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Lillian Axe Live 2002

By Larry Petro, News Monkey
Friday, August 16, 2002 @ 5:46 PM

(Red & Gold Records)

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I came, I saw, and I made my voice heard on this CD! First off, I want to extend a huge thanks to Mike Pruneda of The 19th Hole, Mitch Wintner of Red & Gold International, and the guys in Lillian Axe for being so gracious in providing me with a copy of this new live disc a full 3 weeks before its scheduled release date of August 20th. They all went out on a limb with nothing more than my word that I wouldn’t burn massive copies of this CD and that it would never leave my possession. Hell, the latter part was a no brainer because this CD will probably never leave the confines of my truck, much less slip into anyone else’s hands (much to the chagrin of my wife, Lea), save for the time when the disc becomes so worn out that it will no longer be read by the player.

When I think of live albums, the first ones that come to mind are Iron Maiden’s Live After Death and Kiss’s Alive! To me, those live discs are the standard by which most others are graded. Lillian Axe Live 2002 for me has achieved this status as well. I know some of you detractors are thinking ‘You’ve got to be fucking kidding me!’ but I judge live discs both by quality and content and, of course, if I liked the band in the first place. This disc meets all of the above criteria. What the band has managed to do is provide their fans with 2 things that they have always clamored for; 1) A live disc of their favorite band, and 2) A collection of the most popular songs of the band’s career together in one offering. And Lillian Axe fans worldwide will not be disappointed with this effort. Oh, and one other thing. Unlike the above mentioned live albums, and a lot of others for that matter, where the band culls recordings from several shows and puts together the best ones, this disc was done in ONE TAKE, ONE SHOW. In order to pull off a feat of this magnitude, think about it, you have to play the absolute best show of your life or subject the fans to one of the worst overdubbed pieces of trash ever recorded. I was there on May 4th, 2002 when this was recorded, and I can truly say that this disc is as close to the real show as you will ever get! With only the most minimal of overdubs and the crowd noise left completely untouched, this disc is awesome!

Disc 1

Misery Loves Company
All’s Fair in Love and War
The World Stopped Turning
Letters in the Rain
Waiting in the Dark
Pullin’ the Rats Out
Ghost of Winter
Fool’s Paradise

From the opening chants of “Lillian Axe” to the opening notes of guitar wizard Steve Blaze, the listener is hooked. The band did a great job of putting together this set list, not getting too bogged down in ballads or lumping the hard rockin’ tunes together, it provides nice balance. Disc one is weighted a little more heavily toward the band’s earlier material, with only 3 songs coming from releases after Love and War. I have always thought Steve to be a great guitarist, but after listening to him play on this disc I have a new found respect for his sheer talent. The guy can rip it up!

Disc 2

Nobody Knows
Sign of the Times
Show a Little Love
Voices in My Walls
The Day I Met You
Those Who Prey
Dream of a Lifetime
Become a Monster
True Believer

Once again, the first song on the disc gets you going. “Crucified” grabs you by the ‘nads and doesn’t let go. There’s a couple of real slow ballads on this disc, but the band does justice with the inclusion of both. The first, “Nobody Knows” will bring a chill up your spine when you hear how clearly the crowd sings the chorus parts, and “The Day I Met You” showcases the fact that vocalist Ron Taylor has little over the years. This disc is geared a little more toward their last domestic release, Psychoschizophrenia, with 5 tunes coming from that disc alone and 1 other coming from the import Fields of Yesterday, that being “Become a Monster,” which as I write this is getting some major requests and airplay, especially in Dallas on radio station KEGL. Given he fact that this is a Clear Channel Station, expect to hear this tune on other stations around the country. That tune fucking rocks!

The CD cover insert is nicely done as well. The cover folds out to 7 panels, with one entire side having photos of the band, fans with the band, and other memorabilia spanning their entire career. Fans were encouraged to send in any photos they had of the band and from what I understand, all photos sent in were used in this insert. The picture my wife and I had taken with the band outside the 19th Hole last year was included, so I know they meant what they said. The reverse side of the fold out has individual members concert pictures overlaid with the gratuitous thank-yous, song listing, band information and the like. All in all, it was very tastefully done. As of August 1st, they had 8,000 copies of this disc pre-ordered, which may not seem like much by today’s standards, but is huge given the fact that the band has not toured extensively in years and even then not been much outside of Texas. This is also testament to all of the fans worldwide that love this band. I think the band summed it up best with this passage, which is printed on the last page of the insert:

“It has been a long and wonderful journey since the inception of Lillian Axe, filled with countless ups and downs and amazing stories too numerous to recall. We have gone through changes, taken breaks, toured like beasts, and lived to the extreme, but we’ve always kept the music first. Now that we are back in business, we decided to give you something we’ve been asked for since we started: a live album.

“This is a testament to the dedication and perseverance of our fans all over the world. We worked very hard on this to give the best representation of a live show, filled with loud, intense music and equally loud insane fans. This is a token of appreciation to all the True Believers.

“Thank You.”

Once again, this double CD set will be released on August 20th, 2002 and is priced as a single disc, so what more could you ask for as a fan of the band? I feel so privileged to have gotten to know the band over these past few years and I so look forward to knowing them for many years to come. Long live the Axe!

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