Live and on Fire (On Stage and in the Studio + DVD)
A two-disc package that goes a long way towards proving that old pop icons never fade away, they just start enjoying themselves more. With the newly recorded material, the Hold the Fire CD, and a best-of DVD recorded live at the Bottom End a decade ago, Tommy James and the latest generation of Shondells (25 different musicians make their way triumphantly through both old favorites and new hopefuls. The hits, of course, are all here -- two tremendous versions of "Mony Mony," and two of "I Think We're Alone Now," "Hanky Panky," and "Crimson and Clover," all vital enough that even the revitalizations they received during the '80s and '90s sound slightly old-fashioned by comparison. There are, of course, a few moments where the excitement levels dip a little: Hold the Fire is not tremendous throughout; Best of Live is not a nonstop party (although the audience seemed to enjoy it throughout). But compared to a lot of the nonsense that is put out in the name of unadulterated pure pop fun, the power garage drive of James and his gang takes a hell of a lot of beating.