Considering the number of cash-in live releases that have circulated the last few years from melodic hard rock bands that were first signed over a decade ago, it is hard to get excited when another one shows up for review. Fortunately, Lillian Axe is band that still excels live and boasts a singer in Ron Taylor that can still hit the notes on their older material. The duo of Taylor and Stevie Blaze remain the core of Lillian Axe and the chemistry these two have with one another is obvious throughout this live release. Recorded in Houston, TX in May of 2002, “Live 2002” is a 2 CD, 21 track release that covers all eras of Lillian Axe’s underrated and under appreciated career.
Considering there are 21 songs on this release, the only tracks obviously missing are their covers of “My Number” and “No Matter What”. Also, the material from “Fields Of Yesterday” is strong enough that a 3rd disc may have been well in order! Such is the strength of the bands material, they are able to jump around between their debut release with “Misery Loves Company” and “Dream Of A Lifetime” and easily slide into material from the odds and ends release “Fields Of Yesterday” such as “Pulling The Rats Out” and “Become A Monster”.
Blaze and Taylor’s ability to interplay the dark moodiness of Blaze’s fretwork with Taylor’s emotion filled vocals has been the Lillian Axe’s greatest strength throughout the years. Songs like “The World Stop Turning” and “Waiting In The Dark” highlight this ability. That is not to say that Lillian Axe lacks the ability to compose upbeat songs. Favorites such as “Show A Little Love”, “Dream Of A Lifetime” and set closer “True Believer” still pack a positive punch live.
For those who remember Taylor as the man with killer pipes and killer hair, they will be surprised to see that Ron now strongly resembles Jessie “The Governor” Ventura. Most importantly, the voice is still intact, something most of his melodic hard rock contemporaries cannot boast.