Typically I find live albums to be as worthwhile as a corporate created holiday. Although we're all led to believe that they have something to offer to the consumer, when in actuality it's sole purpose is to make money off of the unsuspecting (or like me, stupid) consumer. Every once and a while though, a record label will do something right, and release a quality live album, one in which the songs are played with the feeling and intensity that the studio cannot capture, but can only be witnessed in a live setting.
"Live In L.A." finds itself along side other great live albums, but it does have one flaw. The best part of this disc is the fact that, as the title indicates, it's raw. Apparently not a single note was changed from the original live recording, and there's nothing on this disc that would indicate otherwise. The sound itself is crisp and clear, leaving enough room to hear all the instruments properly. The performance is, of course, fantastic, and it's great to hear Chuck talking to the crowd between songs. Not just for the fact that it adds to the live feeling of the disc, but just to hear his voice. It's obvious just from the few words that you hear that he was close to his fans, that he really loved what he did, and that he was a genuinely kind person.
The only real problem with this is, as good as it is, it's still an above average 'best-of' compilation. Something like this needs a little spice in the packaging and booklet to make it really worthwhile to the casual fan, and this is where they fail. A blurry picture of each band member, a group shot, tour dates and a track list, that's it. Something like this needs a whole group of pictures, group shots with fans, liner notes, stuff like that. Without them, the CD seems rushed.
As a final testament in DEATH's history, a live album is ideal. It shows Chuck in the environment he loved, doing what he did best. (Online July 4, 2003)