The Spencer Davis Group's Live in Manchester 2002 finds the same nine songs that appear on the DVD counterpart, yet this CD plays very well as a stand-alone. In fact, without the video presentation as a distraction, the listener gets a sense of how great a pop/blues unit the Spencer Davis Group is even without the talents of a Steve Winwood. Opening with "Keep On Running," this Angel Air release delivers solid musical performances that provide clear evidence why Davis deserves more credit for his contributions than he receives in America and elsewhere around the globe. "When I Come Home" and "Every Little Bit Hurts" could be the performances of a streamlined Allman Brothers Band. "San Francisco Bay" relies on Colin Hodgkinson's bass and creates a bridge between the boom boom boom found on "Dimples" and the smooth consistent groove of "Somebody Help Me." Producer Jimmy Miller, along with original keyboard/vocalist Winwood, created the song "I'm a Man," which extends beyond the Top Ten 1967 chart hit much like the group Chicago's various jams. At eight and a half minutes, it rivals some of Pete Cetera and company's various explorations of this coming-of-age saga. "Gimme Some Lovin'," the song that launched the group in the U.S. in January 1967, concludes this fine set in similar fashion, though at about half the length. The 12-page booklet contains drummer Pete York's extensive liner notes as well as mini bios of the bandmembers. Short and very sweet, this is good stuff.
AllMusic Review by Joe Viglione