So by now you all know that New England early on were one of my go to listening bands when I was 13 and listening to the usual suspects back in 1980(KISS/Cheap Trick/Queen/Judas Priest) New England had an AOR Pomp about em and they should have been mega but for some reason it alluded them.
Not to me though as the self titled debut(1979) and Explorer Suite (1980)are both classic albums that have stood the test of time.
Fast forward to 2014 and the original New Englander’s John Fannon(guitar/vocals) Gary Shea(bass) Hirsch Gardner(drums) and Jimmy Waldo(Keyboards) recorded there show in the New England area and finally in early 2017 it has found its release to the world!
1. Seal It With a Kiss live 3:50
2. L5 live 4:20
3. Hello Hello Hello live 3:42
4. Alone Tonight/ Shoot live 7:54
5. Holdin’ Out On Me live 2:52
6. Conversation live 3:26
7. Shall I Run Away live 6:21
8. Turn Out The Light live 2:08
9. Honey Money live 4:01
10. Explorer Suite live 7:23
11. Hope live 6:30
12. Nothing To Fear live 5:38
13. Don’t Ever Wanna Lose Ya live 6:57
14. You’ll Be Born Again live 2:48
15. I Know There’s Something Here new studio track bonus track 4:08
Total Running Time: 71:58
That’s right Friend’s 2 Seconds short of a full 72 minutes of Hard Rock delight which upon first listen let’s me the listener know that these talented cat’s have not lost a step vocally or musically in over 30 years!
iTunes here in Canada finally added this to the New England back catalogue and BAM! A quick download ….
The boy’s start off with Seal It With A Kiss which was the leadoff song on Side 2 of Explorer Suite(if you’re keeping score) and New England lifts off after Waldo’s synth like swirl’s begin the tune and this song is a great track. Catchy everything/music/lyrics/singing it’s all here. What a lead off….
L-5 is the second track in and up til this release I had never heard it as it was off the Walking Wild album. L-5 keeps the rock rolling right into Hello Hello Hello from the self titled debut keeps the momentum pushing forward. I have said it before in my reviews of New England that Waldo has a firm grip on running the key’s as he enhances the sound/makes it atmospheric to let John’s guitar soar at certain points. So many bands could have taken a cue from these guys on how to add keyboards in the scope of a rock band.
Alone Tonight keeps the party rolling right into one of my Fav New England tunes ever and thats Shoot. Shoot is a rocker of a track with Waldo driving the Hammond like Jon Lord did in the hey daze of Deep Purple while Fannon inner channels his Ritchie Blackmore at the start of the solo especially! Love Shoot it features all the trappings of a Great Hard Rock Track in fast tempo/driving drums/walking bass line/cool vocals/loud guitar and huge slam dunk of an ending and this is still early on in the show!
Gardner slams the drums hard at the start of Holdin Out On Me as well as I believe handling the lead vocal as well! Its another one of those great New England hard driving rock tracks. This is a song i had never heard til this live album as the third New England album Walking Wild never made its way to Thunder Bay! Better late than never …
The next three tracks…Conversation/Shall I Run Away/Turn Out The Light are stripped back with acoustic guitars piano and great harmonies as the England boy’s put the breaks on the Hard Rock still though even though the tracks aren’t blasting they are still delivered exceptionally in a live setting.
The Fella’s ramp it back up with the opening number from 1980’s Explorer Suite and thats the great track Honey Money. Another straight ahead rock track which is so good to revisit this one as well.
Speaking of Explorer Suite it’s played to perfection as it weaves Prog like elements throughout proving that these cat’s can play.
Hope is played followed bv Nothing To Fear with John singing opening and than the rest of the boy’s ripping into it once the song picks up the pace with Hirsch handling the lead vocals…
John tells a great story about opening for KISS on the Dynasty Tour in Montreal( I won’t give it away…go and buy this CD) which leads into a brilliant opening riff by John and it’s Don’t Ever Wanna Lose You.
You’ll Be Born Again ends the show with just piano and John’s voice! Kinda of a neat twist to end the show …a chill vibe so to speak…
A bonus studio track is added titled I know There’s Something Here which is the first new studio track in over 30 years! Something for my pal Mikey Ladano to since his teeth into!
I cannot stress enough how cool it is to finally hear these studio tracks live! Top notch performances in regards to vocals and musical muscle are delivered throughout. The best part it that New England 2017 is the same four guys that I discovered back in late 1979!
Check this one out!