NIGHT RANGER – 24 Strings and a Drummer Acoustic

Frontiers www.frontiers.it

Given their longevity and their reputation for a quality ballad, it is perhaps surprising that Night Ranger have waited so long to release an unplugged album. But with interest in them revived by last year’s excellent Growing Up in California album, the band mark their 30th anniversary with an acoustic live album (and DVD) in front of an invited audience in their home state.

Interestingly they open with This Boy Needs to Rock, one of the less likely songs for acoustic treatment,  and it is fascinating to see the normal solos replaced y almost country style pickings The set  fairly closely mirrors their regular live set, right down to the contrasting closers of Sister Christian and You Can Still Rock in America. However there are a few interesting moments, notably the ballad Forever All Over Again from their neglected late 1990’s reformation, which the format suits perfectly.

While some songs- such as the traditional ballad medley of Sentimental Street, Goodbye and Four in the Morning  – are not too far removed from the originals, others appear as you will never have heard them before, notably Don’t Tell Me You Love Me with the twin lead guitar duel replaced by some rapid fire Spanish guitar picking.  There is also a bonus track of a very authentic acoustic cover of Don Henley’s classic the Boys of Summer.

One disappointment is that despite being a live album, there is next to no chat between songs. For most bands this might be a blessing, but the band are noted for their wise cracking banter and fun approach and this fails to capture the full Night Ranger live experience.

An interesting listen if perhaps not an essential purchase.

*** ¾

Andy Nathan

 


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