There are two ways to go about making a live record. A band can record a whole concert and release it, warts and all; you get all the miscues and poorly executed songs. It's a true picture of a live concert, for better or worse. You're sure to get some great moments, but there will, at times, be some painful moments that just fall flat. moe.s Warts and All series goes this route, and there are some brilliant moments, but others, well…
The other option is to piece together bits of individual shows, creating one frankenstein-esque album. It's going to be a perfect show, even if it's not a totally accurate account of what goes on nightly. This can succeed and often does, so long as it's done right. Widespread Panic has put together a few live discs, and you'll be listening and then there's a few seconds of silence between songs, which is just unforgivable with today's technology. Listeners should never be able to tell they're not listening to one show.
Lotus chose the latter for Escaping Sargasso Sea, stitching it together seamlessly, and executed it to perfection. They've taken the key moments from their 2006 Strength of Weak Ties tour and created a monster release that any fan must have.
Over two discs, Lotus accurately represents their live show. Kicking off with the plinking keys and eerie synth work from guitarist/keyboardist Luke Miller on "H Binds to O," this is a great portrayal of a band hitting stride. "Wax" is great – you can't help but nod your head as it drives along, peaking midway through, with a Beck tease thrown in at around the three-minute mark for good measure.
From the wave-like "Through the Mirror" to Luke Miller and Mike Rempel's near-Southern rock dual guitar on "Mikesnack," all that's missing here from the Lotus concert experience is the light show. There's over two hours of music, and it shows a versatile band that at times seems equal parts rock, funk, and video game theme song (Hey, they have covered the Legend of Zelda theme before!)
"Sunrain > Flower Sermon > Sunrain," captures Lotus at their best: locked into a great bass and percussion-driven groove.
While a CD isn't the same as being there, this is as close as you can get.