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Daniel Amos

Live Bootleg 82

Harvest Rock Syndicate 1990
4 points out of 5
By Brian Q. Newcomb

It's sure a sign of approaching middle age when one hears phrases coming from one's own mouth about the "good ol' days." I'm only 33, but it sounds pretty "old" to find myself remembering the grand old days of rock 'n' roll in the fall of '82, when I saw DA play three shows in a little under a week in the Chicago area. I remember being greatly impressed as the quartet, featuring new bassist Tim Chandler, drummer Ed McTaggart, guitarist Jerry Chamberlain and vocalist/guitarist/master of ceremony Terry Taylor, tore through an unequaled set of fine, new wave influenced rock 'n' roll, with such skill, zest and zeal that I left each show rather speechless -- a rare and somewhat amazing event, all things considered.

Now, thanks to the miracle of persistence and a desire to actually make a living, DA has taken an 8-track bootleg recording made of the St Louis gig of that tour by Bruce Brown, and made it available to fans through Spring Arbor distribution and its fan club mail order. The original recording is enhanced by Taylor to bring our the full live sound, but the raw, concert energy remains with little or no overdubs. This is a mint recording, for collectors, fans and all those curious about the best rock band in the golden age of . . . whatever, I can't remember it all that well.

Featuring tracks from Horrendous disc, Alarma and Doppelganger, as well as a couple of previously unreleased Taylor compositions and the band's infamous set of beach covers, DA Live Bootleg '82 chronicles an important band at the height of its game, when the doors were still open and anything was possible. The 83-84 tour, a veritable multi-media event, was equally great for completely different reasons, but here they were a rock band, gritty and even a little angry, but their good humor was still in tact, and the music lacked the self-parody that at times slid into self indulgence in later tours as commercial indifference, unfettered criticism and a general lack of appreciation for its contribution took its toll on DA.

The Miracle Faith Telethon, a pseudo-retrospective of Taylor's work drenched in schlocky humor and no small amount of self-deprecating wonder at it all, reminds us that this band was capable of genius. Live Bootleg recalls a time when we all "knew" that this great music had to make a difference in the world. And, finally, it did. Perhaps the rock world didn't notice, maybe Christian radio remained uninformed and indifferent, but some of us, on the fringes of the Church, were challenged, encouraged and entertained. This band rocked with an unequaled authority, at least in the ccm market, and didn't shift its intelleect into neutral to placate some conservative consensus of what was appropriate to Christian sensibilities. While some were trying to get even those of us who had come to faith years earlier to experience salvation at every concert like it was the first time, DA made growth and involvement possible in an unpreachy fashion.

Most of this stuff feels even better than the originals, just because the energy of the performance is so engaging. I'm still waiting for an Alarma Chronicles Boxed set, but this live indie effort is sure to keep my Walkman rocking as I sit out on the porch swing of the old folks home wrapped in an afghan. "What a drag it is getting . . . " Well, you get the point. Now, get the album; it's great nostalgia for those of us who remember, it's a fine introduction to those who have only recently caught on to the band's notorious Cornerstone gala extravaganzas, it's festive, big fun to delight young and old. Trust your grandfather. Would I lie to you?