Picks and Pans Review: Top of the World Tour Live

updated 01/19/2004 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 01/19/2004 AT 01:00 AM EST

COUNTRY

Dixie Chicks

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The Dixie Chicks' Top of the World Tour may be best remembered for lead singer Natalie Maines's controversial Bush-bashing during a London concert last March. There are no feather-ruffling political remarks, however, on this two-CD set (although the Chicks do take a stand in favor of voting). The focus is on the music—22 songs recorded during their 79-show 2003 trek. Other than an occasional instrumental flourish and the contribution of string virtuoso David Grissom, though, the Chicks render these songs with scarcely any variations from the versions that appeared on the trio's studio discs. This strategy was fine for their tour; fans go to concerts to hear familiar material. But the album, while very cleanly and vividly recorded, feels stale, except for bits of random crowd noise and a halting singalong on "Wide Open Spaces." This is only for hardcore followers who can't hear "Goodbye Earl," "Long Time Gone" or "Travelin' Soldier" enough.

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