For a guy who detested performing live as much as Gaye did, two live double albums in three years sure seems like a perverse way of creating a legacy.
Marvin Gaye Live
is to London Palladium
as Let's Get It On
is to I Want You
- similar on paper, but containing a precipitous drop in quality and good taste, earmarked by a distinct lack of engagement by the man whose name is emblazoned on the album's cover.
Gaye never sounded truly bad mind, it's just that a lot of the time he sounds like he's whispering instead of singing to the rafters, and that doesn't make for extra-hot-sauce excitement. His voice is still distinctive and always in perfect tune, but its lost its guts for sure, eaten away by 15 years of coke abuse, lost to bloody Kleenex along with his nasal septum and his marriage.
It also doesn't help that Gaye starts out with two tuneless album tracks from deep in the gooey deadened heart of I Want You
("All the Way 'Round" and "Since I Had You" - in case you're writing a term paper or something) before finally warming up to a (truncated) performance peak of "Come Get to This", "Let's Get It On", and a rousing "Trouble Man".
Half of Marvin Gaye Live
was great versions of his recent favorites murshed into a sort of heavenly mix tape, but here there's just three good songs before all hell breaks loose and rampaging demons begin giving us swirlies and pissing on our foyer rugs. Hence come the medleys ...
by Reviewer: Capt Bonanza
(blogging at Capn Marvel's Bonanza [Defunct]