Foreigner – The Best Of 4 And More by Rockulus Maximus
The album title states loudly and proudly that it encompasses a triumphant moment in the band’s back catalogue which is their 1981 studio album ‘4’. The part of the title which mentions ‘...And More’ is also potentially exciting, as those songs we love or perhaps surprises from their strong albums ‘Unusual Heat’ (featuring Johnny Edwards on lead vocals) and their most recent studio album ‘Can’t Slow Down’ (featuring current lead vocalist Kelly Hansen) might get some dusting down.
The current line-up is divine and solid as it includes main man and guitarist Mick Jones, the aforementioned Kelly Hansen on lead vocals, the ever-busy and energetic bassist Jeff Pilson, secret weapon Tom Gimbel tackling flute, rhythm guitar, Saxophone, Michael Bluestein on keys, drummer Chris Frazier with Bruce Watson handling lead guitar duties.
This live collection was recorded recently on October the 3rd and 4th in the Borgata Hotel in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The set-list may be unique and it may have been the first time they played this selection but it doesn’t detract from the fact it is well executed and the sound quality is the very best. From the band’s best selling 1981 studio album they play surprise songs ‘Woman In Black’, ‘Girl On The Moon’, Night Life’ and ‘Break It Up’ all of which are superb.
The well known highlights and beacons of commercial embrace are evident amongst the songs, including ‘Juke Box Hero’, complete with atmospheric introduction and slow build eventually settling into an extended jammed 13 minute plus rendition; ‘Waiting For A Girl Like You’ which isn’t so laboured and ‘Urgent’ which comes across very well. On this latter delight there is some wonderful saxophone via Gimbel as the band extended their creative muscles.
Added to their set-list are five extra adored nuggets of golden melodic rock which are welcomed by those in attendance. Looking for safe and predictable contributions from their back catalogue to boost the strength of the commercial appeal the band set about ‘Say You Will’, ‘Feels Like The First Time’, ‘Cold As Ice’, ‘I Want To Know What Love Is’ and ‘Hot Blooded’. Listen out for the delightful flute at the beginning of the acoustic-based version of ‘Say You Will’ thanks to Gimbel.
Ultimately this album is nothing more than a stocking filler afterthought unless you’re an avid fan of the band, and like buying everything they release! You’re left with the feeling that this line-up is awesome and they could conquer the world without doubt if they haven’t already done so, due to the fine musicianship and catalogue of songs they possess. ‘The Best of 4 And More’ is nothing more than foreplay which frustrates and teases to the point of annoyance.
In other words, a lot of fans including myself would rather have the follow up to ‘Can’t Slow Down’ which was a superb studio album packed full of classy melodic rock and released way back in 2009, and not necessarily wishing to swim amongst some fine live performances celebrating nostalgia. If I was to be picky and anal about this, they haven’t even been that comprehensive about doing justice to ‘4’ as they excluded the minor single impact of ‘Luanne’.
Taking a deep breath I’d say this live album has its place but it isn’t half as welcome as a brand new studio album would have been, especially as the band released a compilation earlier this very year focussing on their ballads and slower tracks. They may have ten multi-platinum studio albums and 16 top 30 hit singles in the U.S. but they come across like they are scared to make their next move regarding new material.
(3 pints outta 5)
Woman In Black
Waiting For A Girl Like You
Break It Up
Girl On The Moon
Say You Will
Feels Like The First Time
Cold As Ice
I Want To Know Where Love Is
Juke Box Hero
Record Label: Frontiers Records
Release Date: 5th December