“Rock Spectacle” (1996)

"Rock Spectacle" album artwork

“Rock Spectacle” is the fourth album by Barenaked Ladies and their first live release. This was the album that finally broke the American market for BNL, with the live version of “Brian Wilson” and a release of “The Old Apartment” from “Born on a Pirate Ship.” The record was recorded at two concerts at the Riviera Theatre in Chicago and at The Olympia in Montreal during the “Born on a Pirate Ship” tour.

Kevin Hearn playing on the guitar


A live version of “Shoe Box” was on promotional and advance copies of this record but was left off at the last second. This particular recording of “Shoe Box” appears on the “One Week” CD single. At the very end of the “If I Had $1,000,000” track, there are two bonus tracks. One has a banter about an elderly woman Ed ran into in Chicago. Part of this story is referenced in the “$1000000” song, which must have originally occurred after this banter at the Chicago concert. The second is an improvised song/rap about Ed’s Uncle Elwyn. There is some question as to whether this “Uncle Elwyn” is a real person.

Track Listing for “Rock Spectacle”

  1. Brian Wilson (Page)
  2. Straw Hat and Old Dirty Hank (Page, Robertson)
  3. Break Your Heart (Page)
  4. Jane (Duffy, Page)
  5. When I Fall (Page, Robertson)
  6. Hello City (Page, Robertson)
  7. What a Good Boy (Page, Robertson)
  8. The Old Apartment (Page, Robertson)
  9. Life, in a Nutshell (Page, Robertson)
  10. These Apples (Robertson)
  11. Grade 9/If I Had $1,000,000 (Page, Robertson)
    • Contains a hidden track with some anecdotes and a song “Uncle Elwyn”

What do you think of bands who produce live recorded music such as “Rock Spectacle?” Are the CDs worth it?


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