necessity. It'd almost be better if he just got on with it and didn't worry about the interaction.
Despite the odd hiccup here and there it's musically an excellent example of what they can do. The guitar is clearly the centre instrument of the band and that's what makes the album so enjoyable. The drums provide an excellent backing, which keeps the pace of the album while the Bass plays quite a small but important role in holding each track together. Obviously there are some tracks that sound better than others as is always the case.
The main aspect of the album that really impressed me was how technically spot on the live show was. I've heard a number of albums with feedback and out of tune guitars galore. This one however doesn't seem to be plagued by these aspects and it makes it sound even better. The album isn't totally upbeat and the slower tracks seem to work just as well as the faster ones. The lead guitar really holds them together and the cohesion between the guitars and Witter's vocals keeps it sounding great.
While the older material is obviously the more crowd pleasing numbers the newer stuff serves a purpose as well. With one previously unheard track on the album it suggested a new album was on the way and the band were sounding as good as ever. The newer material didn't have the following as the pre Going For Gold tracks and this tour proved that as live tracks they were just as good. For instance "Cry For Help" is possibly one of the better tracks on the album. It's slow beat and soothing guitar rhythm through the verse makes it a nice easy going track, while the chorus shows its potential as a crowd favourite.
For me the best tracks are still the old ones. For me during this tour it was certainly the older material that had the most emotion and meaning to it. With my own personal favourites like "Chasing Rainbows" and "Dolphin" sounding better than ever. They are two tracks that simply make you want to sing along and that's what the whole Shed Seven live experience was about. Although there are no bad tracks the album does slow down a bit too much for a live performance and kind of losses the crowd for short periods of times. Of course that's mainly in long track intros and nothing that really spoils the overall effect of the album.
Whether they get back together again and return to the live scene in the future remains to be seen. One thing that is for certain is that this album will always be able to bring back memories of one of the best gigs I've ever been to. To see Shed Seven live was certainly a pleasure, with every song getting the crowd going and that's what this album portrays. Whether it's the singing along during "Disco Down" or simply the cheering after each track, it's something that will always bring back memories. If you're a fan of Shed Seven you've probably already got this, if not go and buy it. If you're not a huge fan but like certain tracks then I can safely suggest this album as a great example of what they were all about.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Getting Better
2 Where Have You Been Tonight?
3 Devil In Your Shoes
4 She Left Me On Friday
5 Long Time Dead
6 Why Can't I Be You
9 Cry For Help
11 Eyes Before
12 Step Inside Your Love
13 Chasing Rainbows
14 Going For Gold
15 On Standby
16 If The Music Don't Move Yer
17 Disco Down
Disc #2 Tracklisting
1 Shedonism - Life on the Road with Shed Seven (DVD Extra)