Prior to the recording of this album, at a private performance in May 2005, Seventh Key — the five-year magical musical partnership between Kansas bassist Billy Greer and his old Streets bandmate, Mike Slamer — had never played a live gig. And that is a damn shame, because Live in Atlanta proves loud and clear that Seventh Key sounds heavier, tighter and more dramatic on the stage than in the studio, especially on songs like "An Ocean Away," "Winds of War" and "The Sun Will Rise." Of course, bassist and Steve Walsh-soundalike Greer surrounded himself with some of the best melodic hard-rock musicians in the biz for this show, including Slamer on guitar, keyboards and bass; former Strangeways singer Terry Brock on guitar and background vocals; and drummer Pat McDonald and keyboardist David Manion.
With a familiar sound that recalls Kansas, Foreigner, Streets and Steelhouse Lane (another Slamer Band), Seventh Key culled some of the best songs from 2001's self-titled debut and 2004's The Raging Fire for this one-off performance, as well as a Streets classic ("Cold Hearted Woman"). Kansas violinist and Greer's brother, Johnny, joined the band on stage for a beautiful acoustic version of "Forsaken," and the silly stinker "Sin City" even sounds better here than it did on The Raging Fire. Unfortunately, most of Greer's between-song dialogue has been edited out of Live in Atlanta, and the audience is mixed so low that sometimes it can't even be heard.
In addition to 12 live cuts, this disc includes three bonus studio tracks. One of them, "Remember You Well," appeared as a bonus track with Kerry Livgren on the U.S. version of The Raging Fire, while the other two are straightforward rockers styled more after "Sin City" than "The Sun Will Rise" or "Winds of War."
It's worth noting that this performance marked the first time Slamer, an incredibly underrated songwriter and musician who spent much of the Eighties and Nineties penning songs for the likes of House of Lords and Hardline, played live with one of his own projects in almost 22 years. The whole thing was captured on film for a DVD that also includes three Seventh Key music videos.
1) The Sun Will Rise
2) An Ocean Away
3) It Should Have Been You
4) Sin City
5) Always From the Heart
7) You Cross the Line
8) The Kid Could Play
9) Only the Brave
10) When Love Is Dying
11) Winds of War
12) Cold Hearted Woman
13) The Storm Rages On (Bonus Studio Track)
14) Remember You Well (Bonus Studio Track)
15) Love Train (Bonus Studio Track)