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Laurie Anderson

Crossover Prog

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Laurie Anderson United States Live album cover
3.11 | 8 ratings | 1 reviews | 43% 5 stars

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Live, released in 1984

Songs / Tracks Listing

CD 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
6. Pictures of It - (for acoustic tape bow)
7. The Language of the Future
8. Cartoon Song
9. Small Voice - (for speaker-in-mouth)
10. Three Walking Songs - (for tape bow violin)
11. The Healing Horn
12. New Jersey Turnpike
13. So Happy Birthday
14. English
15. Dance of Electricity
16. Three Songs for Paper, Film and Video

CD 2:
1. Sax Solo, Pt. 1 (Continued) - (for tape bow violin)
2. Sax Duet, Pt. 1 (Continued)
3. Born, Never Asked (Part One Continued)
4. From the Air
5. Beginning the French
6. O Superman (For Massenet)
7. Talkshow
8. Frames for the Pictures
9. Democratic Way
10. Looking for You
11. Walking and Falling
12. Private Property
13. Neon Duet - (for violin and neon bow)
14. Let X = X
15. The Mailman's Nightmare
16. Difficult Listening Hour
17. Language Is a Virus
18. Reverb
19. If You Can't Talk About It, Point to It
20. Violin Walk
21. City Song
22. Finnish Farmers

CD 3:
1. Red Map
2. Hey Ah
3. Bagpipe Solo
4. Steven Weed
5. Time and a Half
6. Voices on Tape
7. Example #22
8. Strike
9. False Documents
10. New York Social Life
11. A Curious Phenomenon
12. Yankee See
13. I Dreamed I Had to Take a Test...
14. Running Dogs
15. Four, Three, Two, One
16. The Big Top
17. It Was up in the Mountains
18. Odd Objects - (for light-in-mouth)
19. Dr. Miller
20. Big Science
21. Big Science Reprise

CD 4:
1. Cello Solo
2. It Tango
3. Blue Lagoon
4. Hothead (La Langue d'Amour)
5. Stiff Neck
6. Telephone Song
7. Sweaters
8. We've Got Four Big Clocks (And They're All Ticking)
9. Song for Two Jims
10. Over the River
11. Mach 20
12. Rising Sun
13. The Visitors
14. The Stranger
15. Classified
16. Going Somewhere?
17. Fireworks
18. Dog Show
19. Lighting Out for the Territories

Total Time 263:53

Line-up / Musicians

- Laurie Anderson /vocals, electric violin, Jew's harp, toy saxophone Synclavier, vocorder
- Peter Gordon / vocals, synthesizer
- Shelley Karson, Geraldine Pontius, Joe Kos / vocals
- Rufus Harley / bagpipes
- Chuck Fisher / clarinet, saxophone
- Bill Obrecht / saxophone
- Ann DeMarinis / Synclavier, synthesize
- David Van Tieghem / drums, percussion

Releases information

Recorded at The Brooklyn Academy Of Music, Brooklyn, New York, February 7-10, 1983

5LP+Box Warner Bros. Records 9 25192-1 (1984, US)

4CD+Box Warner Bros. Records 9 25192-2 (1991, US)

Thanks to Slartibartfast for the addition
and to NotAProghead for the last updates
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LAURIE ANDERSON United States Live ratings distribution

(8 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(43%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(14%)
Good, but non-essential (14%)
Collectors/fans only (29%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

LAURIE ANDERSON United States Live reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by HolyMoly
3 stars 4 1/2 hours of Surreal Music Theater

Laurie Anderson is probably best known for her hit album Big Science and the experimental yet strangely alluring single "O Superman". What most people may not know is that these songs were originally conceived as part of an extended concept piece called United States, over four hours in duration. This 4 CD box set is a complete live performance of that piece. For those familiar with Big Science, it is quite interesting to hear the pieces in the context they were originally intended.

Of course, listening to a 4.5 hour long stage concept piece can be a daunting task without at least the aid of visuals, but on the whole this is very listenable. There are surreal spoken word pieces, atmospheric instrumentals (often featuring Anderson's violin playing), and rhythmic synthesizer-based vocal pieces (also usually spoken). I haven't bothered to untangle the meaning behind it all, but with a name like United States, it appears to be a humorous yet slightly sad examination of the state of the nation. It's not overtly political - she seems to focus more on the chasms that exist between people. In an age where we are closer than ever before -- thanks to innovations in communication and travel technology -- we still seem spiritually farther apart. Nowhere is this more poignantly stated than in "O Superman", on the surface a novelty number, but when you listen closely it's almost unbearably sad. That kind of melancholy hangs over the whole piece, even as Laurie Anderson keeps the audience entertained with a significant dose of both verbal and musical humor. They say that comedy often hides huge pain underneath, and that seems true here.

Way too long to listen to in one sitting, and without the visuals (which I'd like to see someday), it suffers a bit, but overall a huge and daring accomplishment by Laurie Anderson.

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