Celebrating thirty years in the biz, the Danes with the ultra feminine name, grace us with a live disc / DVD which could just as well be a ‘Best Of’, writhe with hits from their best albums. As such, holding in my hands a live record that essentially chronicles their career, let’s get the obvious issue with the Maids out-of-the-way. They never quite figured out who they were. Are they melodic rock, like Journey? Are they hair metal? Heavy metal? This was always the problem with Pretty Maids; wrong place, wrong time, wrong scene.
With that said, in spite of a lack of direction, most probably caused by label and management mishandling, the vocal talents of Ronnie Atkins and the melodic Rock riffs of Ken Hammer, have always lent themselves well to a series of great songs. And live, both vocal and guitar performances stand out not only as clean unenhanced recordings, but the very essence of the Pretty Maids’ sound.
Classic tunes like Back To Back, Queen of Dreams, and Red Hot and Heavy, in a live setting, impart the framework for Mr. Hammer to display his prowess (even if it’s little more than Eddie Van Halen cloning); his is a mastery similar to Norway’s Ronni Le Tekro (T.N.T.), he has his own tone, own style, own sound. Couple that with Atkins vocals, which can go deep and growly to prog rock falsetto seamlessly, and It Comes Alive resonates a band at its best, doing its best. Superb performance! The chops are there even if the catalog is a bit disjointed over thirty years of trying to find a place to fit in. To be fair, the last ten years or so, the Maids have sort of settled squarely in the prog/melodic style, making it a good fit given the musicianship and quality song writing.