10,000 Maniacs

Our Time at the Greek

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For 10,000 Maniacs, the departure of lead singer Natalie Merchant in 1993 was comparable to the departures of Ozzy Osbourne from Black Sabbath, David Lee Roth from Van Halen, Lionel Richie from the Commodores, and Jeffrey Osborne from LTD -- it wasn't the nail in the band's creative coffin, but it was a major loss that signaled the end of their peak years. While 10,000 Maniacs' post-Merchant output isn't without merit, many fans would agree that the band's most essential work was recorded when Merchant was still on board. Though Merchant was getting ready to move on when this bootleg was recorded at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles in 1993 (only two years before the release of her first solo album Tigerlily), she doesn't sound bored or restless -- actually, she sounds quite inspired on these performances. If anything, Merchant gives the impression that she is giving 100 percent because she wants to end her association with 10,000 Maniacs on a positive note. When this CD was recorded, the band's most recent album was Our Time in Eden -- which turned out to be Merchant's final studio album with 10,000 Maniacs -- and the title Our Time at the Greek is a play on Our Time in Eden. Not surprisingly, material from that 1992 release is a high priority, although the band also pays a lot of attention to favorites from 1989's Blind Man's Zoo and 1987's In My Tribe. Although not up to audiophile standards, the sound quality is decent -- and Our Time at the Greek, despite that imperfection, manages to capture the vitality of Merchant's final American tour with 10,000 Maniacs.

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