The premise of the super-group is a always an exciting thought, especially when the members come from some of the most innovative bands in rock music history. However, combined forces don’t always pay off, with some groups failing to deliver collaborative goodness. A Perfect Circle is one of the super-groups to emerge from said crowd that actually have some substance behind their well-known names and with a new album looking unlikely in the near future, the band have decided to keep their name relevant with a box-set release featuring live recordings of all three albums, plus their 2011 performance at Red Rocks.
Whether or not you’re A Perfect Circle fan, listening to the live renditions of Mer de Norms, Thirteenth Step and eMOTIVe does allow you to both appreciate the love the band has from its fans, as well as the quality of their live musical output. On excellent form not twice but thrice, Tool front man Maynard James Keenan is superb for each of the album recordings here, as are Billy Howerdel and co behind him, with their alternative rock noise sounding as relevant today as it did when first recorded. As for their show, their covers of ‘Imagine’, ‘Gimme, Gimme, Gimme’ and ‘What’s Goin’ On’ act as major highlights, as impressive new song ‘By and Down’ sees them recalling their more melodic days of recent times.
The question with this box set however still remains: is it a viable purchase? For fans, it’s a yes and for anyone who hasn’t seen the band perhaps it’s another yes but if you did’t enjoy A Perfect Circle before, there really isn’t much here that will sway your opinion or your credit card, regardless of the quality tunes at hand. An indulgence rather than a necessity, Perfect Circle Live: Featuring Stone and Echo features some fantastic music but it also sounds like the actions of a band that are trying to keep their fans, despite the fact that they haven’t offered anything (with the one song exception) new in nearly ten years. There’s a whiff of a distraction technique in the air with this box set and it’s a costly one too.
Original article can be seen on the Ghost Cult site here