Lovers Live rocks

Nope. This live album is strictly a souvenir.

Some bands, such as the Grateful Dead, Phish and Dave Matthews, have developed reputations for delivering live performances that differ vastly from recordings.

For other musicians, the only thing that separates their live albums from their studio recordings is audience noise.

Sade’s performances on Lovers Live don’t really sound much different from its recordings. (We’re talking Sade the band, here — not just Sade the singer.)

In fact, the one spot where the live performance greatly expanded on the original — at the very end of “Smooth Operator” — gets the fade-out treatment.

Does this mean Lovers Live isn’t worth spending money on? Of course not.

As an ensemble, Sade is a tight group of musicians so in tune with its aesthetic, the energy and sensuality inherent in the band’s songs become even stronger.

If anything, Lovers Live puts more humanity, more warmth into music that’s already humane and warm to begin with.

In the eight years since Sade Adu last recorded an album, her voice has become more resonant. And hearing the group’s newer songs alongside its older material demonstrates how far the group has evolved musically.

“Jezebel” may be a gorgeous classic, but “Slave Song”, with its dub rhythm, is much more adventurous.

Fans who couldn’t see Sade on this latest tour will appreciate the track listing — a generous helping of classics, mixed with some album tracks and choice selections of new material.

Lovers Live probably makes for a better cross-section of Sade’s repertoire than 1994’s The Best of Sade.

For anyone who did catch the tour, Lovers Live does a terrific job of transporting a listener back to that night. Lovers Live the Tour was an incredible production, a brilliant mix of stagecraft and awesome performances.

In that sense, this album is a souvenir — a mighty fine one to experience again and again.