Riot – Live In America: The Official Bootleg Boxset Vol 3. 1981-1988
Reviewed: October 2019
Released: 2019, Cherry Red/ HNE
The Cherry Red/HNE reissue campaign is certainly one of my favourite in recent memory. Albums getting reissued is nothing new, it happens almost every week, but this campaign and the attention to quality is making it stand out in my mind.
After successful reissues of multi-album box-sets by Alcatrazz, Killers, Glenn Hughes, Raven and Samson, now it is the American band, riot that gets the deluxe treatment. As Malcolm Dome explains in the liner notes, Riot is sort of an honorary NWOBHM band anyway, so they fit right in with the other box-sets in this series and as the title suggests this is the third volume in this set.
LIVE IN AMERICA is a generous six disc set housed in the now classic clamshell style box. A fold out poster, liner notes sheet has quotes and interviews and walks the listeners through some of the highlights of the live albums.
As a side note, I happened to listen to the albums before reading the liner notes and as I was enjoying the various live albums, I made mental note of a few things that caught my ear, such as the demo version of a song called ‘Anna’. It sounded quite familiar. I felt it might have been reworked into the song, ‘Maryann’ from THE PRIVILEGE OF POWER album released in 1990. Sure enough, my hunch was conformed by Dome in the liner notes. There are many little treats for the true longstanding Riot fans in this set.
The box-set is five live albums spanning all three singers, Seranza, Forester and Moore and are pulled from various shows around America, as the title suggests. The sound is at times a little rough, keeping in mind these tapes are 30 years old or more!
Disc One is a fiery gig with Guy on vocals and comes with a handful of cool bonus tracks, mostly rehearsal tracks.
Disc Two is another great gig, complete with Sandy Slavin drum solo and a cover of Cliff Richard’s ‘Devil Woman.
Disc Three may be the only redundant disc as it is another gig recorded merely another five days after the gig on Disc two from December 27th, 1984. It is the same line-up and virtually identical set-list from Disc Two.
Disc Four is a Rhett Forester gig in California in 1986. What surprised me most about this disc was an early live version of ‘Sign Of The Crimson Storm’ later to appear on THUNDERSTEEL in 1988. Rhett seemed to have a bit more engaging banter between songs to my ears.
Disc Five is likely my favorite concert of the five. The line-up features Tony Moore and is captured from the THUNDERSTEEL tour. The album is just so fierce, with new drummer, Zarjombek , kicking off the show with ‘Fight Or Fall’ making it sound even faster than the album version! Moore does an extended bluesy vocal segment in the middle of ‘Swords And Tequila’ which is really cool, before ripping into the concert closer, ‘Thundersteel’.
Last, but not least of course, is the disc of demo tracks, 10 rarities rough mixes, intro versions, etc for the truest of the true.
LIVE IN AMERICA is very enjoyable to hear those old gigs…maybe not necessarily legendary gigs, but just the band slogging it out in the trenches, sweaty clubs, in the early days of the bands long and prolific career. A real treat for us old rock dogs.