Even though his 1984 album SCHWEISSPERLEN had more hit singles than the 1985 follow-up HEISSE SPUREN (which had only one, "Faust auf Faust"), Klaus Lage was at the height of his popularity in 1985 and 1986. The constant touring meant, of course, that for the first time since 1982, Lage didn't have an album's worth of new songs, so to tide the audience over until his next album and to capitalize on his success, he released his first live album, MIT MEINEN AUGEN: LAGE LIVE. Not surprisingly, the album's track list featured most of Lage's hits: "Faust auf Faust," "Monopoli," the earlier hits "Mit meinen Augen" and "Komm, halt mich fest," plus, of course, his signature tune, "1000 und 1 Nacht (Zoom!)" (the LP version has nine songs, the CD version adds another four songs so that the track list also contains some of the less obvious songs -- curiously, "Wieder zuhaus" isn't on the set list). The sound quality is good, and Lage's band performs the songs professionally and is faithful to the original versions -- Rolf Klein even re-creates his guitar solo on "1000 und 1 Nacht" -- which means that while the playing is energetic, it's also largely bereft of surprises. Of course, the album gives an accurate impression of Lage's popularity when his fans manage to sing the chorus of "1000 und 1 Nacht" several times while the band just stops playing. So what's new? Göran Walger adds an inspired keyboard solo to "Komm, halt mich fest." "Taxi," from HEISSE SPUREN, is almost twice as long and morphs into a blues show tune. And "Mercedes Benz," a German-language version of the Janis Joplin tune which first appeared on Lage's debut album, is sung a cappella and has an added verse. None of this is enough to make this album essential to the casual Lage fan -- even though it could almost pass as a greatest-hits package -- but even for Lage followers, this album will merely be a pleasant addition to their collection.

This review was written for the All-Music Guide on May 8, 2008.

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Christian Genzel

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