Spiritualized: Live at the Albert Hall
Spiritualized have gone a bit funny recently. Amazing Grace (their/his last album) was a bit of a let down to say the least. It was touted as a 'Garage Rock' album and people banged on about the energy and passion in the music. But it was a bit shit. Other than the uninspired songs it lacked what has made Spiritualized records so good. Magic. It was a straight forward rock record bues tinged rock record boring old rock record. And this at the time when there was decent rock records out. Lack of imagination from Spiritualized meant things had got pretty bad.
Anyway, way back before then they released this recording of their gig at the Albert Hall. Its an absolutley amazing album. Spiritualized live gigs are a bit of an event anyway (or rather, were...) and anything at The Albert Hall is a bit regal too so it was an exciting prospect. Spiritualized's drug/god psycadelia and the Albert Halls posh Ushers in bow ties. Sonic experiments and ice cream.
Spiritualized's music doesn't seem to age either. 10 years on and Electric Mainline still sounds baffling and exhausting and stunning. Cop shoot Cop still sounds paranoid and midnight and scary and Think I'm in Love still sounds heartbreaking and beautiful. I still can't help smiling to Oh Happy Day. Come Together sounds huge. And it is huge, its (the album) got Horns and Gospel choirs and about 30 guitars. You can hear the atmosphere in the hall, the excitment between songs. You can almost hear a thousand people gasp as Walking with Jesus starts. You can actually hear ballons bursting at the end.
I saw Spiritualized on their tour after Let It Come Down (the album after Live...) and was expecting to be blown away by them. After this album, the actual live gig was a bit disapointing, excpet the last track when they played Lord can you Hear Me. The whole place went multi coloured and was full of sound. It might be the best live experience i've ever had. A complete senses take over and i was stuck to my seat.
For me, Live at the Albert Hall is the closest i've come to that feeling on record. Close your eyes and let it take you. It really is like a drug trip without the drugs.
Its also pretty rare for Live albums to be anything other than record company cash-in's. A good place for someone to 'start' at a band. But this one is well worthy of its place in Spiritualzed's back catalogue and for me is their most vital album.