The English Beat
Live at the US Festival '82 & '83
Hot on the heels of a very comprehensive box set covering almost their entire discography comes the English Beat's Live at the US Festival. The US Festival was sponsored by Apple Computer's Steve Wozniak and featured a surprising number of big names, such as U2, David Bowie, the Police and Talking Heads, and lost a huge amount of money, which is most likely why it only happened twice. The English Beat were invited both years, thanks to their burgeoning American following, which came via MTV exposure. They throw themselves into their performances, playing their hits with gusto, almost skipping their second album, and there's no denying they're fun to see live. By this point, they knew their material inside and out, and even though their days together were numbered, they didn't phone it in — they look like they were really enjoying themselves. The CD culls the best versions from both years, while the DVD has the full sets, apart from a couple of songs in 1982 that have been lost in the annals of time. Because only a year separates the two shows, there isn't much difference in the set lists, although the second show is a bit livelier when it comes to the onstage performance. That said, neither are particularly exciting to look at — the music is the main attraction — and while it's nice to have the DVD for the extra material, chances are it won't get more than a cursory viewing. This is one for completists rather than the casual fans.
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