Throwing Copper made Live stars, but it didn't necessarily earn them respect. Evidently, the band thought that the problem lay with Jerry Harrison's crisp, commercial production, so they hired Jay Healey as a co-producer and set out to make a messy, hard-edged visionary statement. Unfortunately, Secret Samadhi fails like most self-conscious grand statements. Borrowing heavily from Jimmy Page's bag of tricks, Live spikes Secret Samadhi with Eastern-tinged strings, sitars, and powerful, overdubbed guitars. However, Ed Kowalczyk's lyrics and singing remain indebted to early U2 -- he wants to say something big in a big way. The two approaches sit together uncomfortably, especially since Live's spirituality is ill-defined and the songs lack hooks. "Lakini's Juice" is propelled by a slide guitar riff out of Physical Graffiti, but there isn't a vocal melody, and that's symptomatic of the album's failure. While the scope of Live's ambition is admirable, the music falls flat in execution, especially when compared to the clear-headed, earnest arena-oriented alt-rock of Throwing Copper.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine