I'm often skeptical about live albums; they are a difficult thing to pull off sometimes. They need to be well-recorded, they need to capture the energy of a band's live performance and, most importantly, they need to be by a band that has an interesting enough live show to be worth documenting on a live album. Reel Big Fish's Our Live Album Is Better Than Your Live Album fits all these criteria, and is in fact the best live albums I've heard since the Supersuckers' Must've Been Live from 2002.
I've had the good fortune to see Reel Big Fish live a few times, and I am a huge fan of their stage show. In addition to a full horn section that is so tight you could bounce a quarter off them (I wouldn't advise it - that would probably get you thrown out of the venue), they are absolutley hilarious on stage. Their banter, containing "more shtick than you can shake a stick at", is a large part of their live show, and it's well documented here.
Not Just A Live Album... A Greatest Hits Album As Well
Our Live Album Is Better Than Your Live Album is a big package, with two CDs and a concert DVD (a killer deal at the price). The CDs are compiled from multiple concerts throughout the country, seamlessly assembled so it sounds like you're hearing the best show of the tour, that one night where everything went exactly perfectly. The DVD is icing on the cake, with 20 songs shot at The Alley in the band's hometown of Orange County, CA.
On the albums, you'll get almost all of Reel Big Fish's best fan favorites like "Trendy", "Beer", "Nothin'" and of course "Sell Out". (I also wanted "Watch Us Go Down In Flames", but when a band's career spans more than a decade and has such great songs, you can't even get them all on two discs.) You also get a nice collection of cover songs, a staple of Reel Big Fish's live shows. These include The Cure's "Boys Don't Cry", Tracy Chapman's "Talkin' Bout A Revolution" A-Ha's "Take On Me" and Lita Ford's "Kiss Me Deadly".
The best track on the album, most indicative of the energy and fun of RBF's live show, is "S.R. (the many versions of)" in which the band, after playing "Suburban Rhythm", tears through a medley of playing the song in several different styles, including punk rock, death metal, rap, disco, country and screamo. It's hilarious, fun and fresh.
If you have the chance to see Reel Big Fish live, by all means do so. If not, pick up this album and play it loud. You'll at least get to feel the fun energy of their shows. If you have seen them live, you know what I'm talking about, and you really need to own this set. It's worth it as reminder of how fun they are as a band, and is a really well-recorded, well-selected set of RBF's greatest hits.