Whitney Houston was nothing short of a legend and her tragic death in February 2012 was shocking if not inevitable. The powerhouse vocalist was one of the best-selling and most-loved entertainers in the world but unfortunately she was plagued by demons she simply couldn’t overcome. Her last studio album was 2009’s I Look To You which showcased a much less vocally capable singer but one who had seemingly beaten her demons and begun to focus on her career once again. Over two and a half years since Whitney’s death, her first live collection is being released.
Whitney Houston Live: Her Greatest Performances features 16 live performances from Whitney’s hugely successful career. Opening with a performance of The Wiz song Home taken from The Merv Griffin Show in 1983 when she was only 20 years old, the album reminds you of what an incredible vocalist Whitney was when she was on form.
The live performances on this release are a collection of Whitney’s biggest hits and also some stunning live moments where she covered well-known songs and applied her powerful voice to them. The 10 minute medley of I Loves You Porgy/And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going/I Have Nothing is one of the finest moment on the record. The performance was recorded at the 21st Annual American Music Awards in 1994 and is a complete powerhouse performance.
Other highlights across the release include a 1991 Welcome Home Heroes performance of power-ballad All The Man That I Need, I Will Always Love You from The Concert for a New South Africa in 1994 and a 1998 performance of My Love Is Your Love from The David Letterman Show.
You can hear the start of Whitney’s deterioration with track 15 on the album, a live version of I Believe In You and Me recorded in 2004 at The World Music Awards. It marked the start of Whitney’s tendency to preach-speak her songs rather than actually sing them. This is even more evident on the poignant, and ill-fated, closing number I Didn’t Know My Own Strength which is taken from a 2009 performance on The Oprah Winfrey Show. Whilst she sounds far from terrible she’s a shadow of her former self and you can hear the cracks and grit in her voice.
The release is accompanied by a DVD featuring the videos of all the performances from the CD along with some extra performances.
Whitney Houston Live: Her Greatest Performances is a bittersweet collection. It reminds you of how incredible a singer Whitney was but it also serves to remind you that she could have done so much more if her life hadn’t been plagued by drugs and personal troubles. For the most part the album is a great reminder of the diva’s big talent and we sorely miss hearing her wonderful voice.