Don't know if the world was waiting or even ready for an in-concert Berlin record, but Berlin Live: Sacred and Profane holds more guts than expected considering the vast keyboard capacity of Terri Nunn's vehicle. Berlin's always been about Nunn's visuals and vocalizing, and, give the girl credit -- her presence brought her fame. Here, Nunn shines like the tarnished star she is, scarred but smarter from her heady '80s heyday. And, let's get real, even stripped of the tasty trappings provided by Berlin's extensive army of supreme production talent (Ezrin, Moroder, Zito), "Masquerade," "No More Words," and "The Metro" are supernovas of wavy radio. With more distortion, Nunn's divorce song "Steps" could pass for a Drill bit or a caustic cut by any of the other spastic femme fatale formations of the '90s. Three studio cuts (worked over by Gilby Clarke) are tacked on, and "Xgirl" shows Berlin hasn't missed a beat (No doubt co-author Charlotte Caffey of the Go-Go's helps tons.). A run through the sublime "Shayla" reveals Nunn's obvious roots, as Blondie's impact on girl rock forever stretches through history (however, the added rap also reveals the same painful ambition). But Nunn has her own legacy of music to be proud of, and one could do much worse than sharing these songs with her for an hour; they made her notorious for a reason, and the melodies remain sharp, haunting, and hot. Some greats from the Berlin oeuvre are missing (guess a Ted Nugent walk-on for "Trash" is too much to ask for), but Berlin's always been too forward-looking to just drop a live greatest hits (Best of Berlin remains a vital purchase.). Berlin Live: Sacred and Profane is a surprise treat from an unlikely concert attraction.
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AllMusic Review by Doug Stone