Pat Benatar

From the Front Row: Live

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The 13-track DVD-audio album From the Front Row: Live dates back to Pat Benatar's early -- and arguably best -- days. Recorded in Austin, TX, in 1981 during the tour to support her Precious Time album, From the Front Row contains the cream of Benatar's first three albums. By the time of this tour, In the Heat of the Night and Crimes of Passion had established her not only as a star, but as an important member of the genealogy of female rockers. Though Benatar always had one eye on the pop charts, this album shows she was a born rocker at heart. Hits like "Heartbreaker," "Treat Me Right," "You Better Run," and the now-anthemic "Hit Me With Your Best Shot," benefit greatly from the 5.1 Surround Sound of this disc. Benatar's band is tight and her voice hits all the notes dead center, with the final effect being close-to-studio versions of the songs while still giving them that live-performance edge. The ten-minute version of "In the Heat of the Night" drags a little, but it's the sole flat spot. On a more general level, From the Front Row would have been more powerful if it had been given an organic feel, but no effort has been made to disguise the fact that the tracks are not flowing in natural order at the same concert. Still, this is an excellent disc for anybody wanting to get high-quality audio of this significant artist kicking out the jams in her heyday.

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