Released: 2007, Frontiers Records/Zink Music
Reviewer: Anders Sandvall
Kip Winger and crew are following up 2006’s comeback album IV with a double live disc recorded during the band’s American reunion tour earlier this year. The new member Cenk Eroglu who was on the comeback album does not appear here. This live disc must be heaven for all non-American Winger fans since Winger hasn’t been overseas for a number of years.
The first disc includes 8 classical songs one after the other. The band’s melodic hardrock gets a bit heavier when performed live, and it really benefits the songs. The disc opens with “Blind Revolution Mad” which leads into “Loosen Up” before Kip introduces “Easy Come Easy Go”.
It sounds like all the keyboard parts have been erased and the production concentrates on a distinct wall of guitars. At the end of “Easy Come Easy Go” the audience sings along for a while until Kip takes over. Next up is “Your Great Escape”, “Down Incognito” and something that sounds like a harmonica solo. Kip thanks everyone for being there and kicks off “Rainbow in the Rose” which is taken from the Winger’s second album. The tempo drops remarkably and the song comes close to becoming an up-tempo ballad. The first disc ends with “Junk Yard Dog”. Kip doesn’t talk much in between the songs; instead, he and the band deliver hit after hit and show off their skills.
This disc is a little longer at 11 tracks. The album continues with Kip introducing a new song called “Right up Ahead” after which Beach contributes a guitar solo that lasts nearly 5 minutes which, to be honest, is quite boring. Straight after that comes the song “You are the Saint, I am the Sinner” which is a heavy guitar-based melodic hardrock anthem.
Drummer Morgenstein contributes a 7-minute drum solo, and I think you already know my feelings about that? After that it gets into a slump; song after song is played and nothing exciting happens. Kip Winger shows he’s good at what he does and that his voice is still intact, and his band is solid and sound comfortable in their playing.
Kip chooses the acoustic song “Who’s the One” as the first encore, after which he asks the audience to sing with him before he kicking off the second encore, “Madalaine”. That song closes the ordinary album and the live show, but a studio version of “Blue Suede Shoes” is included as the last track. It’s a pale acoustic song with strings and lead vocals. There’s really nothing special about it at all.
Winger delivered a pleasant live album that is nice to listen to now and then. It’s not going to be an album that is making history, but it’s fine to kill a few hours with. It might be more fun for the European fans since Winger doesn’t come around often.
The downsides of the album are that the locations where the recordings took place aren’t listed, so you can’t tell if it’s a mix of several shows or just a single one. Kip hardly talks in between the shows - he just keeps playing. The production sounds good when it comes to the music, but someone forgot to mic the audience and you can barely hear them. That makes this sound like a studio album when the songs come after one another without a break and with an almost inaudible audience. It would have been better if he had talked a little more. The bonus track is also not much of a bonus. All these things drag down the rating of this live album a lot.
It sounds like the crowd had a great time (the few times that you can actually hear them) and most of the songs still hold their own today. This is definitely something to check out if you’re a Winger fan. And if you want more Winger, a DVD of this particular show is going to be released.