Q (3/02, p.127) - 3 stars out of 5 - "...A perfectly respectable effort..."
Personnel includes: Sade (vocals); Leroy Osbourne (vocals, guitar, flute); Tony Momrelle (vocals); Stuart Mattewman (guitar, saxophone); Ryan Waters (guitar); Andrew Hale (keyboards); Paul S. Denman (bass); Pete Lewinson (drums); Karl Vanden Bossche (percussion).
Recorded live at Arrowhead Pond, Anaheim, California and Great Western Forum, Inglewood, California in September 2001.
Having spent most of the mid-'90s taking a break from the music industry to start a family and recharge her creative batteries, Sade returned in 2000 with the stellar LOVERS ROCK. Bridging the gap between the Quiet Storm sophistication of her earlier work and the edgier, groove-driven efforts of her younger brethren, the Nigerian chanteuse took her sensual sound out on the road for the Lovers Live 2001 Tour. The in-concert document LOVERS LIVE (which also has an accompanying DVD) has a clear, organic sound that brings to life every musical pit stop made throughout this career-spanning set.
Recent fare like the atmospheric "Slave Song" (with its dubby excerpt from The Abyssinians reggae classic "African Race") and the hip-hop flavored "Flow" mix effortlessly with the jazzy cool of "Smooth Operator" and infectious, funked-up vibe of "The Sweetest Taboo." Best of all are the lullaby-like "The Sweetest Gift," written for Sade's little girl and featuring accompaniment by a sole acoustic guitar, and the straightforward sweetness of "By Your Side" dedicated to her fans who "kept the flame burning."