Great White – 30 Years, Live from the sunset strip

great white - 30 years - live from the sunset stripGreat White celebrated their 30th anniversary last year with a special gig at the Key club on the Sunset strip in Los Angeles.  The band formed in 1982 if you count back 30 years from 2012 but 1982 wasnt the start of the band.  The band really formed in 1978 as Dante Fox before changing their name to Great White in 1982.  They released their debut EP which was produced by Don Dokken and Michael Wagener in 1983, and followed this with their debut album (Great White) in 1984.  It wasn’t until their third album that they really grew in popularity with the release of “Once bitten..” in 1987.  “..Twice shy” released in 1989 and “Hooked” in 1991 continued their successful run before the change in musical fashion in the 1990s with trends such as Grunge arriving meant that sales declined significantly.

Over the years the lineup has changed regularly, and the band has disbanded or gone on hiatus three times.  More recently the band has split and there are two bands touring under the Great White name – one as”Great White” and one as “Great White Featuring Jack Russell”.  Other bands have had similar issues with two bands using variations of the same name – notably L.A. Guns and Saxon.  Since the split Great White have obviously lost long term vocalist Jack Russell, but in 2011 they recruited Terry Ilous (former XYZ frontman) to join them as their new singer.  Listening to the album they sound to have made a great choice as his voice is excellent with a nice bluesy feel and it’s perfect for the songs.

The band are no strangers to live albums – by my count they’ve previously released 7 or 8 live albums, so the question is – will this album be special enough to convince fans to buy it?  Well if you’re a fan of Great White and don’t have a live album then this is definitely a good buy.  If you’ve got other live albums by the band then what makes this one different is that it’s the first live album to feature Terry Ilous on vocals – the fact it’s the 30th anniversary release is probably of lesser significance, so yes it’s still worth buying.

Unsurprisingly a significant number of the tracks on this live album come from the three albums released at the height of their success (“Once bitten..”, “..Twice shy” and “Hooked”), with eight songs coming from those three albums, leaving just three songs to be taken from  their remaining nine albums.  There may only be eleven songs on the album but with most of the songs being longer than the album versions it means the album has a longer running time than I expected – around an hour and a quarter.

The sound quality is very good with the mix being spot on.  The crowd noise is fairly quiet, but that’s the only minor critism.  The band sound great, and Terry Ilous really does a great job on the vocals.  The songs that I’ve been listening to for around 25 years sound great here – I hope they’ll come over to the UK sometime soon so I can see them perform live.

Great White have been around for over 30 years now – lets hope they keep on going for many more years to come.  A great album.

“30 Years, Live from the sunset strip” will be released on 22nd February 2013 on Frontiers records

Rating: 8.5/10

Track listing:

1. Desert Moon
2. Lady Red Light
3. Face The Day
4. House Of Broken Love
5. Save Your Love
6. Mista Bone
7. The Big Goodbye
8. Back To The Rhythm
9. Rock Me
10. Can’t Shake It
11. Once Bitten Twice Shy

Great White are:

Terry Ilous – vocals
Mark Kendall – lead guitar
Michael Lardie – guitar, keyboards
Scott Snyder – bass
Audie Desbrow – drums

About Ant May

I spend half my life at gigs or festivals and the other half writing the reviews and editing photos, and somehow find time for a full time job too. Who needs sleep - I've got coffee.
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