Caught In The Act (1984)

Disc One 1.Music Time 2.Mr. Roboto 3.Too Much Time On My Hands 4.Babe 5.Snowblind 6.The Best of Times 7.Suite Madame Blue Disc Two 1.Rockin' The Paradise 2.Blue Collar Man 3.Miss America 4.Don't Let It End 5.Crystal Ball 6.Fooling Yourself 7.Come Sail Away


It seemed a bit odd that until this point, Styx, whose popularity had exploded largely because of their incredible live shows, and not yet put out a live release as most arena rock groups. It was a welcome postscript to all fans that, even though the band was temporarily "retired", they at least left us with a live album in which to say goodbye. Before compact discs were the norm, a double album could only feasibly fit about 80-85 minutes (pretty close to the length of a single cd). It seems a bit unfair to judge older releases such as this one when a double live set released years later (such as Return To Paradise) could easily fit two and one half hours of music on it (which, in most cases, is to say the whole show). This release does pale when comparing to Return To Paradise but that's because of time constraints, not sound quality.

The album was made up of tracks from the most current tour, taken from four shows at the famous Sangaer Theartre in New Orleans, Louisiana. We have a good representation of the show and there are no glaring omissions. Because of the nature of the "Kilroy" tour, some songs were not featured in their entirety (such as Renegade), therefore, they are not represented here. The show was presented as half concert, half "theatre" and a few songs were actually sang to a backing track rather than the band actually playing the songs. Mr. Roboto was one of those, and it's a little silly to include in on a live album since it wasn't actually "played". But I guess you have to pack a live album with hits, right? Also the vast majority of the "dialogue" between "characters" is also not presented which leaves the maximum space for songs (for those interested in such things, an accompanying video was also released that featured the dialogue. The video and this album combined made up the majority of the show). There is one studio track that leads off the album, DeYoung's Music Time that's pretty worthless. It symbolizes the worst of the band, trapped between eighties style instrumentation. Tommy Shaw (who was probably gone altogether by the time this was done) later stated it was his least favorite Styx song ever.

Considering the rest of the album, the above are small sins. Styx knew how to put on a great live show and the majority of the songs are nowhere close to carbon copies of their originals. Many of the songs clock in well over six minutes, which, again, forces a limited number of tracks featured. In all fairness, this album became all but forgotten once Return To Paradise was released in 1997. The only authentic live song not featured on that collection that shows up here is DeYoung's ballad Don't Let It End which is sort of a shame since it really is a great song. Maybe they felt it sounded a little too much like Babe (it does) or maybe the reunion several years later wanted to avoid the whole Kilroy fiasco because of too many bad memories. Regardless, it makes this album almost inconsequential. If anything, the video might be more precious to own than the album, even though many songs here are not on the visual representation. Although the production was pretty hoaky, it's fun for a fan to watch in retrospective.

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