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  • So this is what it has come to? A band releasing a collection of live tracks just to foot the bill and make ends meet? That’s the way it would seem, although this album has a much better feel then other “We really need money” albums. After all, it’s a possibility that this is not one of those CDs. You’d think it is though…Alice In Chains was the least commercially successful of the “Seattle Four” (the others being Nirvana, Soundgarden, and Pearl Jam), but probably retained the most integrity of the group at the same time. For all intents and purposes, AIC was the band that broke up and forgot to tell anyone (yeah, a six year hiatus) in 1995. Both Jerry Cantrell (guitars) and Layne Staley (vocals) have worked on side projects, making the end all the more apparent.”Live” is just what the title implies. It’s a collection of famous AIC tracks recorded live between (if memory serves correctly) 1992 and 94. The disc starts off with the band performing together as a cohesive unit, but by the end, the performances have deteriorated to cases of all hell breaking loose on stage. You sometimes wonder if each member is performing the same material. It’s easy to tell that by that time, relations within the band were extremely strained, and lead singer Layne Staley was losing his personal battles against heroin.For the most part though, the album shows those who may not have ever been able to see AIC live what they were like. For the most part, there is no jamming, just straight versions of studio tracks-famous songs like “Them Bones,” “Dirt,” “Rooster,” and my personal fave “Man in The Box.”There is, however a little interaction with the crowd, although not much. At it’s worst, Live shows us the horrors of drug addiction, and at it’s best, lyrical and creative genius. Some portions are strained, but at it’s brightest points, Live provides insight into the live performances of America’s greatest grunge band…. If you’re looking for something akin to a greatest hits cd, or are a die hard AIC fan, Live is for you. If you are just a casual fan, I’d stay away from it until you are ready…

    Posted on February 14, 2010