By Woody, Woody’s Rock Reviews
Although Michael Kratz is an established musician in his native Denmark my introduction to him was his last album ‘Live Your Life’ which I really enjoyed but when this double live album came to me, I wasn’t sure what to expect as a good chunk of the setlist is new to me. Some genius decided to add a reissue of Kratz’s album ‘Cross The Line’ as a bonus disc, this of course allowed me to familiarise myself with the studio recording versions of much of the setlist. Not only does this re-issue, which itself features a handful of bonus tracks, make this album value for money but it also helps people new to Kratz to get a fuller picture of his music.
I can take or leave live albums, this is mainly down to the fact I find regardless of how much I may enjoy them initially I don’t return to them often, usually this is in favour of the studio recorded versions. The live albums I do tend to return to have something strong about them that captures me and encourages me to revisit them, a great example of this is Magnum’s ‘Stronghold’ which contains amongst others the best version of ‘Back To Earth’.
So, does Kratz’s live album do that, well I’d say yes, but not because the live versions are specifically better or have more impact than the studio but because the set has a very uplifting and relaxing tone. Therefore, making it a very enjoyable listen that suits various moods, to chill out with or even trying to cheer yourself up after a hard day.
It’s extremely well produced with a crystal-clear sound. It captures the live feeling without distortions or obtrusive imperfections, the crowd noise isn’t overbearing and the sound mix is perfect. This allows for maximum enjoyment, nothing is as good as actually been there but this does give you in an insight in to Kratz live. His band are flawless and obviously extremely experienced live performers and Kratz is spot on with his rich and emotive vocals coming across with a great impact.
This is an essential listen for fans of the softer stuff, although Kratz is a new name to not just me but I’m sure many Fireworks readers he is a true master of the art of Westcoast AOR. I love stuff like this and I’m sure many others will too!
Essential Track – ‘Hypnotised’