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Live from Austin, TX

3.9 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Audio CD, May 15, 2007
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The latest release from the acclaimed Live From Austin, TX series of releases from the vaults of the award-winning PBS Austin City Limits TV show.

Guided By Voices are one of indie rock s most loved and prolific bands. On their 2004 farewell tour they performed one of their final concerts on Austin City Limits. Recorded on live on 24 tracks, this special 2CD set features 30 songs from their entire performance. Many of the songs were never aired on the TV broadcast.

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At the tail end of "My Kind of Soldier," Robert Pollard ebulliently proclaims "Guided by Voices taught the world that you can suck and still rule." He's not completely kidding, since his band made a point of recording whatever short, sharp, shocked thing, it seems, that popped into his head. Here you get 30 tracks, from the brief and inspired "Gold Star for Robot Boy" to the sloppily slurred "Glad Girls," and the tunes run the gamut. Fractured and chaotic on moment, then inspired the next, the band shines most cohesively on "Gonna Have to Die," just as Pollard started getting truly hammered. There are better introductions to GBV, but one could hold forth pretty convincingly that this is the way they should be experienced--live and drunken and sometimes fumbling and, no matter what, always inspired and inspiring. ----Andrew Bartlett
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 15, 2007)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: New West Records
  • ASIN: B000OYC1ZY
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #434,386 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This recording is a perfect example of the schizophrenic nature of Guided By Voices. Disc one has some of the bands less compelling songs that are made much more immediate and substantial due to the incredible performance by the band. Disc two has some examples of modern rocks best songwriting ever and the bands drunken, sloppy playing diminishes this material enormously. I've been looking for great live recording of GBV for years because their preferred Lo-Fi style of record making always seemed too experimental to me, so unpolished that people assumed they couldn't play their instruments or Bob couldn't sing. If Bob had just stayed sober for this one evening his fans could have had a high quality recording of most of their great material, but instead we have another uneven and frustrating example of Bob Pollard and GBV's genius and self destructive behavior. This easily could have been a five star review if disc two lived up to the promise of disc one.
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Format: Audio CD
This live album is a fan's dream...one great song after another. However, not surprisingly, Pollard gets progressively more drunk towards the end of the show, culminating in an absolutely horrible version of "Glad Girls" (although you could certainly argue that it was intentionally horrible!). Having said that, man there are some great songs on here and it's nice to have live versions for once. I saw the Austin City Limits show on t.v. but this has much more material on it. Now, as the title of my review suggests, if you are a newbie or if you are undecided about whether Pollard is a genius or just a low-fi hack, this is definitely NOT the place to start. There is the "greatest hits" CD which I think has some pretty representative choices on it (even if it is all over the map, again not surprisingly for GBV). I would start there, and get this CD much further---once you've been converted! (By the way, I used to be in the camp that thinks that Pollard writes two or three good songs per album and a whole bunch of crap...I have come to realize that his hit to miss ratio is MUCH better than that and he is not overrated, by any means. I am really enjoying this live album and glad they put it out.....)
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Format: Audio CD
I don't normally watch Austin City Limits (always seem to catch it when it's a rerun of Cowboy Junkies, Lyle Lovett or Stevie Ray Vaughn darn the luck), but I stopped one Saturday night to see this band on there doing this song "Glad Girls." Turns out it was a longtime "heard of but heard nothing by" band, Guided By Voices. Picked up the album it was on, but it didn't come close to this live version (apparently their shows are legendary for Rob Pollard drinking his weight in alcohol) So I'm glad this is finally out on CD. I've come to love the rest of their songs and feel a right schmuck for not getting into the band during its lifetime.

Signed,

epsteinsmutha
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Format: Audio CD
I am a huge fan of this band and have all of their cd's but this live document could've been much much better. At times Pollard is way too drunk and yea yea yea I know thats part of his persona but cmon pal, you sounded like an obnoxious drunk frat boy on Kareoke night. If this was supposed to be a farewell performance and gift to the fans...treat us with respect and keep your booze in check until after the lights go down!
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Format: Audio CD
The Austin City Limits release constitutes the first official live cd from GBV (not counting the semi-bootleg "Jellfish Reflector" from 1996) and that alone makes a worthwhile release.

The first disc is generally solid although the set list leans a little bit too heavily on lesser material. The performances are solid although too many of Doug Gillard's guitar leads are buried in the mix. While song selection improves on the second disc, song quality declines, most likely due to the band's copious drinking. Lowlights include a sloppy, slowed-down "Glad Girls" and Robert Pollard screwing up the lyrics to "I Am A Scientist," arguably the band's finest and most famous song.

Still, there's a lot to like here, especially for long time fans who have always wanted a real live cd with the Pollard/Gillard/Farley lineup. If this isn't the best possible show, its more than good enough. (Note: Those new to the GBV experience will get a better picture of what the band was about onstage with the "Electrifying Conclusion" DVD which documents all four hours of the band's final show.
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