STYLE: Jesus Music RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 77773-15457 LABEL: Solid Rock GMI1287 FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 2 RELEASE DATE: 2009-03-03 RRP: £14.99
Reviewed by Mike Rimmer
What do you think of when someone says "live box set"? I was expecting a collection of the best Larry Norman performances over the years distilled onto three or four discs with sumptuous sleevenotes. If that's what you were expecting, this ain't it! Instead what you get are two Larry Norman live performances recorded at the Dutch Flevo festival that were previously released as 'Live At Flevo' (1989) and 'Shouting In The Storm' (1998). Not quite the same thing and not helped by the misleading title and packaging. That quibble aside, it is fair to say that these are probably the best live recordings of Larry's career. If you've been burnt by one of the slew of terrible bootleg quality live recordings that have flooded the market in the past 25 years, don't be put off buying this. The original 'Live At Flevo' saw Larry backed by the Finnish band Q Stone as he runs through reworkings of some of his most popular songs - "Why Should The Devil", "The Outlaw", "Rock That Doesn't Roll" and "I Wish We'd All Been Ready". There are also a few songs from the new album of that era including an excellent opening "My Feet Are On The Rock" and a rare live band version of "Be Careful What You Sign". Larry also gets playful on "Everybody Work" where he amusingly breaks out into "Twist And Shout". 11 years later, Larry returns to Flevo to repeat the formula and this time is backed by Dutch band Beam who add a rockier, rougher sound to his songs which suits Larry. Apart from a pedestrian version of "Rock That Doesn't Roll", Larry performs an eclectic set including new arrangements of classics like "Shot Down", "Six Sixty Six" and "I Wish We'd All Been Ready" which all bring out new and different flavours. There's the cod reggae of "Let It Go" and a deliberately disturbing dissonant version of "Bombs". I'm not sure that his version of dc Talk's "Jesus Freak" was a good idea though. By this time his health was weaker and there are places where his vocals sound suspiciously clear where I'm guessing some studio overdubbing was employed. But that's standard fare for live albums. Larry was always a powerful stage performer and whether doing intimate solo acoustic gigs or powerful band performances like those captured here, there was always much to enjoy and this is a good reminder of what he was like on a good night. If only GMI had re-released these albums sensibly rather than lumping for shoddy and exploitive packaging.
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This special Box Set is released to mark the first anniversary of the passing of Larry Norman.
In 1989 Live At Flevo was released: a live album that became the catalyst for many more live albums. It has grown to become one of the most loved Larry Norman live albums and, through the years, also one of the rarest and most sought-after.
In 1998 Larry Norman played at Flevo Festival again. The recordings (including later overdubs) were released as Shouting In The Storm – Live At Flevo 2. Of note in the concert was a rocking version of DC Talk’s Jesus Freak.