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Garth Brooks

Double Live – 1998 (Capitol)

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

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CDs by Garth Brooks

One of the biggest positives about Garth Brooks' live album is that it's on disc. The listener is forced to focus on the music - for the most part - and spared the stage antics, flashpots and Brooks bounding about the stage with unlimited energy.

The energy certainly translates quite well to disc with revved up versions of "The Fever" and Papa Loved Mama." The crowd definitely is enthusiastic throughout, singing along on a number of songs. But neither he nor they can make the yahoo song "American Honky Tonk Bar Association" sound any better this time around. And Brooks certainly caters to the fans with obvious come-ons like asking them to sing the third verse of "Friends in Low Places."

Brooks' voice is certainly adept at whatever style he chooses though he is given to excess at times. He overplays the twangy accent on the otherwise fine "Two of a Kind, Working on a Full House." Give him a ballad like his trademark song "The Dance," Unanswered Prayers" and "If Tomorrow Never Comes," and you have Brooks' tender, softer, serious side. The focus is on his voice because the band is almost always kept in the background and undermiked.

Listeners should note that there was studio tinkering with the album. Too bad because you would think Brooks would have enough high quality concert material to cull this album from.

This is not just a rehashing of the studio releases, - though there's not a drastic difference - so for those needing a dose of Brooks live, this is the medicine.