LSU - Live At Cornerstone Volume 1

L. S. U.
Live At Cornerstone volume 1
Millennium Eight

I was in grade school during the first part of the 1980s, and whenever my class put on a recital, my parents would always record the audio of our performances on a portable mono cassette recorder–probably with the word Radio Shack proudly emblazoned somewhere on there–with one of those budget quality recordable cassettes they had back then. On the drive back home, they would play it back on that portable cassette player, and the playback was…well, passable. They captured their progeny’s performance–usually indistinguishable with all the other kids singing whatever Top 40 song we were butchering at the time–and that was all that mattered. Not the quality of the recording. Which may or may not have contributed to me being the audiophile that I am.

And the point of that little trip down Live-Or-Memorex Lane having to do with this particular review is thus: The sound quality on the Live At Cornerstone Volume 1 release by Millennium Eight is maybe slightly better than those recordings my parents made back then. It may have to do with the quality of the cassette used in what I can only presume was a Talkboy or something similar that recorded these shows at the Cornerstone festivals in 1991 and 1993. Cassette recording tape quality had advanced pretty far then, as I was heavily into the whole tape mixing hobby at the time. I really do think that Millennium Eight just took a couple of bootleg tapes of LSU shows at Cornerstone and slapped them together on a CD to sell. And considering the quality of their re-releases in the past, I have doubts that anyone did any kind of mastering of the tracks.

Which is a pity, because those shows, for all intents and purposes, sounded like they were awesome to behold. I obviously didn’t discover LSU, Mike Knott or any of his other projects until much later in the 1990s, which meant I missed out on LSU’s heyday. These shows cobbled together unique performances of songs culling from their catalogue leading up to The Grape Prophet. Live At Cornerstone Volume 1 could have been a great presentation of a moment caught in time, a beautifully unique and raw performance of a band that will never be experienced in that situation again…but due to the sound quality being tolerable at best, it falls flat right out of the gate. Yet another example of M8’s track record of great ideas with little follow-through. Pass.