A couple of months after a disastrous flood in Grand Forks, ND, Soul Asylum came to town to play a joint prom for a couple of high schools at the Grand Forks Air Base hangar, which had been used as the refugee camp in the wake of the flood. This is the audio document of the event, and Soul Asylum's first live album -- in fact, at the time of its 2004 release, it was the first Soul Asylum non-compilation album of any sort since 1998's Candy from a Stranger. As a performance, it doesn't offer many surprises: it's well-played, well-recorded music emblematic of the time when much alternative rock had moved toward mainstream hard rock. The repertoire, thankfully, is more surprising, as the 18 songs -- while leaning heavily on material they recorded for their Columbia 1990s studio albums -- include a number of less-traveled items, some of which the band had done only on soundtracks and compilations. There are, for instance, covers of Marvin Gaye's "Sexual Healing," Lulu's "To Sir With Love," Alice Cooper's "School's Out" (the crowd-pleasing set opener), Johnny Nash's "I Can See Clearly Now," and, perhaps strangest of all, "Rhinestone Cowboy." It's hardly esoteric, though, also including runs through their hits "Runaway Train" and "Misery." As a live record, then, it succeeds in offering what both the average and more fanatical fans want, though some of Soul Asylum's most veteran followers might be disappointed by the absence of songs from the band's early career.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Richie Unterberger