It's been 25 years since Simple Minds last released an official live album. In the meantime, I've collected countless bootlegs and recently started buying official "instant" recordings from some of their recent tours. Those are the straight from the soundboard recordings made available to fans right after a concert is finished. They're nice, but quite rough around the edges. Usually the vocals sound flat or poorly mixed on the instantly available recordings. This new album, in contrast, is a dramatic step towards a more professionally mixed and produced album. But it stays true to the performances, unlike their live album from 1987 (Live in the City of Lights) which was overmixed and overdubbed with studio recordings. 5x5 Live captures what I can only assume are the best performances of virtually every song played in Simple Minds's 5x5 Tour (2012). This was a unique concept project in which the band played 5 songs from each of their first 5 albums. What makes those albums special is that they are widely considered to be the band at it's artistic high point, before it went mainstream with songs like Don't You Forget About Me and Alive and Kicking. Don't get me wrong. I'm not panning those songs or the modern Simple Minds sound. I love it all. But there is something undeniably special about their first 5 (or 6) albums. They could have artistically pulled off a 6x6 tour, but it would have made for very long concerts. LOL. Anyway, I highly encourage all fans of the band to get this album. It's everything I could hope for from a live album. Jim's vocals sound great, all of the instruments are perfectly mixed, and nothing appears to be overdubbed or re-recorded. Unlike the City of Lights album, they had a whole tour to take songs from. I would have liked it if they had listed the dates for each song on the album. But that information is available on Simon Cornwell's Dream Giver unofficial site.