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United States Live (4 CD) [Best of, Box set, Live]

Laurie Anderson Audio CD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)

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Product Details


Disc: 1
1. Say Hello
2. Walk The Dog
3. Violin Solo
4. Closed Circuits (For Voice And Amplified Mic Stand)
5. For A Large And Changing Room
See all 16 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Sax Solo (For Tape Bow Violin)
2. Sax Duet
3. Born, Never Asked
4. From The Air
5. Beginning French
See all 22 tracks on this disc
Disc: 3
1. Red Map
2. Hey Ah
3. Bagpipe Solo
4. Steven Weed
5. Time And A Half
See all 21 tracks on this disc
Disc: 4
1. Cello Solo
2. It Tango
3. Blue Lagoon
4. Hothead (La Langue D'Amour)
5. Stiff Neck
See all 19 tracks on this disc

Product Description

Amazon.ca

For most musicians and groups, the live box set marks the culmination of a lengthy recording and concert career. Not so for Laurie Anderson, whose United States Live appeared in 1984, following her tenure in academic and bohemian circles and a small handful of releases on Warner Bros. and smaller labels. The release was an unusual event, though perhaps less so for a musician who seeks to upend musical traditions, most notably the distinctions between pop and classical, spoken and sung, live and Memorex. The lengthy set is a recording of a live performance composed of dozens of carefully defined experiments in form and technique, most of them fitting into one or two of these three categories: show pieces for items from her technological music arsenal (like her emblematic electric violin), witty narrative snippets (back when "spoken word" was called "performance art," prior to the rise of the poetry slam), and full-band performances, featuring, among others, Peter Gordon and David Van Tieghem. "O Superman" and "Big Science" are the familiar titles that appear amid the nearly 80 tracks. "Just a slow accumulation of details," her computer-enhanced voice intones moments before the intro to "Blue Lagoon" (later heard in a studio version on Mister Heartbreak). That makes a nice epigram for the collection as a whole, which is essential to understanding art music of the '80s in general and the New York scene in particular. --Marc Weidenbaum

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Witty and fun but spread too thin. April 7 1999
Format:Audio CD
I saw Laurie Anderson perform "United States" in London shortly after this recording was made, and it stayed with me as a very special event, so I was very excited when I got these CDs. After a while I was struck by how much is missing: the concert was a very visual experience, and on the CDs you sometimes are reminded of this when you hear the audience respond to something you can't see. Also I feel that most of what's best here is done better on "Big Science", so unless you're a Laurie Anderson-obsessive you're probably better off with that. Still... I'm glad I have "United States".
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4.0 out of 5 stars Overdue for digital remastering June 30 2004
By ChrisWN
Format:Audio CD
I remember seeing this performance series being advertised in The Village Voice & wanting desparately to go...but at 17, I didn't quite have the wherewithall to get the $ together to go & have always regretted this. But it was soon enough after that I had a summer job & the LPs were available. The sound was rather thin & scratches noticeable, so I bought the CD box soon after that. I always see this box set around (new & used), so I'm surprised that people say they haven't been able to find it. I always had half-wished that it had gone out of print, if only so that it finally gets the digital remastering (from the original tapes) that it deserves. The one thing that has bugged me about the set is that there is occassional popping/crackling noises that makes it sound as if the cd's were mastered from a pristine LP. The sound on the LP's was always very quiet & you had to turn up the volume, which made any surface noise extremely unpleasant. The CD's are louder, but the tape hiss is more obvious. Some cd's are already on their 3rd remastering.....so it seems that an upgrade is long overdue, SACD would be nice too.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Have worn out the cassettes; time to buy the CDs July 21 2002
Format:Audio CD
I don't need to go into the finer points of the performance, or of LA's career, in this review; that has been done already (see John Bickelhaupt's review in this section for a great take on the essence of US Live). I will say that if you want an intellectual, complex snapshot of the political, social, economic, psychological and popular culture forces driving Americans in the 1980s, you need to listen to this album. LA captures with (oftentimes frightening) clarity what living in America -- especially urban America -- entailed during that period. However, don't think that her lens is trained only on the '80s; to sum up her approach using a lyric line from a later album (in my opinion her most accessible album, Strange Angels): "History is an angel being blown backward into the future." So much stands out here, so much that is dissected and yet left opaque so that, rather than pontificating, LA simply draws pictures of the landscape and steps back, allowing for multiple interpretations. Key favorites in the work for me include "Violin Solo" (haunting); "Yankee See" (in which LA takes the ironic turn and parodies her own performance -- it also says much about American consumer culture and, specifically, the state of modern art); "Dance of Electricity"; "Private Property" (remember Wm. Buckley??); and, of course, "O Superman." How can you not shudder and snicker simultaneously at the lines:
"And when love is gone/there's always justice/and when justice is gone/there's always force/and when force is gone/there's always Mom/hi Mom!"
Be warned: This is difficult music. This album forces you to look over the precipice into the abyss. That's what's so great about it.
Read more ›
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4.0 out of 5 stars Professor Anderson's American History 101 April 13 2000
Format:Audio CD
One of the many qualities that separates Laurie Anderson from the sub-par pop world of the Backstreet Boys and Korn is her unerring intelligence, and it is on full display in the ambitious four CD box set entitled "United States Live". Taken from a series of shows at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Anderson attempts nothing less than a cultural, historical and psychiatric dissection of America. Though this was probably much more interesting to watch (as it included the use of multimedia which is obviously incompatible with audio formating), the songs nevertheless work on a cerebral level, the likes of which have seldom, if ever, been duplicated. Utilizing her electronic violin, Harmonizer and toy saxophone (among other instruments), Anderson has concocted a tour de force of sound and expression. Admittedly, each of the 78 tracks available here are exceedingly intellectual and demand the listener's full attention; consequently, one cannot listen to this box set in one, five, or even ten sittings as though it were a simple collection of pop songs. The themes, multiple meanings and interior layers of each track unfold gradually with repeated listenings. It is also of note that a few of the songs included here can also be found on Anderson's first studio album, 1982's "Big Science". Personal Favorites: the history of Tesla's relationship with Einstein that accompanies the song "Dance of Electricity"; the philosophical musings on the nature of human motion found in "Walking and Falling"; the pseudo-Native American vocal rhythm of "Hey Ah". Representative Lyrics: "I can see the future and it's a place- about 70 miles East of here." ("Let X=X")
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy it, relive it or live it for the first time...
I had the good fortune of attending this two day performance in Brooklyn. It felt then like we were participating in something special. Read more
Published on Oct. 27 2003 by gioia
5.0 out of 5 stars Nights I Swim in the Blue Lagoon
Yeah, it's worth [money] for her 13:00 minute version of "Blue Lagoon" from MISTER HEARTBREAK. Professor Anderson says it all very well, below. Read more
Published on Sept. 19 2002 by L. S. Slaughter
5.0 out of 5 stars Absurdity filter
In the 80's, I would listen to this over and over while I vacuumed the balcony's at a Florida beach condo where I was (barely) gainfully employed at the time. Read more
Published on June 10 2002 by John Bickelhaupt
5.0 out of 5 stars dont forget
A few people have written that much is lost from not seeing the visual of United States....(though they also say it's still a fantastic CD) There exists a book, though kind of hard... Read more
Published on March 11 2001 by Doug Pearson
5.0 out of 5 stars shocked and thrilled
When I heard this album was out on LP i drove 100 miles (total) to get it. After wearing out two copies, and a couple of tapes I had given up hope that it would ever come out on... Read more
Published on Feb. 24 2001 by Doug Pearson
4.0 out of 5 stars The artspeak makes me giggle, but this work is great.
All these reviewers are so into disection and artspeak. If, as Laurie suggests, Language is a virus from outerspace, then you folks are all on your death beds! Read more
Published on Oct. 25 2000
5.0 out of 5 stars Laurie's Magnum Opus
Much has been written about this massive work, many hours long, encapsulating many of Laurie Anderson's observations for, of, about, counter, pro, etc etc regarding the United... Read more
Published on April 10 2000 by DAC Crowell
4.0 out of 5 stars Professor Anderson's American History 101
One of the many qualities that separates Laurie Anderson from the sub-par pop world of the Backstreet Boys and Korn is her unerring intelligence, and it is on full display in the... Read more
Published on Jan. 30 2000 by "southwesternreview"
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Laurie Anderson experience out there, true 5 stars!
First listened to this one in 1985 or 1986. Best sound from L I've ever heard. She is something else, where in the world does she come up with the ideas. Great stuff!! Read more
Published on Sept. 5 1999
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