Live at Palais is one of the rare concert recordings released by Michael "Papa Nez" Nesmith. In the early '90s, when the rest of his back catalog was being issued on CD, Nez refused to allow the disc to be included in overhaul -- citing dissatisfaction with the performance. Due to the demand of enthusiasts worldwide, consent was granted to not only reissue the disc, but also to compliment the package with nearly a half-hour of additional music. The material covered here is primarily derived from the half-dozen albums Nez did on RCA Records in the early '70s -- the singular exception being "Capsule" from the cryptically titled Infinite Rider on the Big Dogma long-player. A majority of the tracks are refugees from one of Nesmith's most fertile creative periods in the late '60s, just prior to leaving the Monkees. "Calico Girlfriend," "Propinquity," "Some of Shelly's Blues," "Crippled Lion," and "Listen to the Band" are all tunes Nesmith recorded as both a Monkee and solo artist. On Live at Palais, Nesmith's folk-tinged originals are replaced by electric and decidedly more emotive renderings. While much of the folksy spirit remains, songs such as "Calico Girlfriend" and "Some of Shelly's Blues" have matured -- featuring the essence of the Southwest Americana that Nesmith's music so aptly depicts. The bonus material is as strong as -- if not arguably more potent than -- the Palais performance. From a 1981 show at the Armadillo World Headquarters in Austin, TX, comes another, albeit heavier, version of "Grand Ennui" as well as the only live version of the previously mentioned "Capsule." The other pair of bonus tracks is from a concert sponsored by Gretsch Guitars in 1995. Incidentally, Nesmith owned one of only three electric 12-string Gretsch guitars manufactured in the mid- to late '60s. His affinity is obvious and translates into some outstanding music ranging from the tender "Crippled Lion" to the raucous "Listen to the Band." Live at Palais is only available through Nesmith's online mail order www.videoranch.com site.
AllMusic Review by Lindsay Planer