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Sanctuary / CMC
Produced by: Young, Loizzo & Gowan

Released: OUT / Website
Closest Relative: Themselves

  1. Rockin' The Paradise
  2. High Enough
  3. Lorelei
  4. A Criminal Mind
  5. Love Is The Ritual
  6. Boat On The River
  7. Half-Penny
  8. Sing For The Day
  9. Snowblind
  10. Sometimes Love Just Ain't Enough
  11. Crystal Ball
  12. Miss America
  13. Come Sail Away

Styx are back with their third live album in 5 years. They have delivered only the one studio album in the same time. Not to mention 2 other hits compilations.
Their last live album, only last year, in conjunction with REO Speedwagon - Arch Allies - was an interesting enough idea, but failed to deliver on concept and expectations.
Why then, would the band expect fans to warm to this release, after the cool response to the last one? Probably because the band thought this one would be a better release. It certainly is, but it still lacks some vital ingredients.
This album is a collection of 'live rarities' from their band's last tour, with the line up including the simply fabulous Lawrence Gowan and Glen Burtnick.
So it isn't really your typical live album, compiling some of the band's more eclectic numbers.
The downside is that once again, this does sound like a compilation, rather than a continuous live recordings. And my pet hate of fading the crowd in and out with track is in action again.
This gives the album no chance to gain any momentum or continuation needed for a free flowing live release.
Being a live rarities release, it shouldn't have to. But after the disappointment of the last live release, you can't help but wish it did.
But that's where my complaints stop. For the track listing and the performances included on this release are far more enjoyable. It is a somewhat more laid back selection of tracks.
It is great to see the new boys getting their chance to shine.
Styxworld contains a great version of Gowan's solo hit A Criminal Mind and also sees Burtnick fronting a solo version of the #1 hit he wrote, Sometimes Love Just Ain't Enough. For that track (what there is of it) Burtnick and Shaw share a memorable lead. It just isn't long enough though!
Burtnick also sings lead on the track he did on his last stint with the band in 1990 - Love Is The Ritual. Good track, but I was expecting a little more oomph in that track in particular.
Another small complaint - gee, I know, picky....but High Enough and Sometimes Love Just Ain't Enough are only half versions obviously as they were performed, but not full play through of the track.
And that leads me back to my point of a consistent flowing live show. Taking these two tracks out of the context of the full live show has left them sounding a little out of place.
I have to say that listening to Gowan sing Come Sail Away, you have to wonder if they haven't picked the best possible replacement for the irreplaceable Dennis DeYoung. Gowan is awesome and the track goes off as expected!
BOTTOM LINE: So another live album in the can. This one has an interesting selection of songs and is worthy of purchasing just to hear the rarer songs and the new boys get a run.
Styx in their current form have a formidable line up that are clearly putting on great live shows, but in the context of what we have heard on these past 2 live releases, we are yet to get the perfect live record. A double CD set of their live show is the only way to go, but I fear that after 3 live albums in recent times, it may now be too late to ever see that happen.
ESSENTIAL FOR: Long time Styx fans and fans of Gowan and Burtnick.
RECENT DISCOGRAPHY:Paradise Theater . Brave New World . Arch Allies . Styxworld

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