“Greatest Hits Live” by New England

Artist: New England
Title: “Greatest Hits Live”
Label: MVD Audio
Release Date: 6/5/2007
Genre: Hard Rock
Rating: 3.5/5

Fans of Melodic Rock will definitely enjoy this gem from over twenty five years ago as the band New England is captured live in concert presenting their greatest numbers in front of an enthusiastic crowd. Their name might ring a bell to the some of the older KISS fans as back during the “Dynasty” tour New England was the bands sole support act and their sound seemed the perfect difference to that which KISS was delivering night after night. I admit that I was not one of their earlier followers but I enjoyed being able to hear this CD as an adult because the skillful level of musicianship and keen AOR melodies found me realizing that I was listening to something very special indeed. The band was comprised of Boston, MA residents John Fannon (guitar, vocals), Hirsh Gardner (drums, vocals), Gary Shea (bass) and Jimmy Waldo (keyboards, vocals) and together they delivered some really solid tunes and should have achieved a lot more success than they seemed to. Their main hit was “Don’t Ever Wanna Lose Ya” and not only did it break the Billboard Top 40 when such a thing had more relevance, but it can still be heard on some classic rock stations of today. The tune was by no means their only claim to fame as they had songs like “Nothing To Fear” and “Hey You’re On The Run” which also showed the signs and style that was found in late 70’s Progressive Rock.

I think that fans of Journey and perhaps even The Sweet would enjoy what was being done by New England very easily and if you are one of those Rock Historian folks who is looking for a worthy piece of music to help you reflect on a different decade in the genre then this one is worth your taking the time to find. As far as a live concert goes the production mix on the instruments is really done well and it’s noted here that no overdubs and re-recording of parts has been done. I tend to believe this as there are a couple of rough spots that would have been edited out if they had redone anything on the concert. “Alone Tonight” seems to be another radio friendly number that keeps an energetic and uplifting pace throughout and I was also pretty sold on “Shoot” which had some cool keyboards and an overall heavy melody line happening. There are brief dum and guitar interludes to enjoy and the concert itself ends with a subtle ballad called “You’ll Be Born Again” which shows that bands can leave you wanting with even the quieter tunes. Even with me being somewhat unschooled on their back catalog I found the album something that was very easy to listen to from beginning to end.

This is a solid listen for any fan of good Classic Rock from a time when the band was not considered classic at all and was still just a newcomer to the ever-growing scene. Over the years they have maintained a steady following and as you listen to this rocking concert it’s easy to see why they have not lost their loyalty yet. A brief historic essay is presented in the booklet along with a number of photos that I think show very vividly the band in action. Go back in time with New England and relive “Big Rock” the way that it was meant to be appreciated the best – in concert.

Track Listing:
1. Alone Tonight
2. Shoot
3. Hello Hello Hello
4. The Last Show
5. Encore
6. Hey You’re On The Run
7. Shall I Run Away
8. Nothing To Fear
9. Don’t Ever Wanna Lose Ya
10. Explorer Suite
11. P.U.N.K.
12. You’ll Be Born Again

Official Website: www.newenglandrocks.com
Official Website: www.hirshgardner.com

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