Release Date: 02.05.02
Record label: sony
A Passionless Performance
by: peter naldrett - uk correspondent
The roar from the crowd as the unmistakable sax on "Smooth Operator" kicks in gives you an early promise of a classic concert album. But as the 13 tracks on Sade's debut live recording drag on without many other peaks and plenty of troughs, it's clear that Lovers Live is not going to have a smooth ride.
It's an unbelievable 18 years since Sade's best two singles were released, "Smooth Operator" being the highlight of this live collection but "Your Love Is King" ironically not getting a mention on this smoochy album. The only other point of attraction for those who are not part of the Sade fan club is the 1992 release "No Ordinary Love," the rest on this CD being a mixture of album fillers and failed single releases.
The songs on Lovers Live were put together on Sade's Lovers Rock Tour which saw the well known UK star perform across the United States. True, it is a career-spanning set of the kind that artists rarely perform these days. But the career has to be founded on fantastic vocals and instantly recognizable tunes for the set to become renowned, and that is something that Sade has never quite managed since her debut in 1984.
Still, despite having fallen from the eye of attention over the last few years, Sade has notched up 48 million album sales worldwide and had several nominations for major awards. All the more reason, then, for her live album to be more compelling than it actually is. But Lovers Live is dreary, full of poor songs and meaningless chit-chat between them, as "Jezebel," "Paradise" and "Flow" sum up the vacuum of passion in this love album.
Die hard fans may get a little more out of the accompanying DVD and video release that has an extra nine tracks on board, including the classic "Your Love Is King." The Lovers Live CD, though, is certainly not enough to ignite the romantic candle in even the smoothest operator. 26-Feb-2002 5:10 PM