Music Review Archive
Music Review: TobyMac, "Alive & Transported" Live CD
Record Label: Forefront Records
Album length: 21 tracks
Street Date: May 27, 2008
Twelve years ago, Toby McKeehan's previous stage romping band dc Talk released their one and only full-length live album, Welcome To The Freak Show. At that time, technology wasn't quite equipped for releasing the audio and the video recordings together as well as they do now. Now, in 2008, with TobyMac's debut live solo recording, Alive & Transported, fans won't have to double-dip to get the whole package as the complete audio and video recordings are put together in one sweet little cardboard tri-fold deal.
As suggested earlier, TobyMac isn't a rookie when it comes to capturing the live show experience on tape. While Welcome To The Freak Show was a good attempt at giving fans something to take home from a dc Talk show, it wasn't exactly a great one, ultimately not doing the trio's live performance quite the justice it deserved. With TobyMac's live show being the next-best-thing to a dc Talk performance (and in ways, it may - dare I say it - have bested it?), Alive & Transported does a pretty good job putting that on disc.
The first order of business is the audio portion of Alive & Transported. It's a crisp, clean production that sounds fantastic from beginning to end. All of the show is included (instead of those occasional projects that put some of the show on the disc and then all of it on the DVD... what's up with that?), mixed so well that you're likely to hear things from Toby's show you've never heard before. With such an entourage and so much going on, a TobyMac performance is a bit of sensory overload (which you can see in the DVD), so at a live show, you can't really take in everything that everyone on stage is doing simultaneously. For example, when you're listening to the audio portion of Alive, you can really hear Nirva Dorsaint-Ready's background vocals a lot more prominently or Dave Wyatt's keys and Tim Roseanu's guitar licks. It's a fuller TobyMac concert experience. It's here where you can really appreciate the talent of these musicians as musicians - not just showmen. The only downside to the audio recording is in the way the music comes across. When you're at a live show, the feel of the music - particularly the bass - helps in the presentation of the songs. "Boomin'" loses something in translation without the listener being able to also "feel" the music. While the vocals are mixed just about perfectly throughout, the guitars also seem a little low, as well as the bass on the recording. However, when it comes to a song like "Yours," the guitars seem mixed just right for the more rock-based anthem. In the long run, it's not a big enough problem to hold against the project, just a bit bittersweet when you know what it could potentially sound like. It's difficult to get over how good the audio clarity is. When you look at last year's "Alive in Florida" project from Rebecca St. James, the fuzzy audio quality tends to stand out as the biggest strike against it. Alive & Transported puts you in the front row (if not on the stage with the band). The crowd noise is even cut out during the actual song but mixed in appropriately in the song intros (and outros) before almost completely dropping out during the song. It's this kind of treatment that is likely not only to give this recording longevity, but to also let the songs be the focus. It doesn't sound like you're standing in the back of the auditorium like on Audio Adrenaline's Live Bootleg (which still has its fun moments, though). Instead, you're right there.
To order your own copy of Alive & Transported, CLICK HERE