In London

Al Jarreau

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In London Review

by Richard S. Ginell

This is a snapshot of Al Jarreau a few years after achieving pop stardom, caught live before a large crowd at London's Wembley Arena. In contrast with the lean, dynamically subtle backup band on the earlier live Look to the Rainbow, here Jarreau arms himself with a flashy, heavily electronic R&B/funk band with horns, and subtlety often goes out the window in favor of high-energy showmanship. Unlike his studio albums from this period, though, this concert allows him a little bit of room to display glimpses of his famous vocal acrobatics. The set starts with a burst of high-tech pizzazz on "Raging Waters" and "Black and Blues" and ultimately settles into a partying groove with "Roof Garden" and "We're In This Love Together." Though the concert makes for a pleasurable listen in the home, Warner could not capture the intimate connection that the live Jarreau made with his audiences in any of his periods, so one feels a bit removed from the action. The video version of the concert, by the way, contains a few songs that were not available on the audio release.

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