Style : Progressive metal
Rating : 3¼ / 5
Summary : Good, not their best. A good entry point to Queensr˙che and a must-have for enthusiasts.
Funny thing about live albums: One of the best things about them is also one of the worst things about them. Think about it. The first time you hear a really great live CD you feel as if you’re right in the middle of the audience, yelling and cheering and reveling in all that brilliant music. You’re swept up in that applause and enthusiasm and by the time the CD stops spinning you’re exhausted! The downside? Well – those albums have a limited lifespan. That crowd participation thing will only work for you so many times before it gets old and you start thinking that enough of your time has been absorbed by the frontman whipping the crowd into a frenzy and … “hey, just shut up and sing!”
Funny thing about Queensr˙che’s The Art Of Live album: One of the best things about it is also one of the worst things about it. See, there’s almost no crowd participation at all and you’re left wondering if you’ve been short-changed. On the other hand, you can spin this one again and again!
Geoff Tate was classically trained in opera before turning to metal, and the young Tate’s faultless delivery and awesome range were legendary. Tate the elder is still very good but, sadly, no longer brilliant. The Art Of Live is nicely produced with good songs played well. Tribe had a song called “The Art Of Life” which inspired this album’s title, and you’ll need an appreciation of that record to enjoy this one. During the Tribe Tour in 2003 and 2004, sans DeGarmo, Queensr˙che co-headlined with Dream Theater and the two bands would sometimes cover each others’ tunes. That was a lot of fun and a fascinating exercise, but you won’t hear any of it. This is 14 tracks of Queensr˙che’s progressive metal compositions, 6 from Tribe and the rest spanning most of their 20-plenty year career. The song selection won’t please all Queensr˙che fans since many perennial classics are absent, but let’s face it, how many re-recordings of “Silent Lucidity” can you really stand?
After listening to it again while writing this – thank goodness they decided to trim those audience clips after all. This one probably isn’t quite as good as Operation Livecrime, but it definitely grows on you.