Noites Do Norte Ao Vivo

Caetano Veloso

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Noites Do Norte Ao Vivo Review

by Philip Jandovský

This is a live recording from Caetano Veloso's successful and critically acclaimed Noites do Norte ao Vivo tour. However, this double album received mixed critiques, even by the very same journalists who hailed the live concerts. On Noites do Norte ao Vivo, Veloso performs most of the songs from his Noites do Norte album, together with new versions of several of his older songs and, as usual, Veloso also interprets songs by other artists. Most of the older songs and covers performed here are radically different from those found on the original studio albums. On many tracks, the arrangements are very sparse, and Veloso is often backed solely by his own acoustic guitar playing. In general, though, the drum and percussion section of the band plays a very prominent role on this recording. Among the older material, there are several songs that Veloso has rarely performed live on-stage before, such as the magnificent "Tigresa," the Afro-Brazilian "Two Naira Fifty Kobo," and the catchy hit "Meia Lua Inteira." Although none of these live versions eclipse the original versions found on the masterful studio albums (Bicho and Estrangeiro) they are still very nice and interesting to hear live. Among the interpretations of other artists song, two especially outstanding tracks are the Afro-Brazilian percussion version of "Caminhos Cruzados" by Tom Jobim, and the surprising and beautiful version of Luiz Melodia's "Magrelinha." Veloso also does great interpretations of "Gatas Extraordinárias," a song that he originally wrote for rock singer Cássia Eller, and the rare and beautiful track "Dom de Iludir." At the end of that one he also adds a surprise rendition of "Tapinha," an ultra-commercial funk song by Naldinho. The big drawback with the album is the irritating noise from the crowd, singing along on several tracks, which may have been nice at the time, but is very disturbing to the CD listener. Thanks, though, to the great, and in many cases, rare or previously unreleased material performed here by the musical and poetical genius Caetano Veloso, Noites do Norte ao Vivo is still a good and very enjoyable album.

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