In 1977, a Christian singer named Keith Green released his debut album with Sparrow Records, titled For Him Who Has Ears To Hear. He released three more studio albums and a compilation before he died in 1982, in a plane crash. He also performed many concerts in those five years. For many years, his fans have wanted a live album, and on April 29, 2008, because of the requests for a live album, The Live Experience was released.
The first order of business is the audio portion of The Live Experience Special Edition. The entire album sounds surprisingly good for old recordings. The tracks are put together to make it sound like one concert, although they are taken from several concerts. Many of the recordings have never been released before. A few of them have been previously released, but in other forms -- including "Asleep in the Light" from Jesus West Coast 1982, released by Last Days Ministries on the Memorial Concert video/DVD, and "Keith's Piano Prelude/Create in Me A Clean Heart," was released on the Jesus Commands Us To Go! album (1984) -- but this version is stripped down to the original live version. It is the only noticeably edited track (just the "Piano Prelude" is edited).
Fans will notice some of these songs feature different lyrics. Some of the highlights of the CD are "You Put This Love In My Heart" (1978, The Daisy Club) and an early version of "Oh Lord, You're Beautiful" (1979, Oral Roberts University), with different lyrics. The CD also unlocks online bonus features. This is the first time I've heard live versions of many of these songs.
The DVD is a great addition to the release. The main part of it is a collection of concert footage. The first section is from "Jesus 1977" and it includes "You Put This Love In My Heart" and "Your Love Broke Through," with some talking. The audio is mostly good, and the performance is high-energy. In the "Jesus 1977" performance, Keith has a mustache, but he doesn't have his signature beard. There is some editing in the concert footage, but it is hard to know where. The second section is from "Estes Park 1978," and it includes a lot of talking/preaching, with "He'll Take Care Of The Rest," "To Obey Is Better Than Sacrifice," an early version of "The Sheep And The Goats," "Asleep in the Light," "The Victor," and "Make My Life A Prayer To You." The sound is very good on this one. The performance is the most energetic of all of them.
"Jesus Northwest 1979" may have the poorest video quality of all the videos. There is only one song in this section, "Because Of You," which is the song that introduced me to Keith Green. The audio quality is good, however the lighting isn't. It is still a great, high-energy performance, however. "Jesus West Coast 1980" includes "So You Wanna Go Back To Egypt" and "My Eyes Are Dry." In this concert, he has no mustache, and no beard. He looks completely different. Keith does a lot of talking before "So You Wanna Go Back To Egypt." In this, there is a minor audio problem. It's barely noticeable, but after "So You Wanna Go Back To Egypt," the video goes right into "My Eyes Are Dry." The performance is still energetic, but it is also a little more mellow. "Jesus West Coast 1982" includes four songs: "Soften Your Heart," "Jesus Commands Us To Go!" (the last song he wrote), "Asleep in the Light," and "Open Your Eyes." (There are two songs from this concert- "How Can They Live Without Jesus" and "I Want To Be More Like Jesus" - that are not on the DVD, but they are on the CD). In this one, the video quality and audio quality are both good. The only problem for me with this section being included is that I have this video on the Memorial Concert DVD, but its inclusion here makes it available to more people.
The last section of concert footage is from "Live at the Daisy Club-LA 1978." It includes "When I Hear The Praises Start," "I Can't Wait To Get To Heaven," "I Can't Believe It," "Dear John Letter (To The Devil)," and "Easter Song." The sound and performance are good. Keith is mellow and relaxed. Toward the end of the last song, the video fades to black and the credits come on. In addition to the concert footage, an hour-long documentary, "Your Love Broke Through: The Keith Green Story," is included. It features rare home movies, concert footage, pictures, and interviews with Keith's friends and family, and it is narrated by Christian singer TobyMac. This documentary was previously released on the 2002 The Ultimate Collection, so it seems unnecessary to include it here. Also, Keith's 1982 appearance on the Canadian Christian program 100 Huntley Street is included.
This is the best Keith Green release in many years. It is the definitive live album. The concerts don't feel old, thanks to digital remastering. Like many others, I have been wanting a live album of Keith to be released for some time. And after hearing and seeing this, it's clear that Green's concert recordings are more dynamic than the studio recordings. This is a must for any Keith Green fan.JFH Reader Review: Review date: 6/15/08, written by Ian Michael Hayden for Jesusfreakhideout.com
Record Label: Sparrow Records