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Finally a double-live set from Canada's legendary APRIL WINE, and a good 15 years overdue in my opinion! But what the heck, whether it's a stop-gap between studio albums encouraged by constant begging from long time fans or simply trying to wrap up so many classic Canuck rock in one fine testimony - I don't care; it's here and well worth it. Albeit lacking in packaging here and labeled with the unoriginal "Greatest Hits: Live" name [less of a Greatest hits collection and more representative of an actual April Wine live show] AW 2003 captures the band in top shape and running through 21 classic tracks from the opening cowbell of "Oowatanite", to gems like "Before The Dawn", "Victim For Your Love" [this song is a personal fave from 'Stand Back', but ironically Not a hit per say], "Weeping Widow" [featuring the rough edged vocals of Jim Clench], to the ballads like "Like A Lover..." & "Rock n Roll Is A Vicious Game" to anthems like "Roller", "Wanna Rock" and "I Like To Rock". "Bad Side of The Moon", an Elton John cover and breakthrough hit for the band over 30 years ago still sounds good and tracks from the band's last studio disc - "Back To The Mansion" [a somewhat laid back affair IMO] sound a bit heavier and sit comfortably in the live set, mainly 'cause April Wine - despite the great songs - are a Great live band and songs that may have suffered from production or other elements in studio can jump out in a live show. Here Myles' voice sounds like it's in great shape still and the guitars are heavy with the drums loud & clear, giving this a definite live feel [check out "The Band Has Just Begun", "Roller" and "All Over Town" - all sound killer]. Having seen the band numerous times in the past decade, it's worth noting that Myles Goodwyn and company [Jerry Mercer, Brian Greenway, Clench and in recent years, Carl Dixon] have managed to change out the live set numerous times to include plenty of tunes rarely played live from the band's 33 year career, so I wouldn't be opposed to a Volume 2 of this! :-)

AW Live 03 also comes with 2 new studio tracks, the somewhat heavy rockabilly of "That's Who I Am, This Is What I Do" and "Strong Silent Type" - a smooth AOR mid-tempo rock tune, a typical Goodwyn track, easily likeable.This is a welcome release and recommended to those interested in checking the band out. Now if only these guys can get a killer studio disc out, another Live set, some DVDs.....

Check out the band's label site:  www.civilianrecords.com  As well as their new official site:  www.aprilwine.ca  Also check out Carl Dixon's site:  www.carldixon.com   Carl has a live acoustic disc of his own coming out.

Review: Kevin J. Julie (Universal Wheels) '03