It's taken close to 20 years into the CD era to get decent remasterings of Three Dog Night's catalog, and it says something about Universal Music, which owns that catalog, that none of the upgrades have come from them -- rather, Gottdiscs and now Edsel have brought these improved versions to the public. From a vantage point 30 years after their heyday, these reissues may not seem too important, but those of you old enough should remember that Three Dog Night at one point were achieving the kind of popularity only previously enjoyed by the Beatles and a handful of other groups, pulling in listeners from the ranks of teeny-boppers, college kids, and the then "underground" FM radio audience. Captured Live at the Forum was so ubiquitous that it turned up with astonishing regularity in the collections of kids who did a lot of acid and suburbanite teens who otherwise listened to the Carpenters and the Partridge Family. And with good reason: it was the album that proved this band was more than a radio phenomenon; that they could (and did) make as great music on stage as they did on their records, and their reputation was made from it. The remastering and the accompanying boost in clarity and volume makes the live Forum material seem all the more impressive, and is a reminder of precisely how great this group was in their early years, a pop/rock phenomenon that deserved both ends of their success and a lot of credibility. The Harmony material is a little less intense. The band had settled into a formula by then, a little more than a year later, and was more pop-focused, but they could still pile on virtuosity to match the versatility, and it's great to hear this material with the kind of presence it deserved in playback, so you can see why even some of the more questionable moments, such as "Never Dreamed You'd Leave Me in Summer," seem more justifiable.
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AllMusic Review by Bruce Eder