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RICK SPRINGFIELD
THE GREATEST HITS - ALIVE

Super Ron Records
Produced by: Rick & Bill Drescher

Released: OUT / Website
Closest Relative: Himself
GENRE: Rock
OVERALL: 90%

    Disc 1:
  1. Affair Of The Heart
  2. I've Done Everything For You
  3. Alyson
  4. Rock Of Life
  5. Don't Talk To Strangers
  6. I Get Excited
  7. Love Somebody
  8. April 24th / My Father's Chair (Studio)
  9. State Of The Heart
  10. What Kind Of Fool Am I / Don't Walk Away / Carry Me Away / Everybody's Girl / Calling All Girls / Stand Up
  11. Free
  12. Love Is Alright Tonite
  13. Human Touch
  14. Jessie's Girl
  15. Kristina
  16. Living In Oz
  17. All Day And All Of The Night
  18. Itsalwayssomething Disc 2 - Rarities

After 30 years rocking a league of fans, this is the first chance we have heard Rick Springfield live on an official release. Well, as live as he will let us hear anyway.
For those that can't afford the $65 US dollar price tag, hold out for the general single disc release of the album early next year.
As the track listing suggests, this is one fine Greatest Hits set on offer. When playing it you can't help but be sucked into the atmosphere of the record. It's awesome. If you have listened to this CD properly and at the correct volume setting, it should leave you exhausted.
It's a wild ride from Rick through his hits and stand out album tracks and even the non die-hard fans should find some great melodic rock to play air guitar to.
After something like 6 greatest hits compilations, it finally nice to get a variation on the sound. Alive offers rawer and heavier versions of most of the tracks and breathes new life into the classic album tracks from the Working Class Dog and Success Hasn't Spoilt Me Yet era.
The only question of debate is how 'live' is the material we are listening to and just what effects and alterations have been added, in the name of art?
Well, a few....
Rick is a perfectionist. That is well known and once again, even with this live record, the recordings have been taken back to the studio in order to 'tweak' them a little and fix any mistakes.
The upside of this is we get a thoroughly professional big production sound that is unquestionable in it's quality.
The downside is that it can often take some life out of the actual live performance. My favorite type of live album is the ones with the mistakes and fluffed lines left in. The warts and all type recording that is often exclusive to bootleg performances when the artist doesn't know they are being recorded or at least can't do anything about it.
Then there is the stale over produced affairs like Aerosmith's double live A Little South Of Sanity set.
Thankfully that hasn't happened here, this release is a mix of the two - the big production, but enough raw energy to give the set a great vibe.
A couple of points however, could have added further to the atmosphere. For instance, any interaction with the crowd between songs has been removed altogether. Further more, I Get Excited and Human Touch - two tracks that became infamous during this tour for Rick's extended crowd interaction - are presented in roughly their original album form.
Other alterations to the sound include Rick fine tuning his voice and supplying repair work to some vocals. His liner notes read that he has a tendency to step away from the mike. But the repair work is greater than that. You only have to listen to the snippets of live tracks on the Video from Disc 2 to see that the vocal sound is quite different!
Aside from that, the only other real manipulation of sound is the mix. Levels have been altered both up and down to place emphasis on different parts of the recording, both vocally and instrumentally and also with crowd noise between tracks and some choruses.

The Second CD, which is the feature inclusion on this limited edition version of Alive is fantastic. Absolutely essential for long time fans of Rick's, but probably neither here nor there for others.
Included is 9 original demo's that would go on to make the Working Class Dog album. They are great to hear. They are basically Rick's solo home recordings that are quite un-produced and fun to listen to in their original state. Also 3 unreleased tunes from the early 80's that are Ok, but again stripped back in demo form. The tunes Lio and The Human Sea are quite impressive and would have sounded good had they gone on to make an album.
Lastly there is the embedded 20 minutes of Video footage, recorded backstage, on stage and behind the scenes on the last tour. This was originally planned for Home Video release, but was prevented due to Rick's last US contract. At least it has seen the light of day in some form and is quite a professionally cut and edited set of footage.
The contents of the footage will primarily be appreciated by Rick's female fans - there is unfortunately no in depth recording or production techniques or insights that will appeal to the sometimes ignored male audience.
As far as packaging, that's pretty impressive also. A small mention towards the track listing. Nowhere is it mentioned or even suggested that What Kind Of Fool Am I / Don't Walk Away / Carry Me Away / Everybody's Girl / Calling All Girls / Stand Up is actually a medley. They are listed individually. I would have loved to see the full versions of the songs included, even if it meant spilling the tracks into the second CD.
Another slightly misleading bit of pre-release advertising was the fact that the second limited CD had rare versions of Rick in the studio performing Christmas Eve In Memphis and another version of My Father's Chair. These tracks are in fact, part of the video footage. Very nice and good to have, but that should have been pointed out.
And that's it...I have to go before this review once again takes on a life of it's own.
BOTTOM LINE: Is this a far too long winded overly anal dissection of Rick's otherwise good fun, feel good release? Of course! But you would expect nothing less from a 20 year die hard fan?
For die-hard fans this is an essential release. But I stress die-hard. For the casual fan or the not as committed fan, then hold out for the general release early next year. The bonus materials are strictly a fan only affair.
PRODUCTION: 98% SONGS: 100% VIBE: 85%ATTITUDE: 80%
ESSENTIAL FOR: All Rick die-hards and AOR collectors of rare and limited material.
DISCOGRAPHY:I think you guys know already...



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