Friday, 7 August 2015

Live on Air (2012)


The Van Morrison Live on Air album is a confusing selection of tracks.   The set list seems like it's from Van's 1973 show at the Rainbow Theater with the Caledonia Soul Orchestra. While there are a number of tracks from that show included on this disc, other tracks come from different live shows that span Van's career. Recorded at several concert and club dates in 1973, Live on Air offers a wide swath of mostly strong performances but generally weak or flawed fidelity. 

Sounding very much like a worn-out cassette of an old radio broadcast, there's a certain charm to some of these recordings that adds to the already loose and cavalier air of Morrison's shows. The band and Morrison's voice alike are in top form, sounding relaxed to the point of laziness at times, but always in the groove. To the collection's detriment, however, crowd noise, distorting peaks, and washy compression all add to the sometimes annoying "live sound" traits that generally put some listeners off live albums. 

Some of it sounds like it was sourced from low bit-rate MP3's and there are no notes or credits at all included in the package. I have copies of copies of bootlegs that sound better and have been assembled with more care and effort. 
Like most Live on Air releases, the disc was recorded "track at once" (gaps between the tracks) which makes it sound like a live greatest hits compilation rather than a 'concert recording'. Here is how the track list breaks down:
1 - Warm Love from Musikladden, Bremen, West Germany July 10, 1974
2- Take Your Hands Out of My Pocket - from Rainbow Theatre, London 1973
3 - Here Comes the Night (this is really Here Comes the Knight) - ??
4- I Just Want to Make Love to You - from Rainbow Theatre, London 1973
5 - Brown Eyed Girl - from Austin City Limits, November 18, 2006
6 - Moonshine Whiskey - from Rainbow Theatre, London 1973
7 - Moondance - from Rainbow Theatre, London 1973
8 - Help Me - from Rainbow Theatre, London 1973
9 - Domino - from Rainbow Theatre, London 1973
10 - Caravan - from Rainbow Theatre, London 1973
11 - Cyprus Avenue - from Ireland 1979
12 - Wild Night - from Pacific High Studios 1971



Live on Air 2012

Release Date   -   January 10, 2012
Label   -   Blueline / IMV / IMV Blueline / XXL Media
Format   -   audio CD
Duration   -   01:02:21


Listener Comments
Bill   -   The quality of this CD is unacceptable. There are other live Van CDs available, and I strongly recommend you pass on this one. I should've known better!
Lance B. Judd   -    Wow, this disc is terrible. I completely concur with the previous reviewer. Amateurishly put together and it might be an exaggeration to call it low-fi. It sounds like a real bad audience bootleg. On top of this, the performance(s) is mostly uninspired and sloppy, although the SQ of the disc may have something to do with my impression.
Wayne Randall Morrison   -   Let me tell you, there are tons of Van Morrison bootlegs out there, many of them are EXCEPTIONAL, so do not waste your money or your time listening to this one. The packaging tells you it's gonna be cheap and lousy, yet you hope for the best. NO credits, NO info on where or when it was recorded, and if you have any interest in this era of Van, 1973 just purchase the superb It's Too Late To Stop Now from the same tour...it is the official Warner Bros. release, and it is AWESOME!!
I was hoping for some lost gems here, but the performances are just nothing special. If you have seen Van a few times or listened to any of his official live releases, or even a few of the exceptional bootlegs, you have heard Van SO MUCH better than this.
And the recording quality is AWFUL!!! I mean TRULY awful.
Sounds like all the flutter of a very bad cassette tape that has been left on your dashboard about 39 years!! There are breaks between the songs, no FLOW to the concert. Some of them start a few notes into the song, and WOW are they LOUSY! Seriously, no matter how big a fan you are of Van The Man, and I have seen him at least 20 times, and own at least 20 bootleg CDs (my favourite being the one with his version of Send In The Clowns - "send 'em on...send 'em onnnn...send 'em on IN! Send 'em on INNNNN!") you will NOT enjoy the seriously awful quality of this recording...it is nothing special as far as performance, and certainly not worthy of listening to as the volume flutters in and out like you are listening to a CHEAP cassette.
DON'T BUY IT!!!
There are SO MANY other bootlegs out there that are EXCELLENT!
This is about the WORST! I have not heard anything this bad by Van in concert before, but it's not so much the performances, it's the 1 on a scale of 1 to 1,000 sound quality that makes it suck!!!
Mark McCabe   -   Do not purchase this product. It is a wretched bootleg with very inferior sound. I have heard better bootlegs from the underground Van Morrison collectors. This was a complete RIP OFF. Buyer beware. I'd love my 16 dollars back.
John Wright   -   A very disappointing CD. Yes it clearly highlights Van at his peak, but the quality of this disc leaves a lot to be desired. It is poor bootleg quality at best. I wish I had seen the other reviews prior to ordering this CD. Only of value as a missing CD in a collection.
The Cappuccino Kid   -   This doesn't even seem like a legit Van-approved release...wonder what the deal is...probably worth ordering immediately in case he puts a stop to it...

Anonymous   -   Live on Air has some tracks starting midsong or in a jarring blast of audience cheers. These audio drawbacks are most noticeable on Morrison's biggest hits. Brown Eyed Girl proves hard to re-create as magically as the studio version and Moondance is an utter failure, with Van sounding like every cliché of a drunk schmaltzy Vegas lounge singer as he mutters, slurs, and sloppily stumbles his way through a hissily recorded shamble. Even for archivists, Live on Air is a bit of a chore to listen to at times, and casual fans should avoid it at all costs.

Clarkophile   -   This looks dubious.

Craig   -   Live at the Rainbow Theatre 1973. One of the concerts used for the live album It's Too Late To Stop NowThis is probably taken from the 1974 BBC video broadcast. Audio and video booted multiple times.

mfp   -   Actually there are images on youtube of Van that seem to be from the It's Too Late To Stop Now era. It's Too Late To Stop Now has always been one of my favourite live albums ever! I'd been dreaming of seeing images of these shows. 

rstamberg   -   Sure, it's a pirated recording (technically, it's not a bootleg), but some of these LIVE ON AIR CDs are really, really excellent i.e., RY COODER LIVE ON AIR, which is indispensable. Some, however, are crap-ola, a la YES LIVE ON AIR, which is unlistenable.  Always avoid any IMV Blueline/XXL DVDs (which Amazon also sells, BTW). They're unwatchable.

ljuddpro   -   Just a heads up, I've heard the disc and it is unlistenable. Save your money.

Marjo Mustafa   -   I own it but I'm a completist. I don't mistakes. 

factory44   -   Unlistenable?! I'm not sure what you're talking about. My CD arrived on Tuesday and I've been playing it ever since. It doesn't sound like a top notch live album (like It's Too Late To Stop Now) but these tracks were most definitely professionally recorded. Sounds very much like an early 70's radio recording. Van's outstanding vocals are clear and prominent in the mix. If you're a fan pick this up immediately!

ljuddpro   -   I do agree that Van's vocals are clear and prominent in the mix. However, the compromised rendering of instruments and tonal quality of the tracks are unacceptable to me. In addition, the editing of the disc is laughable as songs are clipped and run into each other with no attempt to get a smooth transition.  It may sound like an early 70's radio recording but to me it sounds like a bad mp3 download. It is the worst sounding CD that I own and I find it hard to believe it was professionally recorded.

factory44    -    If the music on this CD was not recorded professionally, such as an audience recorded bootleg, you would not hear the vocals (lead and backing) so clearly or any separation between the instruments. Is this release a bootleg? You bet. Is it an unlistenable audience recording? No way. If this disc is the worst sounding CD you own then I guess you aren't a big fan of "grey area" recordings. And there's nothing wrong with that. But for you to say this CD is unlistenable is misleading to say the very least.

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