Please take note…this review is strictly for the 2 disc audio version of the show by Lacuna Coil.
You can purchase the accompanying DVD of this show, but that is not reviewed here. In fact, I purposely did not watch it prior to this review so that the audio review would stand on its own merit outside of the visual presentation of the DVD.
20 years. That’s a long time in anyone’s book. Many bands aspire to be relevant for but a portion of that time frame. Yet Lacuna Coil not only persist, but seem to be thriving as they enter their third decade. But after 20 years as a band, this Italian outfit have released this live album as a celebration of this anniversary. The title is a nod to their song of the same name “1:19” from their second studio album. Its meaning has long been a mystery, but the fans of the band have taken the title and designated January 19 as “Lacuna Coil Day.” So what better way to mark your longevity than by having an epic concert, on that day, to celebrate, and then record it to share with your fans?!
We are treated to a 2 CD set of 27 tunes that span their career. There are songs from their original EP all the way to their most recent release here. There are three from the EP, two from In a Reverie, four from Unleashed Memories, three from Comalies, three from Karmacode, two from Shallow Life, two from Dark Adrenaline, three from Broken Crown Halo and two from Delirium. That is a pretty well rounded and album represented set list. I am sure that not every Lacuna Coil fan will be totally satisfied with the set list. I’ve read some comments about certain favorites not being in the show. But honestly, what set list satisfies every rabid fan? Plus I think the band wanted to pull out some material that fans don’t normally get to enjoy in order to add a little extra for this legacy show.
The show starts with a keyboard intro before the band launches into “A Current Obsession.” You can tell the crowd was pleased with this an opener. From there the band launches into the track this was named after, 1:19 and the crowd goes crazy. Vocalists Cristina Scabbia and Andrea Ferro do a nice job live of juxtaposing her soaring vocals with his earthy growls. Their wonderful interplay continues on “My Wings” and “End of Time.” Next comes “Blood, Tears, and Dust.” The band crushes this one. It’s the very definition of modern gothic metal. Heavy and atmospheric, beautiful and dark. Probably the highlight of the performance for me. “Swamped” follows and the crowd appreciates being gifted one of their favorites. The second disc also features some nice moments. After powering through several tracks, the heaviness lifts for “Falling.” This track is just piano and Scabbia. The vocals are raw, emotional and vulnerable. “Wide Awake” follows in a similar manner. But the band brings the power back in the last three tracks to close the show. Starting with the catchy “I Forgive” and then their quite good cover of Depeche Mode’s “Enjoy the Silence.” They close with “Nothing Stands in Our Way,” no doubt serving notice that the band is far from done and still wish to push forward and keep rocking on.
Now onto the recording itself. Live recordings have a long history of being difficult to review. Some people love live recordings. A good one will show what power a band has live. Others fall flat and are not a great representation of the live experience. Plus, many fans don’t like listening to songs in this format and are happy with the original recordings. In this age it’s definitely easier to get good sounding live recording. So where does this show stack up sonically? It’s not perfect, but overall it’s nicely done. I spent a long time with this one. I listened to it on several systems. Home system, headphones at work as well as in my car. What really stands out to me is the vocal production. Cristina’s and Andrea’s vocals are at the very front. And they should be. The music revolves around what they bring to the table in my opinion. There are times when I feel the production gets a little muddy and others where all the pieces meld together perfectly. On the first disc, there were times early in the set where I felt the keyboards were pushed back too far in the mix and caused a “sameness” in the presentation of the songs. By the time “Swamped” starts at track 7, things seem to have improved. The lead guitars were usually sharp throughout the recording and Diego Cavalotti grinds it out nicely. But there were times when the rhythm sections were drowned out a little by the bass track. There were times too, where I felt the bass was not sharp, but other times where it drove the tracks nicely and really grooved. Despite my criticisms, overall I think it was a production success. But, as I said, the vocals are where it’s at with this band, and in the end those did not disappoint.
So where does that leave us? A career spanning and defining show recorded for posterity done very well. Certainly any hard core Lacuna Coil fan will see this as a must have. I think that even the casual fan will be pleased with this release and happy to have in their collection.
Lacuna Coil – The 119 Show – Live in London was released on November 9th, 208 under Century Media and it is Available as 2CD/DVD, Blu-ray/DVD/2CD, Digital Album.
2. A Current Obsession
4. My Wings
5. End of Time
6. Blood, Tears, Dust
8. The Army Inside
9. Veins of Glass
10. One Cold Day
11. The House of Shame
12. When a Dead Man Walks
13. Tight Rope
14. Soul Intro Hades
1. I Like It
2. Heaven’s a Lie
6. Our Truth
9. Wide Awake
10. I Forgive (But I Won’t Forget Your Name)
11. Enjoy the Silence
12. Nothing Stands in Our Way
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