I saw John Waite live twice in 2012. The first concert was in New Hope, PA. After that performance I was invited to attend a second concert the following week, for free, at Philly Sound Studios in South Philly, and I was told that the show was going to be recorded for an upcoming live album. That album, Live All Access, is now available, and here are my thoughts on it.
Both John Waite concerts I attended were awesome. The singer’s high-energy performance and vocal strength and clarity made it hard to believe he was 60 years old at the time. The set lists included solo material, as well as a few songs from his time as the lead singer of The Babys and Bad English. Simply stated, a fantastic time was had by all. Therefore, I expected Live All Access to be a tremendous album. Unfortunately, it comes up short in one key area.
With a total of only eight songs, Live All Access clocks in at 31 minutes and 19 seconds. While these eight songs rock hard, in this day and age, this kind of brevity is completely unacceptable. All live albums should be at least 60 minutes long and feature between 12 and 15 tracks. With digital music erasing the capacity restrictions of CDs, there’s no valid reason why this album isn’t longer.
Despite being too short, every song on Live All Access is full of energy, expert musicianship and impressive vocals. And half the tracks are live renditions of songs from Waite’s most recent studio album, the fantastic Rough & Tumble. Being a huge fan of Waite’s new material, I was thrilled to see that it got so much attention on this album. However, if you’re looking for hits like “Missing You” and “When I See You Smile,” you won’t find them here.
In 2010 John Waite released a live album called In Real Time; it was an excellent collection of 12 songs that covered the singer’s impressive career. If you combined that album with the content on Live All Access, you’d have a spectacular live recording that I would highly recommend. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Live All Access is only worth buying if you’re a hardcore John Waite fan, like myself. All others need not apply.