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Roseland NYC Live Live

117 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Live, November 10, 1998
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Roseland NYC Live + Dummy + Portishead [Vinyl]
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Amazon.com

Usually, groups wait until they've released at least three or four records before putting out a live album, but PNYC was too good an idea for Portishead to turn down. Recorded with a full orchestra on a cold, rainy day shortly after the release of their second record, Portishead, the project doubled as a live album and the soundtrack for a BBC documentary. In addition to being economical and perhaps lucrative, the disc demonstrates how sampled and sequenced music can be re-created in concert without losing any of the charm or dynamics of the original recordings. All it takes is a 22-piece string section, some horns, and a band whose tightness is exceeded only by its creativity. At times the performances on PNYC sound even more breathtaking and cinematic than Portishead's original recordings, as humming theremin, skittery scratching, and gliding strings mingle with stealthy guitar lines and sultry vocals. For Portishead, sour times seem like a distant memory. --Jon Wiederhorn


Product Details

  • Audio CD (November 10, 1998)
  • Original Release Date: November 10, 1998
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Live
  • Label: Go Beat/London
  • ASIN: B00000DLV1
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (117 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #76,587 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

44 of 48 people found the following review helpful By fake name on July 12, 1999
Format: Audio CD
Normally I wouldn't post a review for an album that has over twenty perfectly credible reviews already, but I'm afraid something must be clarified: the songs on the PNYC live album are not "as good as" the album versions, as so many reviewers have said, but are in fact 30-70% BETTER than their studio counterparts (percentage varies for specific tracks). This mainly has to do with the intensity of the vocals. Maybe it's a natural side-effect of the live performance, maybe it's only a difference in volume, but to put it bluntly, it's hard to believe Beth Gibbons isn't singing with a sock over her face on "Dummy" and "Portishead" after hearing the insane amount of overtone, undertone, and just plain tone that come through on this recording. Whatever was sacrificed of Portishead's usual spooky, distant atmosphere by removing the muffler from Gibbons' voice is more than made up for by the emotion and clarity here. If you buy only one Portishead album this year (though i'd recommend two or three), this *is* the one to get.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Corky on December 18, 1999
Format: Audio CD
Some people like this CD, some people didn't. I, personally thought it was one of the best albums I've ever heard. It doesn't really sound live at all, except when the audience cheers,(And when they messed up Roads by clapping all through it.) All of the songs sound as if something has been added to give them more depth. Beth's voice sounds even more beautiful than on the original recordings. If you're new to Portishead and you can't decide on what album to get, buy this one. It has songs from both Dummy and Portishead on it and they sound fabulous. This CD remains my favorite even though I've listened to it thousands of times.
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22 of 27 people found the following review helpful By J. Manning on October 5, 2000
Format: Audio CD
First off, for a live album, the recording is outstanding. It's clear, balanced, and the acoustics are excellent. Obviously it's not on par with the ultra-produced "Dummy", but you have no right to expect better from a live performance.
Beth Gibbons's voice is much more fragile here. At the right emotional moments this can aid a song, but at other times you're trying to will her to hold a note she's straining for, such as in "Humming." There are, however, songs where she seems to be in her comfort zone, like "All Mine." But on the whole, the standard set in the studio albums just isn't reachable.
I was hoping the orchestra would be more prominently featured. The songs that make use of it definitely benefit, and you'll enjoy the horns in "All Mine" and the strings in "Only You." "Strangers" is the track where it really hits you, and I so dearly wish they had cut the electronic sounds from it entirely so I could fully enjoy it. The more popular songs don't fare as well. "Sour Times" should be skipped. It was an experiment, and I understand why they wanted to try it, but they never should have recorded it. It's barely recognizable in the bad sort of way.
The audience... I will never forgive them. They mostly stay out of it, but what they did to "Roads" was just criminal. The band had a beautiful set prepared for "Roads," and these escaped mental patients turned it into a clap-along. Yes, "Roads," one of the loneliest songs you can imagine, a clap-along. To this day my enjoyment of the studio recording is lessened due to the experience. Those people should have been sterilized immediately. If the preservation of beauty matters to you, skip that track, always.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 9, 2005
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Most live albums pretty much lose the feel of the original studio albums -- sometimes they sound tinny and distant. No such sound here. "Live: Roseland NYC" has not only an orchestra, but the jazzy trip-hop of Portishead's two albums, and the beautiful voice of Beth Gibbons. No wonder it was so good.

Portishead hit the big time with their sophomore album "Dummy," an exquisite blend of smoky jazz and subtle trip-hop. Which, admittedly, sounds like the wrong kind of music to play live, but it works wonderfully here. Portishead includes an almost equal mix of songs from their two albums -- six from "Portishead," five from "Dummy."

And surprisingly, the songs sound like simple redos of the mysterious, melancholy songs from Portishead's too-short career, not stage banter and stripped-down versions of lush songs. It's more than a little unusual to have a band's third album be a live one, but in this case it seems perfectly acceptable.

Backed by an entire orchestra, horns and some wicked turntables, the band plays remarkable versions of their songs. "All Mine" is even more beautiful and haunting than in the album, and "Sour Times" is even more breathtaking than it was originally. Most of the others are faithful renditions, given a powerful new twist with the strings and horns -- only a couple feel less cohesive in a live setting.

Frontwoman Beth Gibbons is known as having a lovely pop voice, and she is in excellent form here. A lot of singers are exposed in live performances as having less-than-stellar vocals, but Gibbons' performance demonstrates what a beautiful voice she has.

"Live: Roseland NYC" is a demonstration of what a good live album should be, showcasing one of trip-hop's best bands. Definitely worth checking out, both as as an accompaniment to Portishead's studio albums, and as a good listen itself.
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