After ten years together, Dangerous Toys released this (their first) live album in 1999. The full title is ‘Vitamins and Crash Helmets Tour: Greatest Hits Live.’ This disc is chock full of Dangerous Toys classics and some little-heard gems. Deadline Records, who doesn’t have the greatest of reputations, did a truly outstanding job here. Hats off to the label and band for producing this compilation.
The liner notes and cover art are both great, both of which have come to be expected from Dangerous Toys over the years. It is explained where and when these tracks were recorded, which is a plus. These live recordings are taken from all over the place, between 1989 and 1995. For the most part, the tracks go in chronological order.
The track listing here is a good representation of the Dangerous Toys catalog and then some. You may find at least a couple songs that you had forgotten about. All four studio albums are represented with the bulk of the material being taken from the first two releases (’s/t’ and ‘Hellacious Acres’). It was nice to see two tracks each from the lesser known independent releases, ‘Pissed’ (1994) and ‘R-Tist 4-Merly Known As Dangerous Toys’ (1995). The song “Dangerous Toys”, which closes the album is a previously unreleased track, done live, and serves as a nice treat for the diehard fan. Rumor has it that the song “Dangerous Toys”, which had been lying around unused, was later adapted into the song “Demon Bell” for the 1989 movie soundtrack of ‘Shocker.’
Soundwise, the recordings are a mixed bag. The later day recordings actually sound very good, but many of the earlier tracks don’t have the same sound quality. Some of you may remember that this same live version of “Scared” (from Boston) was widely used on a nationally syndicated rock/metal radio show many years ago. Regardless of the sound, which delves into bootleg quality at times, the band sounds like a well-oiled machine and generally delivers with each and every song they perform. While I hate to do it, it is necessary to remove a star from the final score because this is from scattered shows and not one live set. It also doesn’t help that some tracks were not mixed very well, not the fault of the band. The best way to listen to this album is on a stereo or some good headphones.
This isn’t something that will serve as an introduction to the band. A new listener will want to start with one of the studio albums, preferably the self-titled debut. However, if you’ve already been a loyal member of the Dangerous Toys fanbase, you can’t afford to pass this one up.