i’ll be first to say that i was totally unimpressed with the sets by korn and limp bizkit but extremely surprised when orgy played the best set by far on this entire album. like many people i bought it when it first came out in 1998/1999 at which point it quickly earned a place at the bottom of my pile of cd cases. i was still a fan of korn at this point and “nu-metal” in general before it was actually called that. what can i say, it all seems silly and stupid in retrospect (and it probably is) but for about a year it seemed like this kind of music was going to be THE new alternative movement in america; comparisons to nirvana and the seattle sound were rampant in music publications. as we all know, this forecast came to naught and record sales started to slip around the time the three year mark of the 1999 breakthroughs of many of these bands was reached. everyone likes to pretend they weren’t picking their jaw up off the floor the first time they heard anything from the first three korn albums now that that kind of music has fallen out of favor into the bottomless pit of passe, but the energy from these bands was definately infectious for the time (except for limp bizkit, who always sucked). the first two orgy albums and first three korn albums still remain a guilty pleasure of mine, having come before they became the generic has-beens they are now. out of all the bands featured on this album, korn seems to be the only one (barring incubus) that even has a single leg left to stand on nowadays.
anyway, onto the music. most of the people that bought this album way back in 1998 bought it for either the korn or limp bizkit tracks, obviously. limp bizkit sounds ok but their music is another matter. in short, you can’t polish a turd. korn, on the other hand, sound genuinely bad on many of the tracks. jonathan davis sings like he has the flu while fieldy seems to have doubled his bass volume when the engineer wasn’t looking before the show. munky and head sound buried much farther in the mix than they should be. overall, a sense of muddiness prevails. the shot liver medley is about the only salvagable thing korn did with their alotted time on the album. the opening bagpipe strains of “shoots and ladders” float out ethereally and then proceed to fall into a mishmash of recent and older korn songs. ice cube and rammstein sound about like you’d expect them to, a huge-scale listening party of their album. this is to be expected; they aren’t relying largely on unpredictable conventional instruments to create their on-stage sound and as such sound much more cohesive.
the biggest surprises by far on this entire live album came courtesy of then-newcomers orgy. they were still very much rookies when they played the first family values tour and even now they come across as strikingly tight, cohesive, punchy, and fresh. as such, orgy takes the cake for the best performance on the album.
case in point, i wouldn’t run out and buy this album just because you like the bands on it. many of them have released other live volumes that are generally of higher quality to date. most of the music, although less than 6 years old, sounds sorely dated; especially given the shake-ups in the rock landscape over the past few years.