Tony MacAlpine is one name I've been familiar with for a long time now, as he is always classified as a central figure in the rise of the neoclassical guitar hero (though he was always overshadowed by Yngwie "You've Released the Fucking Fury!" Malmsteen it seemed), a trend which came and went in the 80s, but is still floating about somewhat, and rightly so I feel! The world needs ambitious musicians like Tony doing his thing. He may not have invented the neoclassical shred approach, and his sound might seem "dated" to those not into such music, but he deserves due credit for helping to inspire legions of young aspiring guitar wankers to do more with their left hands than simply cupping their ballsacks while masturbating.
"Live Insanity" gives us a satisfying listen to Tony's multi-talented musical prowess. For those who didn't know, this guy is at least as good, if not better, at the piano as he is at guitar. And as one would expect, he gives the audience all the fire and pizzazz on both instruments which I'm sure they bought their tickets to see. I admit that personally, the neo-classical thing doesn't really fan my sweaty anus anymore. I've heard it done more than a few times, and in the end it usually comes off as being musical overkill; great musicianship, but no actual SONGS to speak of. They are often wrought with banal 80s-Rock riffs, while the guitarist shreds like a tree-grinder for six minutes straight. Tony, however, can write some pretty cool songs, and each band member gets some time in the spotlight. My interest is retained throughout most of this disc, even though there definitely are times where my index finger itches for the "skip" button. The production is rough around the edges as well, but I prefer to hear some imperfections when it comes to live recordings. No "Overdub Insanity" for me, thank you...
I can't really criticize albums like this, I can only be biased. Neoclassical shred-Rock is not my forte, but based on albums like this, I might just have to run out and grab a couple more albums in this style. Tony's abilities lie far beyond what only a fraction of musicians in the world could comprehend, and at bare minimum, that must be respected. I suggest any and all neoclassical buffs obtain this, definitely a worthy addition to the Shrine of the Shred. For those looking for something a bit more avant-garde and altogether unique, check out the new PLANET X album "Moonbabies," which shows that Tony is just as comfortable playing bizarre jazz/fusion compositions as he is at the meat-and-potatoes shred rock... (Online December 31, 2002)