Love The Forever Changes Concert

Live albums are usually the bane of my existence. There are so many deliberate rip-offs and plain boring live albums put out every year that the thought of actually forking out hard-earned cash, let alone wasting my precious time reviewing a double live album by whatever-fucking-band-is-lame-enough-to-release-one sounds about as enticing as brushing my dog’s teeth. Maybe even less so. Which is what makes this live record stand out. Having never performed the classic 1967 album Forever Changes in a live setting, Arthur Lee finally brought his current backing band (made up of members of L.A.’s Baby Lemonade) and an eight-piece string and horn ensemble with him earlier this year, resulting in the recording of this album at London’s Royal Albert Hall. Of course, Lee spent more than five years behind bars in the U.S. on a trumped-up misdemeanour until his release in late 2001, so just the thought of ever seeing or hearing him perform any of these songs seemed slight at best. Unfortunately, Love’s other vocalist Bryan MacLean died of a heart attack in 1998, which means Lee is left to sing his songs live as well. And sing them he does. Thanks to the exceptional supporting cast surrounding Lee, this recording of the Forever Changes album does in its entirety is really quite fantastic. His range may not be exactly what it used to be, but Lee does his and MacLean’s songs justice, even if he does sound a bit like former Marillion vocalist Fish when singing MacLean’s "Old Man.” Also included as a bonus after the album’s completion are the singles "7 and 7 Is” and "Your Mind and We Belong Together,” the final single from the original Love band before Lee went all acid rock on the equally excellent Four Sail album (also recently reissued in a re-mastered, expanded format by Warner in the UK). (Snapper)