If the purpose of a live album is to make you wish you were at the show, Lucero’s Live In Atlanta certainly succeeds. It’s the Memphis band’s first live record, and a 32-track opus of one, at that. It’s like their own The Last Waltz, without the whole farewell concert shadow, because Lucero seems like a tireless act.
Calling Lucero a “Southern rock” band is limiting. But the seven-piece group does play a version of rock and roll with Tennessee accents audible in their vocals and attitudes apparent in their frequent requests for whiskey shots. Live In Atlanta presents these songs how they should be heard—with keys, horns and all of that Southern glory—over the course of three sold-out nights at Atlanta’s Terminal West in 2013.
This collection of songs spans Lucero’s entire career, from 2000’s The Attic Tapes to 2013’s Texas & Tennessee EP, condensed to a four-LP set containing more than two hours of music. Every fan’s favorite is included on Live In Atlanta and the crowd’s response and exuberant singing can be heard especially well on “The War.” But it’s the interpersonal reaction capture on Live In Atlanta—that give-and-take between performer and audience member—that this live record really grasps. Singer Ben Nichols acknowledges a pre-show request before launching into “Summer Song,” which precedes a particularly emotional rendition. And elsewhere, Nichols admonishes the crowd for throwing beer cans at the end of “Tonight Ain’t Gonna Be Good.” It’s all part of the live experience.
Live In Atlanta is not for newbies. It’s too overwhelming for anyone not already established as a lifelong Lucero fan. But for those who have experienced Lucero live before, Live In Atlanta is a necessary addition to the catalog.