Larry Norman - Live Box Set

Published Tuesday 16th June 2009
Larry Norman - Live Box Set
Larry Norman - Live Box Set

STYLE: Jesus Music
RATING 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8
OUR PRODUCT CODE: 77773-15457
LABEL: Solid Rock GMI1287
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.

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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Product Description
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.

Reader Comments

Posted by Dougie Adam in near Glasgow @ 15:52 on Jul 21 2009

Larry appeared at Flevo several times. His 1980 performance was recorded and broadcast on the radio but none of the tracks feature here (even though a few tracks from the 1980 concert were officially released by GMI elsehwere). The 1989 concert was also filmed and broadcast on Dutch TV but there is no sign of an official DVD release of that concert. Despite those drawbacks you can't argue much with either of the Flevo CDs. Both show Larry mixing new takes on some of his better known songs with material which was either new at the time (My Feet Are on The Rock, Nightmare #49 (Part One), He Really Loves You in 1989 and Heaven Wants To Bless You, Let It Go and the rewritten Bombs from 1998) or recently released but nit too well known at the time (Twelve Good Men and Everybody Work from the 1989 set and Goodbye Farewell and 2 stand out songs from 1991's Stranded in Babylon album from 1998). In 1989 you got straight ahead blues and rock and roll arrangements with Q-Stone except for a few quiet numbers in the middle. 1998 saw a more adventurous approach with Beam, there are some very good guitar solos here, one or two of the songs don\'t quite work out but the grungey reworking of Six Sixty Six is a triumph (not a banjo anywhere to be heard this time round!). Its also worth pointing out that although there were too many live albums from Larry that in every decade he released a few excellent live albums that are worth tracking down eg: Restless in Manhattan (recorded in 1972), Wounded Lion (recorded in 1977 with Alwyn Wall Band and Norman Barratt), Snapshots of the '77 World Tour (new Zealand 1979!), Stop This Flight (1985), Live At Flevo With Q-Stone (1989), Totally Unplugged Volume 1 (recorded 1992) Shouting In Ths Storm (1998), The Vineyard (1999) and Rough Diamonds, Precious Jewels (2001 - 20 year retrospective on LN's Belfast concerts)

Posted by James Conarroe in Opelika, AL @ 00:02 on Jul 10 2009

There are some decent quality live shows yet to be released. I promoted a concert for Larry back in 2000 which was digitally recorded. I have a copy of it and gave the master tapes to Larry. One song, I LOVE YOU (recorded at this concert) was included on a CD released by SOLID ROCK (Rock, Paper, Scissors et). I know that at one time John Wood had some recordings in his collection. Hopefully, SOLID ROCk will make these recordings available or release a true LIVE BOX set.

Posted by tim knight in dorset @ 09:02 on Feb 23 2009

I have both the orginal release of these albums and they are both very good. Some excellent stuff on both album. Faverites include Wish we'd all been ready, twelve good men Larry really rocking out both worth a listen. a couple of doggie colaberations on the first album but for ten pounds you can not go wrong. Classic Larry

The opinions expressed in the Reader Comments are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms.

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