Styx – Live At The Orleans Arena Las Vegas (Eagle Rock Entertainment)
In 2015 there’s very little to choose between the quality of an all-singing, all-dancing live recording and a state-of-the-art studio set. Technology has advanced at such a rapid rate that bands can replicate fully their trademark sound on any stage, anywhere – with or without the use of tapes and auto-tune.
As a consequence Live At The Orleans Arena Las Vegas doesn’t always feel like a live album. It’s so slick, so sharp and so carefully edited that it’s only the frequent screams from adoring fans that serve as a reminder that Styx are playing a sold out rock and roll show.
Of course where these AOR stalwarts are concerned that’s just perfect. A ‘raw’ Styx record simply wouldn’t sound right. And these old stagers are more than capable of pulling off a note perfect show night after night – regardless of the quality of their live rig.
The Vegas stop on the band’s 2014 Soundtrack Of Summer Tour sounds like a belter of a gig (there are DVD and Blu-ray versions of Live At… too for the seeking the full experience) with Tommy Shaw on top form throughout.
Billed as a ‘career-spanning’ setlist there is, however, no Babe. On the one hand it’s a glaring omission but in the context of this show there’s no obvious fit for the band’s US number one hit.
Opener The Grand Illusion comes across more exuberant and overblown than ever and Don Felder’s guest slot on Blue Collar Man (Long Nights) gives another Styx classic a genuine edge. Closing with Renegade this is an AOR institution at their melodic best. Simon Rushworth
RUSHONROCK RATED: 8/10 Cooking On Vegas