Recorded, with perfect timing, just as Status Quo hit their live peak, 1977's double Live! album is, contrarily, a timeless reminder of just how much power and excitement was bound up in the band through the mid-'70s -- and on, in fact, into the early '80s. It would be several years before Status Quo turned into the faintly embarrassing cabaret singalong that scarred the latter years of their career, a fact that Live! broadcasts via a picture-perfect snapshot of the last calm before that particular storm. Touring to support 1976's Blue for You (U.S. title Status Quo) album, the band is still reaching back to the dawn of the decade for material. "Junior's Wailing" and "In My Chair" both date back to the tentative days of 1970, as the band prepared to slide from psych to boogie without knowing whether there was even an audience for such a shock. The fact that there was, of course, would be celebrated with some of the most visceral singles of the decade. "Roll Over Lay Down," "Rain," "Don't Waste My Time," and, most impressively, "Caroline" all slough off well-loved 45s, to be transformed into veritable showstoppers, while the LP epics "Forty-Five Hundred Times" and "Roadhouse Blues" receive marathon workouts that all but defy gravity. The mid-'70s were a golden age for double live albums, and from Frampton Comes Alive! to Thin Lizzy's Live and Dangerous, the era is littered with what now rank as classics. Live! effortlessly takes its place alongside those most hallowed of halcyon howlers, and no matter what else Status Quo might have become in later years, this is what they sounded like before that happened. Priceless.
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AllMusic Review by Dave Thompson
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2