When .38 Special performed at the Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, NY on January 28, 1985, they weren’t exactly at the peak of their career, but they weren’t in a valley either. A few years removed from the breakthrough 1981 album Wild-Eyed Southern Boys, the sextet was in the process of slowly stripping away the Southern elements from its sound, turning toward an arena rock that was quite appealing when it came to the 1984 hit “Back Where You Belong” but less so on 1986’s Strength in Numbers. This concert -- for some reason released as part of Universal’s ongoing Authorized Bootleg series -- was given between those two events and it does feel like a transition: the material is strong but the performances are creeping toward the perfunctorily professional, exhibiting a lot of finesse and not much passion. It’s still entertaining, particularly when the group performs its biggest hits, but it’s never especially captivating -- so much so that it’s puzzling why this OK show was granted an official release.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine