Cold Chisel, the definitive Australian pub-rock band are best enjoyed in the context of a live setting. While their studio albums are enjoyable, they lack the spitfire energy of Chisel’s live releases. There’s a chemistry between Ian Moss (guitar/vocals), Don Walker (piano/keyboard), Jimmy Barnes (vocals), Steven Prestwich (drums & percussion), Phil Small (bass), and guest musicians Andy Bickers (saxaphone), David Blight (harmonica) that is at its fullest when the band is performing live.
In 2003 Cold Chisel embarked on a reunion tour. Ringside, captures the enthusiasm and energy of that tour to full effect, making this one of the best live albums released by ANY rock band from ANY country… ever.
The performances on this album from the piss and vinegar misogyny of Goodbye Astrid to the somber melancholy of When the War Is Over are all powderkegs of energy and emotion.
With 32 songs on 2 CDs clocking in at over two and a quarter hours, this release captures an excellent sample of the best music this band has given to Australia over the entire tenure of their careers. From their self-titled debut in 1978 to their 1998 reunion album, The Last Wave of Summer this live release covers an excellent mix of up-tempo (Home and Brokenhearted, Khe Sanh, Hound Dog, The Things I Love In You), mid-tempo (Cheap Wine, Rosaline, Saturday Night, Shipping Steel, Forever Now), and slower material (Flame Trees, Lovelight, Four Walls, Water Into Wine).
The vocals are shared between the gravelly growl of Jimmy Barnes, the Warren Zevon-eque rasp of drummer Steven Prestwich, and the smooth tenor of guitarist Ian Moss giving the concert as a whole a very vocally balanced feel. Perhaps the greatest illustrations of the vocal diversity of Chisel are the 2 versions of All I Wanna Do that close out both CDs 1 and 2. Steve Prestwich’s vocals on the song at the end of disc 1 bear a stark contrast to Jimmy Barnes more gravelly delivery of the same song at the end of disc 2.
Don Walker’s keyboard and piano playing is also highlighted on this release—whether it’s the somber tones he adds to When the War Is Over or the roadhouse boogie feel he adds to songs like Goodbye Astrid and The Things I Love In You his talent continues to shine.
Whether you’re familiar with or new to Cold Chisel, Ringside is a must have.
Cold Chisel - Khe Sanh (Live 2003)
Cold Chisel - Bow River (Live 2003)
Cold Chisel - Goodbye Astrid (Live 2003)
Cold Chisel - HoundDog (Live 2003)
Cold Chisel - Flame Trees (Live 2003)
Cold Chisel - When the War Is Over (Live 2003)
Cold Chisel (Wikipedia entry)
Cold Chisel - The Best of Cold Chisel (1998) review
Various Artists - Standing On the Outside: The Songs of Cold Chisel (2007)review
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