Black Country Communion – Live Over Europe Review

Black Country Communion - Live Over Europe

Black Country Communion - Live Over Europe

Black Country Communion released their first live outing, Live Over Europe in late 2011 just a few short months after their second studio album ‘2’ and only about a year after their self-titled debut.

The band, which is something of a super group featuring the talented Joe Bonamassa, Glen Hughes, Jason Bonham and Derek Sherinham. Between them they’ve worked in all sorts of interesting and important bands like Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin (sort of), Jimmy Page’s solo works, Dream Theater and lots of other solo and guest work.

There are some good things going for Live Over Europe. The set-list for example is pretty fabulous, featuring fifteen live original songs by the band (with another studio version in the credits, inexplicably listed on the back) as well as a modified Bonamassa solo track and one Deep Purple cover (‘Burn.’) This is a pretty impressive turn out considering the band only have twenty-three songs at the time it was recorded.

In terms of non-concert extras, the booklet has linear notes and there is a documentary bonus feature along with some photo galleries.

The biggest problem with this release however is the format; it is taken from different shows on different European dates, instead of just picking one to film and release in its entirety. Some of the shows are indoor, some are festivals and as such the sound quality and mixing from each is a little different, which can prevent it from flowing as well as a single show would.

The editing job isn’t exactly the best either, with the first song ‘Black Country’ especially suffering. The track is split up between the different concerts and stitched together, with little sections of documentary dialogue in there too. Luckily though, this is the only song to be spoiled in such a way and the rest of the release displays each song intact and complete from beginning to end at the one show, although sometimes the transition between shows will feature a few seconds of documentary footage.

If you can get by the format and forgive the editing (and the aspect ratio), this is still a good enough release that is fairly enjoyable. I have watched it a fair few times since it came out and do not regret buying it despite its flaws.

While quality isn’t consistent, some of the shows have very good sound and visuals. In each show, the band are always great performers and the songs themselves are very good so it really does still offer a lot of quality for fans, so long as they aren’t put off by the aforementioned format and editing.

Overall; Live Over Europe isn’t everything you could hope for in a Black Country Communion live release, so take that into consideration before picking up a copy, but at the same time it is a Black Country Communion live release, which should be enough for a lot of people. The wonderful playing and superb vocals from Joe and Glen really do make up for a heck of a lot and tracks like ‘The Battle For Hadrian’s Wall’ and ‘The Ballad Of John Henry’ are absolutely phenomenal live.

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