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No Substitutions: Live in Osaka Live

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Audio CD, Live, March 20, 2001
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

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Like 1990s guitar wonder-bands such as Los Lobotomys, Karizma, and L.A. Guitar Workshop, this live club recording from two session-masters is a lesson in controlled thuggery. Carlton has played some of the greatest electric solos ever, gunslinging for everyone from Joni Mitchell and The Crusaders to Steely Dan ("Kid Charlemagne") and LA Express. Ex-Toto axe-king Lukather made his name stoking the mega-rock flames, but has also plied his pick to recordings by Patti Austin, Herb Alpert, Chet Atkins, and America.

That fusion has fallen on hard times doesn't deter these two from giving their all in five numbers that display equal moments of bombast, artistry, and occasionally, brilliance. With drummer Greg Bissonette, bassist Chris Kent, and keyboardist Rick Jackson, the band kicks off with the testosterone-addled thump of "The Pump," which initially recalls some escapees from Def Leppard until they settle into a mellow, grand groove and a web of coiled solos. Lukather is more at home in this kind of shredding setting, but that gives Carlton plenty of space to do the lyrical, sensitive-guy thing, while both spin walls of heavy sound on the bruising shuffle, "Don't Give It Up." A reggae-ized "All Blues" sounds a bit street-worn, but then Carlton enters in an understated Jim Hall tone that transforms the song until a schizophrenic speed demon takes over and momentarily kills the intimate vibe. Though No Substitutions will be mostly be gobbled up by guitarists and latent fusion heads, it could also add fire to any listener desiring rocking music to play with the windows rolled down. --Ken Micallef


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Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 20, 2001)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Live
  • Label: Favored Nations
  • ASIN: B00005A3N0
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #156,415 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By SMM on March 28, 2001
Format: Audio CD
WOW! This CD is amazing! One can only wish they were present at the concert to hear the entire thing and get the incredible talent of Larry Carlton and Steve Lukather right in front of you! This has to be one of the best live albums I've ever heard. Luke and Larry have an incredible connection through their music here, each playing beautifully off each other, forming one incredible jam session, 2 distinct styles. From the opening notes of "The Pump" to the closing notes of "Room 335" Luke and Larry take the listener on a roller coaster of musical bliss that leaves you with goosebumps on your arms and the bitter taste of disappointment in your mouth that there isn't more! Any Larry Carlton or Steve Lukather/TOTO fans will LOVE this album. This is not one to miss out on! BUY IT NOW. (On a side note, I keep reading "Lukather - formerlly of Toto." Toto is still rockin strong.)
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Torquemada on April 12, 2001
Format: Audio CD
Steve Lukather's records have never been chart toppers, and Larry Carlton isn't, hasn't been, and will never be the same he was before he got hurt. So what ?
This is an unexpected union of two guitar players who both are, in their genre, institutions. The record starts with the standard "The Pump" (Jeff Beck, the hero of many), a cut I never get tired of listening to, to continue with a tonic "Give it up" and takes us through a journey where each of the two just have fun with their guitar (let's not kid ourselves, these guys can REALLY play !). Of course, you can argue that the record is worth it just because who they are and I did not beleive they would get together for a gig. But it is more than a collector's item because it still brings quality playing and a fun moment while driving your car or on a lazy afternoon. This is blues and rock'n'roll, with a marvelous and soulful softie in the middle ("only yesterday") which really turns you on from minute 4 or so.
The bad thing about this cd, as mentioned by another reviewer, is that it is only 53 minutes long. Why ? Mystery, because I am sure the show lasted twice as long and another couple of track could have been added to this cd, making it much better... I give four stars because of the benefit of the doubt.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Gabriele on July 31, 2001
Format: Audio CD
The curricula of the two guitarists speak for themselves. Just to remember: Toto, Crusaders, Steely Dan, Donald Fagen, Roger Waters, Karizma, Los Lobotomys, Fourplay. What could have they done together? Music, just music... but what a kind of music! This is the first time I hear so much power, feeling and technique joined together in a record that has became my favourite after the first notes i heard! If Jeff Porcaro was still alive he surely had been the drummer on this record, but he surely was on stage with them, blessing their chords!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Jay Benjamin on October 28, 2001
Format: Audio CD
This meeting of two of the best guitarists in existence is amazing. I'd rather listen to this recording than the G3 Live CD. Lukather and Carlton have such a great time jamming with each other, it really comes out in the music. This is a really fun CD (and a great guitar lesson!). Check out Los Lobotomys' self-titled CD (with Lukather) if you can find it; more great fusion there.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By James Caldwell on June 3, 2004
Format: Audio CD
The consumate album for people who appreciate excellence in modern guitar playing. Engineered by Steve Vai (no mean talent himself) it has some of the hottest guitar duels and counterpointing that I've heard in aeons.

This is a hot CD. Not to be missed by fans of good Jazz/Fusion/Rock guitar playing. Larry is *THE* premier session player of the late 20th Century - and Steve is very much the pupil.

An unforgettable listen - especially "The Pump". Don't miss it.

Addendum on 8 October 2004: There are three tracks missing from the original performance - according to Larry's webmaster and manager who was POSITIVE they were played on the night - and for the life of me I don't know why. They do a toasting-hot version of Jimi Hendrix's "Red House"; "Cause We've Ended As Lovers" is so magnificently subtle and plaintif, and "Little Wing" shows Lukather excelling. Why they were not included on the disk, who knows? Royalties???? Note all tracks were written by either Carlton or both of them, but strangely enough I've heard Jeff Beck do a version of "The Pump" years before this was released.

Steve Vai owns Favored Nation Records - the label this is released on. It's anyone's guess who had creative control, but the only thing wrong with the tracks which are left out is a rather off-color joke about Sammy Davis Jnr that Lukather sings as they retune. It could have been cut out.

RELEASE THEM MR CARLTON!!!!!!
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Format: Audio CD
From the first couple minutes of the opening track "The Pump", this recording promises a rock `em sock 'em shootout between two exceptional guitarists - a promise which is never really kept, although there's still plenty to like about this instrumental concert performance. While Carlton and Lukather never really meld, the turn-taking approach gives each guitarist plenty of space to do their own thing, and they do it very well. The percolating rhythm of "The Pump" and the equally energetic "Don't Give It Up" take us through 21 minutes of powerhouse guitar-playing with scarcely a letup. Lukather is really on fire during this first part of the set, while Carlton excels at quieter, more lyrical passages. The introspective "(It Was) Only Yesterday" is less energetic (read "boring") while Miles Davis' "All Blues" is over by the time it really gets going, but I guess somebody felt a change of pace was in order. The set closes with a jaunty "Room 335", that echoes of Steely Dan's "Peg".

Very highly recommended to devotees of fusion guitar who lean towards the rocky side. If you come from the jazzier side of the house, perhaps not so much. But even if it's not as great a recording as we might have hoped for, there's still plenty of hot guitar playing to satisfy your inner shredder.
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No Substitutions: Live in Osaka
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