Live: You Get What You Play For (1977)


1. Like You Do 2. Lay Me Down 3. Any Kind of Love 4. Being Kind (Can Hurt Someone) 5. Keep Pushin' 6. (Only a) Summer Love 7. Son of a Poor Man 8. (I Believe) Out Time is Gonna Come 9. Flying Turkey Trot 10.157 Riverside Avenue 11.Ridin' the Storm Out 12.Music Man 13.Golden Country


 

By 1977, the journey that REO Speedwagon had been on was anything but a smooth ride. They had almost as many lead singers as they had albums (six albums, four singers - although one of the singers was a repeat) and they really hadn't any success worth mentioning - just several mediocre albums with some occasional bright spots. Which makes you question why they would release a live album. In the mid to late seventies, live albums were really synonymous with "live hits albums", and this band really hadn't had any hits. Truth be told, though, history has shown that this band really were a lot better in a live setting, so that could have been the real purpose. Since they've put out several studio albums that no one really bought, the thought might have been to re-introduce them to the mainstream with a live album.

Perhaps that's a stretch. Yes, I know live albums can be manipulated, but the audience here sounds like they truly know and love these guys. So someone out there must have been listening all these years. The real treat is that this album really does work exactly like it's supposed to. Kevin Cronin, who had been on only two of the band's albums in two different points in the band's history, really carries this album. Most of the songs here were originally recorded during his tenure in the band, and for the songs he wasn't on, he carries them especially well. The best example is Ridin' the Storm Out, which sounds tons better than its studio counterpart. Not surprisingly, this song would usually be the concert closer before the encores throughout the years.

Most of the album is very strong, yet it is the back half that stands out the most. They really let loose on 157 Riverside Avenue and Golden Country, and pretty much blow all of the studio counterparts away to some degree. If you happen to come across the original double album and you still have a working turntable, you probably should snag you a copy since two songs, the Chuck Berry cover Little Queenie and Gary Richrath's guitar solo (called Gary's Guitar Solo) were on the vinyl edition of this release, yet were cut to fit this on one compact disc. In many ways, you almost wish that this band had waited a few more years before they put out a live album. They really do sound strong, and such a release would have benefited with more well known material. Sadly, they never put out another live album until the year 2000, but changing personnel made it not as special since in just wasn't the same band.



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