Sound — 9
A couple years have passed since the hasty release of Gravity and the backlash from Our Lady Peace's fanatical fanbase. In an effort to tide it's fans over, the band released a live CD recorded in their native Canada. Now, I have caught an acoustic performance of theirs on television a few years ago, but I hadn't ever thought of Our Lady Peace as the kind of band that could put on a show, if you get my meaning. They always felt like a studio band to me. I was pleasantly surprised with Live, for all it's 14 tracks the band utilizes Joel Shearer as a rhythm guitarist, this contribution alone adds to what would have been otherwise a terribly incomplete album. If you thought Gravity was heavy, Live feels like a ton of bricks. The band blasts through each track, absolutely destroying 'Superman's Dead' and injecting a whole new energy into nearly all their songs. They even showcase some new material, 'Whatever' and 'Our Time Is Fading'. The former is a little weak, but 'Our Time Is Fading' is an excellent, excellent throwback to the grungy sound of their debut Naveed. No real musical faults other than Taggart's drums being quite hard to make out behind the wall of guitar.
Lyrics — 8
With his recent change vocally, I was curious to see how Raine Maida would hold up in a live situation. The opener 'All For You' didn't impress, he came off as tired and his voice lagged behind on several occasions. With my hopes slightly diminished I moved onto track 2 'Superman's Dead'. Raine delivered, his deeper vocals ran along perfectly with the crunching guitars. The sheer power of his formerly juvenile singing nearly overwhelms, he seems much more confident, commanding not only himself, but the legions of fans in dedicated sing-alongs while strutting around shouting encouragements. His singing also suits softer tracks much better, 'Clumsy' in particular. But Raine Maida, for all his improvements, has fallen into a self-imposed trap by adopting a new singing style. He can no longer reach the incredible pitch he once could, and the band suffers for it, his "Why!"'s on 'Superman's Dead' sound terribly forced, and even perennial classic 'Starseed' loses it's steam because of his voice, which almost sounds bored at some times during the performance. Maida is a mixed bag throughout, bringing down the house on some tracks, singing plain badly on others.
Overall Impression — 8
Many fans would have enjoyed a live CD from the Clumsy or Naveed era, when the band was still really trying to make it and the insane energy of Mike Turner's guitar and Raine Maida's old vocals still permeated every song. Considering that isn't possible 'Live' is a solid CD, most of the tracks are very enjoyable. Raine Maida remains the band's big liability, for he fluctuates rapidly from song to song. I was disappointed to learn that several tracks weren't included on 'Live', chiefly 'The Birdman' and 'Do You Like It', so if you're real hardcore try picking up the 'Live' DVD, which I believe includes those. The highlights, 'Superman's Dead', 'Naveed/Life', 'Our Time Is Fading', 'Clumsy' and 'Starseed'.