Sammy Hagar / Sammy and the Wabos

Live: Hallelujah

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AllMusic Review by

For his first live album in about 20 years, Sammy Hagar, according to his liner notes for Hallelujah, originally wanted to capture a full concert, but since that ran nearly three hours, he scrapped that and culled highlights from a St. Louis gig in 2001 and selected shows from his co-headlining tour with David Lee Roth in 2002, when Van Halen bassist Michael Anthony was part of the band. Hagar worked out a neat trick where he sequenced the album like an album, not a concert, but retained the raw, live, feel of a concert. And, make no mistake, this is a raw, loud recording -- over-amplified guitars, vocals sung from the gut, everything turned to 11. It has a visceral punch, particularly since "the Red Rocker" admirably decided to retain mistakes, but the sound is so overloaded and bright that it's tiring to listen to for an extended period. That may sound like an endorsement to some -- that it's nothing but pile-driving, hard-driving rock & roll, man! -- but the full-blare dynamics, while sounding as if you're at the front row of a concert, are hard to take through a stereo system at home. As this suggests, though, this is much harder rocking than anybody would have expected from a 55-year-old rocker, and it does capture the wild, hedonistic night out at a Sammy Hagar concert. But just remember -- they're called nights out for a reason.

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