Rodrigo y Gabriela - Live in France
Not the best medium for their indisputable live capabilities and, with their seemingly endless touring schedule affording fans almost constant access to the real thing, here’s a far from essential live release.
Rodrigo y Gabriela, no strangers to the live album (this is their third), demonstrate beyond little doubt that their gigs are boisterous, rocking affairs; the crowd noise is left upfront and all over the mix. Those of us who remember live albums from seemingly another age, a time when the internet and electronic music were science fiction, would often thrill to the idea that our favourite artists would release a live set every few years. But surely now, with MP3s having consigned vinyl (and cassette tape live bootlegs, record fair fans) to a dusty grave, and Youtube putting live performance on your lap at a mere key stroke, the live album takes its place alongside Anne Frank’s drum kit in the museum of uselessness.
That aside, of course they sound fine – brilliant and truly inspired in places. Taken from the recent and ongoing tour in support of 11:11, here’s confirmation that that latest studio offering is their best work to date. A mix of the meat of that release and a handful of older favourites, Live in France will do little to dispel their fans’ fascination with their fretboard gymnastics. In fact, so deftly do they command their material, performances are virtually note for note. That’s impressive but, again, weakens the case for this album.
If the label is committed to releasing their live work, then it would make more sense to not only cover a single performance in full (the ebb and flow of an evening in their company brings with it drama missing from a highlights set) but to also include a live DVD. The duo, finally embracing live performance with upfront commitment, have become as visually compelling as the fullest rock band. That,and their burgeoning rapport with their rapidly growing audience, only adds to the argument that the best way to enjoy their music is with a ticket, and not a CD, in your hand.