Sound: After a 5-year hiatus, the Family Values Tour made it's long-awaited return to the concert circuit in 2006 with the creators of the tour, Korn, headlining the comeback. The accompanying live CD for the tour could have easily been just another in a long line of concert albums, but it does do a satisfying job of translating the intensity of the live show. On top of choosing a track list of entertaining cuts from the tour, it also features fantastic vocal clarity that isn't easy to get on a live CD.
Even if you didn't get the opportunity to see this year's Family Values Tour, after hearing the 2006 live CD you might find yourself possibly wanting to check out the show when it hits your town next year. While other concert tours may only feature one song per band, the Family Values CD is able to fit a few songs from each of the main stage performers (Stone Sour, Dir en grey, and Flyleaf among them). This is a godsend if you only went to see the tour because of, say, Korn or Deftones in the first place and didn't necessarily want to sit through the set of one of others on the line-up. Korn is given the most time on the CD without a doubt, but the band did give birth to the tour, so I suppose they have the right to take up as much space as they'd like. Thankfully, frontman Jonathon Davis sounds better than ever, with his vocals even clearer than they were on Korn's latest DVD Live On The Other Side.
There are several highlights on the record, but one stands out from the rest. Check out Shoots And Ladders/Wicked from Korn and featuring Chino Moreno from the Deftones. I can't recall if the song was done in the finale or not, but it's a high-energy track that epitomizes all that is memorable in a concert. The song starts out with Davis' trademark bagpipes and by the time it gets to the Wicked half, it quickly turns into a rapid-fire rap-metal fusion. The accompanying music is right on target, but it's the vocalists that really drive the song.
Not all bands from the second stage have tracks on Family Values Tour 2006, with Bury Your Dead, Bullets and Octane, and Walls of Jericho left out of the mix. However, 10 Years has 2 solid tracks and Deadsy comes out fairly strong with Carrying Over. It would have been nice to hear at least one track from the bands that didn't make it on the record, but at the same time it does allow diehard fans of Korn to have another 5 live tracks from the band added to their CD library. // 9
Lyrics: The Family Values Tour has personified the feelings of angry youth for multiple years, and the 2006 live CD contains choice tracks to keep the tradition alive. Right Now by Korn starts the CD off with it's general pissed-off and discontented lyrical content. Davis sings, I'm feeling mean today; Not lost, not blown away; Just irritated and quite hated; Self control breaks down; Why's everything so tame? Sure, some might not call them the most unique words, but they are exactly what are needed to kick off the mood of a Family Values concert CD.
A cool change comes with the Japanese band Dir en grey. The band's 2 featured tracks are both in Japanese and offer something culturally different, but the delivery still is as intense as the American bands on the bill. I was able to locate a translation of Dir en grey's Ryoujoku No Ame, and it keeps to the general discontented view heard in a lot of the CD's songs. Vocalist Kyo sings, My hope fades away from the angry tears; Even the strength to live; In a fit of passion I go crazy with grief; And so, I pray to the setting sun. In all honesty, it's just as interesting to hear the lyrics when they remain in their original Japanese language. It's all about the delivery. // 9
Overall Impression: In terms of audio quality, the vocals sound crystal clear, probably more so than if you heard them through the usual sound system in person. While the guitars and rhythm section don't ever reach the level of clarity as the vocals, at the same time they never get pushed to the very back or too muddy-sounding.
While some listeners might accuse the Family Values Tour 2006 of having way too many Korn tracks on it, the band is still the main headliner. Korn did create the tour in the first place, and it's likely that the majority of Family Values attendees were interested in seeing Korn first and foremost. It's unfortunate that the Deftones couldn't have been given a bit more of the spotlight, however, because they absolutely hold their own against Korn. In the end, Korn is a pro when it comes to creating a memorable concert experience and the Family Values Tour 2006 CD is a fun way to relive it. // 8