The problem with progressive rock artists recording live albums lies in the fact that the same feeling of wonderment, musical vastness, and escapism mustered on their studio releases is difficult to capture on-stage. Half of this dilemma plagues Nektar's Live in New York release recorded in 1977, while the rest of the album's disappointments stem from the group's removal of their early-'70s progressive sound altogether. The nine cuts that make up Live in New York fail to show the true essence of their progressive beginnings, with the songs embellishing more of a straight-ahead rock & roll style. Gone are the long keyboard wanderings, the abstract guitar trips that spiral into the rest of the musical interplay, and the fantastic ambience that was once formed by the music's overall trippiness. By this time, Nektar's sound was shed of any distinctness that it once touted, presenting average-sounding pieces such as "Woman," "Good Ol' Rock'N Roll," and "Show Me the Way" without much flair or excitability. Some redemption can be found on the 15 minutes of "A Day in the Life of a Preacher," which best resembles their early style, and in "King of Twilight," a cut taken from 1972's A Tab in the Ocean album. After Roye Albrighton departed following their Recycled release, Nektar was never the same, and the regression of the rest of the band's chemistry can easily be regarded here. The album sounds messy and cluttered, with a disorganized feel coming mostly from the guitar playing and from the minimal enthusiasm of the group -- and many of the pressings of Life in New York suffer from poor production as well. While the album may be of interest to die-hard fans, Nektar's true progressive essence can be better felt through most of their studio albums.
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AllMusic Review by Mike DeGagne