Marc Almond

Live at the Union Chapel: December 12, 2000

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Marc Almond has utilized his website to release a number of live albums. This album was a continuation in that series, and it is one of the best. This is Almond at his finest in concert. Accompanied by long-term collaborators Neal X and Martin Watkins, Almond does what he does best, belting out torch songs with a touch of melancholy and a sense of humor. On this release, Almond dips into all aspects of his solo career. Oddly enough, there are no Soft Cell songs here, but that hardly matters when one has such wonderful songs as "Caroline Says" (a Lou Reed song Almond recorded on the first Marc & the Mambas album, Untitled), "Tragedy," and "Heart in Velvet." While a number of the songs are from his then-current release Open All Night, fans are treated to early versions of "Moonbathe Skins" and "Under Your Wing," which sound fresh and exciting compared to the studio versions recorded the next year for the studio album Stranger Things. Almond is in fine voice and the arrangements are tight and interesting. While this may not convert new fans, it is a wonderful album that many would enjoy. The only drawback is the relatively poor recording. The mix is muddy and this does distract at times. The sound is not unlike a bootleg.

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