I guess rock/metal outfit Chickenfoot will forever carry the ‘supergroup’ label, despite its members - namely Joe Satriani, ex-Van Halen vocalist Sammy Hagar and bassist Michael Anthony, and Red Hot Chilli Peppers sticksman Chad Smith - eschewing use of such a term to describe their formation. After all, the “supergroup” tag usually implies an ephemeral exercise in moonlighting for esteemed musicians, who’ve already achieved their fame elsewhere. Chickenfoot were active for a number of years following their 2008 inception, including studio albums in 2009 and 2011, a live DVD/BD in 2010, and 2012 live album. However, it seems the supergroup ephemera they were in denial of had struck. Or did it? A couple of live shows last summer saw the four men reunite and reactivated, at least very briefly, under the Chickenfoot moniker. And now, five years on, we have the inevitable “best of” compilation, which has been paired up with a second disc containing the audio from their 2009 Phoenix show that was previously available in video format only, on ‘Get Your Buzz On LIVE’. So, it seems this quartet are slowly working their way back into the rock/metal audience’s consciousness.
The real gem and attraction on this ‘Best + Live’ compilation for longtime Chickenfoot enthusiasts is the addition of a brand new track, ‘Divine Termination’. While fans will undoubtedly revel in new material from the band, albeit a single song, the cynic in me says that this is but a mere ploy to encourage peeps to buy a compilation full of songs they’ll already own. Perhaps that’s the case, perhaps not… but, at the end of the day, it is new Chickenfoot, and I guess everyone will just be glad to see the band active in any capacity. Of the new track, Satriani is quoted as claiming it to be: “Bone crunching, hell raising rock. Dripping with attitude and vibe.” Well, it’s not particularly bone crunching or hell raising, I must assert, although it is a nice little mid-tempo rocker… that belongs on a new Chickenfoot album, along with another ten or so new cuts!
Aside from the new song, ten other studio tracks occupy the ‘Best Of’ disc. Well chosen? That’ll depend on your own personal favourites although, from just two studio albums to pull material from, that’s around half the original stuff Chickenfoot ever recorded anyway. In this sense, it has to be asked whether a “best of” compilation is warranted at all? Newcomers may benefit, although with roughly the same amount of residual tracks that haven’t made their way onto this disc, they might just want to pick up both studio albums instead. For the rest of us, it serves as a reminder of the mighty rock force Chickenfoot were (and still are). Three live tracks close the first disc – Deep Purple’s ‘Highway Star’; a number from Hagar’s old Montrose days, ‘Bad Motor Scooter’; and a cover of The Who’s ‘My Generation’ – acting as a bridge between the ‘Best Of’ songs and second ‘Live’ disc.
Anyone who previously experienced the ‘Get Your Buzz On LIVE’ DVD or BD will already be familiar with the audio from disc two. However, it’s a nice companion to the studio stuff, albeit a lazy addition… were no other shows ever recorded, aside from this one? The first half of 2012’s ‘LV’ would indicate other live material does, in fact, exist, so it’s a shame it was deemed the audio from a previous DVD/BD should form the basis of this second disc. Sure, it does act as a reminder of just what a great live band Chickenfoot were, and it is nice to have the audio as its own discrete entity, away from the visuals, but fans will have heard it all before. Some sort of live compilation would’ve been more befitting, perhaps.
Criticisms aside of whether or not a Chickenfoot compilation is warranted with only two studio albums to their name, and the laziness of the ‘Live’ disc, this is a band comprised of four legendary musicians. Their combined rock/metal might in undeniable and it’s evidenced here in spades. And no-one’s being forced to purchase this double album, so any accusations of “cashing in” are, I guess, redundant.
BEST + LIVE
Review by Mark Holmes
76:24 & 77:12
10th March 2017
CD1 (BEST OF): 1) Divine Termination; 2) Soap on a Roap; 3) Sexy Little Thing; 4) Oh Yeah; 5) Get It Up; 6) Future in the Past; 7) Big Foot; 8) Different Devil; 9) Lighten Up; 10) Dubai Blues; 11) Something Going Wrong; 12) Highway Star (Live); 13) Bad Motor Scooter (Live); 14) My Generation (Live)
CD2 (LIVE): 1) Avenida Revolution; 2) Sexy Little Thing; 3) Soap on a Rope; 4) My Kinda Girl; 5) Down the Drain; 6) Bitten by the Wolf; 7) Oh Yeah; 8) Learning to Fall; 9) Get It Up; 10) Turnin' Left; 11) Future in the Past
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
"Criticisms aside of whether or not a Chickenfoot compilation is warranted with only two studio albums to their name, and the laziness of the ‘Live’ disc, this is a band comprised of four legendary musicians. Their combined rock/metal might in undeniable and it’s evidenced here in spades."