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Welcome to the Club [UK Bonus Tracks] ()

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This double-live album, taken from a 1979 stint at the Roxy in Los Angeles, is an effective snapshot of a high point in Ian Hunter's always-interesting solo career. Hunter was riding high on the critical success of his recent album You're Never Alone with a Schizophrenic, and this recording finds him and his band pouring out that enthusiasm for a group of devoted fans. The result is a generous feast of straightforward rock & roll that is likely to please true believers. The band delivers a strong, full-blooded sound throughout as they plow through a song list that covers Hunter's solo career plus several Mott the Hoople classics and even a few covers. Most of the arrangements play it straight, but make up for their lack of surprises with a consistent level of commitment to creating powerful rock & roll: songs like "Once Bitten, Twice Shy" and "Just Another Night" take on a new level of energy in the sweaty club environment. The electric atmosphere is completed by the fans, who flesh out the background of the soundscape with their hoots and cheers. Even the ballads benefit from this highly charged live atmosphere; most notably, "Irene Wilde" takes on a new veneer of emotional power thanks to the interjected cheers of the crowd. In addition to this concert material, Welcome to the Club also throws in a few studio tunes. While none of these studio outings hits the heights of the live classics, a few of them are quite tuneful: "Silver Needles" is a solid ballad that effectively pits a mellow melody against Hunter's gritty vocals, and "We Gotta Get Out of Here" is a rocker that crossbreeds glam rock melodrama with new wave arrangement touches. Fans of this die-hard rocker will no doubt rejoice over the expanded CD version of this album, which throws some unreleased live tracks and B-sides into the mix. The highlight of these rarities is a rearranged version of "When the Daylight Comes," which transforms a tune that was originally a tight little mid-tempo rocker into a '50s style gospel-tinged epic complete with wailing, soulful backup vocals. All in all, Welcome to the Club, Rovi Hide synopsis

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