8 Songs, 1 Hour 12 Minutes

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Ratings and Reviews

4.4 out of 5
7 Ratings

7 Ratings

SFmdar ,

Why compare?

It's not fair to expect this line up to be as good as the original Vishnu boys. Take this album at face value. It's very good. I've seen Mahavishnu several times in their prime, and was also at this SF show. They've always been good. If you expect too much, in most cases you'll usually be disappointed about something....

ekknox ,

Stick to the originals

As a fanatical John McLaughlin fan since the early 70's (and having been so fortunate to see him multiple times with the original Mahavishnu Orchestra, Shakti, Remember Shakti and the guitar trio with Paco de Lucia and Al DiMeola) I was really looking forward to this farewell tour featuring the old Mahavishnu material, but I am seriously disappointed in the record.

Don't get me wrong - John's soloing is as fiery as ever but there are a bunch of problems here. First and foremost, the old too-many-cooks-in-the-kitchen syndrome. Two drummers, bass players and keyboard players add nothing but murk to the mix. Ranjit Barot and Jeff Sipe together still do not come close to equally Billy Cobham circa 1972 (just listen to the two original Mahavishnu studio records for abundant proof), Gary Husband and Matt Slocum are no match for Jan Hammer. Without a doubt Etienne Mbappe plays circles around Rick Laird but as he was always the weak link in the original band that's much of a bar to clear.

The choice of songs is also bizarre. Meeting of the Spirits and Dance of Maya come close to being worth the price of admission but it ends there. A pointless electrified version of the quintessential Mahavishnu acoustic number A Lotus on Irish Streams is followed by nothing but B-side material from the worst Mahavishnu albums, complete with forgettable singing and an overall Mahavishnu-meets-Widespread Panic jamband sloppiness due to the aforementioned too-many-cooks syndrome.

Jason Crosby on violin is pretty darn good, though here too one is reminded of just how superior the original band was and how unfortuante it is that Jerry Goodman wasn't recruitedf for this last hurrah.

The other highlight, for me, is of course Jimmy Herring, a lovely man who (heretical as it may be to say it) has long been a far better electric guitarist than McLaughlin at his best. He has McLaughlin's speed and then some, while (unlike John) paying careful attention to tone a la Jeff Beck. If anything justifies buying this album it's Herring's too-few solos which are truly spectacular. That said, I'd take just one song from Herring's under-the-radar Project Z records over this entire CD.

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