Greatest Hits Live [Delta]

Marvin Gaye

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Greatest Hits Live [Delta] Review

by Steve Leggett

This live set is drawn from Marvin Gaye's 1983 tour, and while it is relatively well recorded (the crowd noise is a bit intrusive at times), only die-hard Gaye fans should bother. Although he was never less than charismatic on-stage, Gaye was most at home in the studio, where his soft and subtle vocal phrasings could be layered into amazingly expressive suites. For live performances he tended to strip his melodies down and resort to larger gestures (up to, and including, taking off his clothes) in a probably unavoidable attempt to be the consummate showman. While it is interesting to hear a live version of "Sexual Healing," one of Gaye's greatest songs, it is also obvious that the gentle tension that makes the song so arresting in its studio version gets dissipated here. Gaye hits the right notes, but the hushed intimacy is gone.

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