Alive in the Limelight

CCM Magazine
April 1986 Volume 8 Number 10
© 1986 CCM Publications, Inc.
Pages 30, 32

Limelight, Steve Taylor. Produced by Steve Taylor and Keith Bessey. SPARROW RECORDS.

Steve Taylor's newest vinyl adventure comes to us recorded live from the Greenbelt Festival, Castle Ashby, England in the tradition of U2's Under a Blood Red Sky. A short but economically-priced eight-song LP and a veritable "best of" collection, Limelight serves to initiate the novice to Taylor's zany world. It chronicles the energy, the ministry, and entertainment that characterize Taylor's live performances and minimizes the lull between studio albums.

The title of Taylor's first live work alludes to the rather dubious line "get me outta this limelight" from "This Disco (Used to Be a Cute Cathedral)" and expresses his tentative embrace of his newly acquired place near the top of the Christian music heap. Taylor's kinetic performance and charismatic delivery are, however, hardly tentative--and neight is the audience response.

At a near sizzling pace, Taylor leads a tight and capable Some Band through rapid-fire renditions of "This Disco," "I Want to Be a Clone," "On the Fritz," and "Meltdown." Dave Thrush shines on sax while Terl Bryan on drums, Glen Holmen on bass, Jeff Stone on guitar, and Steve Peters on keys flush out the sparse, angular arrangements with a kind of musical integrity that belies the fact that the original versions were cut by crack studio players.

Taylor broadens the political scope of "We Don't Need No Colour Code" to include racist churches in South Africa. Then he adds, in his characteristic wry wit, "I thought it would be nice if we did this song in kind of an African call-and-response format." The loud shouts of Taylor's invigorated audience are indicative of modern music's potential to transform and renew minds when it is allied to the powerful, prophetic gospel.

The rather urbane version of "Not Gonna Fall Away" (Taylor's duet with Sheila Walsh) that closes out the album lacks both the production wizardry and rhythmic complexity of the Trans-Atlantic Remixes version.

Limelight will be the listener's companion to a full-length film of the same concert, a marketing strategy not unlike U2's. The Sparrow/Steve Taylor collaboration--with his debut EP, the two dance remix releases, video productions, and now the step into live album and film promotions--has opened new vistas in marketing to the Christian music business community.

Live albums have a tendency to capture and recap an era in an artist's achievement. Limelight does all that and more. It again affirms Taylor's social/spiritual significance, his unique presence and dynamic personality, and the promise of ever greater achievements in creative expressions.

Here's to Steve Taylor and his reluctant life in the Limelight. It couldn't happen to a better automation.

Brian Quincy Newcomb