Live records are dust collectors. They sit on our record shelves and get passed over for their studio counterparts. Deservedly so, most live records capture lazy bands trying to make easy money. The exceptions—Live at Budakan and, well, let’s assume for the sake of argument that there exists another worthy live record (Don’t bring up It’s Alive. I refuse to believe anyone prefers that to Leave Home or Rocket to Russia)—offer something we didn’t get in the studio, whether it’s new songs, new arrangements, or good stage banter. No dice here. Live Dallas 2007 captures the instruments and the vocals but not the show. It’s taken from the mixing board so there are no audience sounds, which eliminates the possibility of interaction. The performances feel more like a band rehearsal than a show. Yeah, it’s mildly amusing to hear the band critique the lack of backing vocals on “My Corolla,” but it also adds to the complacent, punch-the-clock feel. At one point Darlington, who, like Sting, Cher, and Topol, uses a single-name moniker, says, “I was dangerously close to overrocking.” A live record should capture a night when the band wasn’t pacing itself.
–Mike Faloon (Darlingtomusic.com)