|Styx & The CYO One With Everything||Frontiers Records / Universal|
I didn't have any real expectations for this live record yet another diversion from the band releasing new studio product (5 live albums and a couple of compilations in between a mere 2 studio albums) and it is sadly only a portion of the whole live event. You'll hear and (obviously) see more on the DVD release.|
I imagine most Styx die-hards will be happy, as it certainly is a quality release. Just a couple of issues however
First problem is the repetition of the same old songs again. The Styx catalogue is so vast and yes, there is only 75 minutes available for a single disk release, and yes, you can hardly leave some of these tracks off but overall I found the track list to be less than inspiring.
Secondly, while I was one of the few that found the band's last record the covers release to be enjoyable, I'm wasn't a fan of the 3 individual tracks chosen to represent that album here.
Those points made, the album is still enjoyable for what it is and Styx are a lean mean touring machine and as always are tight as hell on stage even with the addition of a whole orchestra of extra members.
That orchestra is the very reason for this release. This live performance comes from a pairing of the band with the Children's Youth Orchestra, who add that symphonic touch to the band's music which let's face it is a very natural fit.
At times these extremely talented kids are the driving force behind the songs, but at other times they are being drowned out a little.
Highlights include what they do with Blue Collar Man fabulous; as is the extended Fooling Yourself and newer track One With Everything itself a great little melodic anthem with a technical hook. The extended instrumental break with the orchestra here is musical class.
The two news songs are Everything All The Time, which has a lot of energy and a decent hook. The studio cut ballad Just Be doesn't do anything for me though. Tommy's voice sounds as strong as ever, but the song doesn't have that 'play me again' hook to draw you in.
The closing 4 tracks Crystal Ball, Too Much Time, Miss America and Renegade are a sure fire way to end with a bang, 4 classics back to back with the orchestral twist adding some freshness.
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