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Articles Home » 2003 Articles » New England - 2003 Greatest Hits Live
New England - 2003 Greatest Hits Live

ARTIST: New England
ALBUM: Greatest Hits Live
YEAR: 2003
SPONSOR: Gary Borress


LINEUP: John Fannon - vocals, guitars * Jim Waldo - keyboards * Gary Shea - bass * Hirsh Gardner - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Alone Tonight * 02 Shoot * 03 Hello Hello Hello * 04 The Last Show * 05 Encore * 06 Hey You're On The Run * 07 Shall I Run Away * 08 Nothing To Fear * 09 Don't Ever Wanna Lose Ya * 10 Explorer Suite * 11 P.U.N.K * 12 You'll Be Born Again


One of the true tests of a band's potential is how they fare in the live environment. Especially if you are a band that has a brace of excellent studio albums, as was the case with Boston based AOR/pomp legends New England. Well known, and much loved by many readers of this site, the story has not completely finished on the book of New England just yet. The enterprising Gary Borress of GB Music keeps the flag flying with another release assigned to the N.E discography, perhaps with a promise of more to come? This time it's a Greatest Hits Live set culled from 1980. For me, this is the second live album of the band I've now heard. Somewhere in my vinyl collection, I have a 1979 6 track Live LP released by the defunct Infinity Records label. There are a handful of other releases out there, including a live Chicago set called 'See You Next Time' which I understand dates back to about 1980.

The Songs
This CD looks as if it dates back to 1980 too, and was recorded on tour in San Francisco. It includes many songs taken from the 1979 debut, plus a handful from the sophomore effort 'Explorer Suite'. In fact, tracks from that latter album like 'Hey You're On The Run' and the title track 'Explorer Suite' sound great live, considering the album production and overly orchestral arrangements found on that CD. As the band were on tour to specifically support the album at the time, it's no wonder then that those two songs in particular sound 'road tested'. For me, the harder songs sound best in the live environment. 'Shoot', 'P.U.N.K' (Puny Under Nourished Kid), 'Nothing To Fear', and the band's staple 'Don't Ever Wanna Lose Ya', all brimming with energy which the band was renowned for in the live setting, and it's recaptured here faithfully. The lovely ballad 'Shall I Run Away' gets a true pomp workout at just under 8 minutes, but to me sounds a little over-extended this time around. Elsewhere, hearing debut album tracks like 'Hello Hello Hello' (another fave track), 'Alone Tonight', 'Encore' and 'The Last Show' adds the icing on the cake.

In Summary
The band will be the first to admit that the overall quality of this sound recording is not as pristine as some of today’s live performances that we hear now, but considering that it was resurrected from 1980 when the technology was not available, we'll take that on the chin. John Fannon and Hirsh Gardner have spent a bit of time in the studio tidying it up, the result captures the band in an environment that many G-DAZE readers/listeners will not have experienced before. New England fans will need no invitation, check out the details on the website above, and revisit a bit of AOR/pomp history.

Related Articles
New England - 1979 New England
New England - 1980 Explorer Suite
New England - 1981 Walkin' Wild
New England - 2003 Greatest Hits Live
New England - 2013 New England and John Fannon (Live Gig Review)
New England - 2015 I Know There's Something Here b/w Conversation (single)

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#1 | Jez on January 27 2007 12:01:43
One of my fave bands of all time and one that really was 'Mega' in all senses of the word. This live document goes someway in giving testimony to that. Soundwise this is pretty good for a 25 year old recording and is definately All live compared to some that I could name. I would have liked a Double full concert recording, as they have so much choice material from the 3 albums, but most of the best bits are here. I suppose I should be thankful this excellent disc has even surfaced at all.
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