First aired ten days prior to the release of Girl on Fire, Alicia Keys' VH1 Storytellers program featured six songs. While this set expands the set to 11 songs, it does not present the full performance. Heavy editing was involved; certain portions of Keys' dialogue re hacked up, crowd noise is unnaturally lowered and raised in volume, and there is little evident effort to make the songs flow. Keys' first words here, the lead-in to "No One," are "We were at the end of the album, and it was finished, and." -- so it provokes the feeling of walking into the venue as the gig is in progress. Furthermore, much of her intro to the following "Brand New Me" was cut. For all its choppiness, VH1 Storytellers is enjoyably off-the-cuff, with Keys' anecdotes (including an extended tale about the making of "You Don't Know My Name") and remarks ("I love an acoustic guitar!") often delivered as she and her band are playing. The five songs that didn't air are relevant, including a hot "Fallin'" that could have easily been overcooked, and an "Un-thinkable (I'm Ready)" that packs a heavier rhythmic punch than the studio version. Ironically, this is less showy than 2005's Unplugged, and it's better for it. ~ Andy Kellman
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