Staind have been knocking about for almost 20 years now so it’s somewhat surprising that it’s only at this point they’re sorting out their first live releases in the form of ‘Live from Mohegan Sun’ (just the CD now, we’re assured that the DVD and Blu-ray will follow later this year). As the title may suggest, the album was recorded at the band’s show at Mohegan Sun in Connecticut on 25th November 2011 during the promotion for their eponymous album. Being the first tour with their spankingly new drummer, Sal Giancarelli, it’s actually pretty brave to decide to do a live album now. Without even pressing play, you can see that this has the potential to be a good live album with songs spanning their career and enough tracks from their breakthrough ‘Break the Cycle’ to keep even those who just have the band on the edge of their radar interested. Let’s face it, if you went to see Staind live and they didn’t play ‘It’s Been A While’ you’d be pretty disappointed.
As someone who hasn’t actually properly sat down and listened to Staind in about 10 years, the first thing that jumps out is that they’re not the grungy band they once were. They’re certainly heavier than I remember but a long time has passed since then so maybe it’s not the case. From the outset, the band effortlessly combine growls with Aaron Lewis’ trademark gravely yet dulcet tones and it seems like he can actually do this live as well. He might not be 100% pitch perfect throughout but it doesn’t really detract from the overall recording.
It’s quite hard to gage energy levels through a live CD but they make it seem effortless, and they could just be standing perfectly still (I sincerely hope not though) so I’d expect it to sound pretty much flawless. The band have had plenty of time to hone their craft so if they weren’t at least a solid live band now then they probably never would be. As it stands, they are, aurally at least, so no worries on that front.
It’s actually a lot better than I expect from live albums; I’m generally not a fan of live albums but it’s quite easy to listen to and I didn’t feel the uncontrollable urge to just skip to the tracks I know well. ‘Right Here’ in particular stands out as being a beautiful song (it’s listed on the press sheet as one of their “classic tracks” so it’s just me who’s out of the loop on this one) so doubtless if the CD got into the right hands it could inspire people to check out more material from the band. Seems unlikely that someone who isn’t a fan would buy their live album but you never know…
There are two reasons I enjoyed this so much and, by extension, metal fans of about my age probably will too: 1) Pure nostalgia. They seem to still be doing very nicely for themselves in the USA but have been bubbling under, to say the least, in the UK. Some of these songs I haven’t heard or even thought of for years so it’s nice to be taken back to your teenage years and remember Aaron Lewis singing ‘Outside’ live with Fred Durst (don’t worry, it doesn’t happen again). 2) Besides the tracks I knew already there are some really good songs on here that sell themselves as live performances. I’m not sure there’s much more you can ask for from a live album really.
LIVE FROM MOHEGAN SUN
Review by Siân Williams
11th June 2012
1) Eyes Wide Open; 2) Falling; 3) Right Here; 4) Throw It All Away; 5) Spleen; 6) Fade; 7) Failing; 8) So Far Away; 9) Crawl; 10) For You; 11) Paper Wings; 12) Outside; 13) Not Again; 14) It's Been Awhile; 15) Mudshovel; 16) Something to Remind You
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
"It’s quite hard to gage energy levels through a live CD but they make it seem effortless..."