There is a cleavage between Ne Zhdali's studio and live music. The latter tended to be a lot more frantic and open-ended. As leader Leonid Soybelman was devoting an increasing amount of time and energy to his new group, Kletka Red, the future of Ne Zhdali was left hanging in limbo, highly uncertain. To fill the gap, the German label No Man's Land released Live Rarities, Vol. 1, a collection of live tracks recorded between 1989 and 1995 (despite the title's promise, a second volume has yet to materialize). This album is for the fans only. Disregarding sound quality, the group dug into its archives to find numbers rarely performed, off-the-wall renditions, and moments of stage madness and free improvisation. The result is a treat for the aficionado but surely not the best place to start for the newcomer. The earliest recordings (1989-1990), pre-Rhinoceroses and Other Forms of Life, feature keyboardist Avi Nedzvetsky alongside the regular sextet. "Rhino I" opens the CD with a thunderous rereading of the group's classic. Attentive listeners will spot Soybelman weaving in a snippet of the Jewish tune "Another Glass of Wine," soon to be in Kletka Red's repertoire. "Mirror" is an unusually straightforward song, as yet undocumented. "March as March" is much more satisfying, a carnivalesque romper that would have fit well on Whatever Happens, Twist! Because it leaps through different periods of the band (with varying sound quality) and focuses on obscure material, Live Rarities, Vol. 1 is not the live album those lucky enough to have witnessed the band in the flesh hoped for. But it's better than nothing.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by François Couture