Lene Lovich

Live from New York at Studio 54

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While it's better to have some Lene Lovich footage from her prime than nothing, it must be admitted that even Lovich fans will find this nearly-hour-long disc of a 1981 live performance disappointing in some important respects. Originally filmed for a television program (and not a high-budget one, from the looks of things), the footage is a little grainy and the camera work sporadically shaky. Most unfortunately, the sound balance isn't so good, and the element that suffers most is the crucial one, Lovich's singing. Whether it's the fault of the equipment being used on-stage, the sound equipment used by the film crew, or both, her vocals aren't as out-front as they should be, and specific lyrics are often slightly muffled and hard to understand. Add the fairly crude insertion of some special visual effects and audience interviews, and it's something of a cross between a real production and what you might expect from a bootleg. The performances themselves, however, are fine, with Lovich animatedly performing 11 songs that include some of her most popular tunes, among them "Home," "One in a Million," "Too Tender (To Touch)," "Say When," "New Toy," and "Lucky Number." Visually she's distinctive as well, her costume and hairstyle suggesting a cross between a punk, a cabaret singer, and the Swiss Heidi character. The band plays well with an affable stage presence that gladly concedes the spotlight to Lovich, although the backup group includes one member, Thomas Dolby, who would soon become a star in his own right. The only DVD extra is a brief rehearsal clip, with a Lovich voice-over taken from comments in an interview she gave.

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