It is never a good sign when a live album begins with a snippet of David Rose's "The Stripper," and that's surely the case with Rod Stewart's 1982 album, Absolutely Live. This captures Rod at a particularly awkward stage, as his recordings were gradually becoming the commercial-minded dreck that many critics had claimed they were for years. Despite the negative press of his late-'70s albums, they often had their moments, but Stewart lost his way in the early '80s, becoming glossier. That's evident on this live album, where he sounds like he's going through the motions, even as he digs out such chestnuts as "Rock My Plimsoul." This isn't unlistenable, but it's stilted and slick, losing much of the joie de verve that marked Rod at his best. It's the first bland, worthless record Stewart released, the first that felt like sheer product.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine