Rolling Stone - 12/9/99, pp.80-13 stars out of 5
- "...Merchant takes a joy in performing that's absolutely winning. This disc transmits that joy....The hits and covers showcase the singer's considerable empathy..."
Spin - 2/00, pp.114-56 out of 10
- "...brings more purity of essence to her excerpting of 5 nights in Manhattan, hitting every note....Lovely takes on 'Carnival' and 'Ophelia' highlight her ongoing experiment in the toxicity limits of ruefulness..."
Entertainment Weekly - 11/12/99, p.82
"...provides a tutorial on what meks a standout performance: different-enough versions of the hits...offbeat covers...and all the spontaneity of performance with none of the self-indulgence..." - Rating: B+
Q - 1/00, p.1203 stars out of 5
- "...has the same end-of-an-era feel [as her MTV UNPLUGGED album]....Mostly, it's solid, sweetly sung readings of the finest from 1995's splendid TIGERLILY..."
CMJ - 12/13/99, p.27
"...features [her] hits 'Wonder' and 'Ophelia,' as well as a few interesting covers....moving renditions of Neil Young's 'After The Goldrush' and David Bowie's 'Space Oddity'..."
Mojo (Publisher) - 1/00, p.103
"...The selection is as safe as the format, withy crowd-pleasing covers of David Bowie's 'Space Oddity' and Neil Young's 'After The Goldrush' thrown in for good measure....the playing of her 7-poece band is exemplary..."
Personnel: Natalie Merchant (vocals, piano); Susan McKeown (vocals); Gabriel Gordon (guitar, background vocals); Erik Della Penna (guitar); Elizabeth Steen (keyboards); Graham Maby (bass); Peter Yanowitz (drums); Doug Stringer
Recorded live at the Neil Simon Theater, New York, New York on June 13, 1999.
All tracks have been digitally mastered using HDCD technology.
Personnel: Natalie Merchant (vocals, piano); Susan McKeown (vocals); Erik Della Penna (guitar); Peter Yanowitz (drums).
Audio Mixer: Jim Scott .
Photographer: Ken Schles.
Erstwhile 10,000 Maniacs frontwoman Natalie Merchant continues her highly successful solo career with LIVE IN CONCERT, a show that was recorded at New York's Neil Simon Theater. The set opens, somewhat appropriately, with one of the songs that got Merchant's solo career off to a blazing start, "Wonder." As she usually does in live performance, Merchant plays with the lyrical phrasing of the song to add unexpected melisma and daring tonal gambits.
Merchant lends the dark and ephemeral "San Andreas Fault" a lightly sultry quality not found on the studio version. Other familiar favorites include "Beloved Wife," "Carnival," and "Ophelia." Merchant revisits the Maniacs' catalog only once, for a rousing take on "Gun Shy." Two unexpected covers spice the middle of the set: a haunting and powerful reading of David Bowie's "Space Oddity," and a beautiful take on Neil Young's "After the Gold Rush." Merchant and her prodigiously talented backing band manage to breathe new life into the songs, which in lesser hands might come off as weak copies of the revered originals.