Live in Concert

by: Natalie Merchant

Natalie Merchant is without a doubt one of the most unique voices in rock & roll. Her delivery is unmistakable, and from her years as lead singer for 10,000 Maniacs to her illustrious solo career, Merchant has never once failed to deliver passionate, powerful pop and rock songs that keep listeners humming the melody lines long after the music ends. On Live in Concert, Merchant delivers alternate live versions of some of her best-loved songs, including the excellent "Wonder," along with "Ophelia," "Beloved Wife," and "Carnival." The album was recorded live in New York City on June 13, 1999. Merchant is once again backed by her impressive band, which shines on all of her self-penned compositions including "San Andreas Fault" and "Seven Years." Of the 11 cuts, the two cover tunes are perhaps the most appealing. Sure, all of the music is great, but it is always a pleasure to hear a talented vocalist take a turn at interpreting the music of another artist. With her cover of David Bowie's "Space Oddity," Merchant holds her audience captive, delivering the tale of Major Tom's plight in a way that would undoubtedly please the author beyond belief. Merchant also delivers a fine reading of Neil Young's classic "After the Gold Rush," another impressive delivery and a perfect song choice for her vocal adaptation. On this, her third solo album, Natalie Merchant continues to grow and mature as one of pop's most impressive vocalists, and Live in Concert serves as a nice interim piece of work. ~ Michael B. Smith

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