[Boxed Set Review] Max Webster | The Party

Just over five years ago my blogging pals recommended I snipe Max Webster’s The Party on Canadian amazon when it dropped to $40. Although I knew very little about the band at the time, $40 divided by 8 CDs meant $5 each. So I let my credit card sing. It is a good thing too because the set’s limited run has resellers asking over $200 for it now. Yeesh. I wouldn’t recommend paying that much, but if you have money to burn or a rich uncle who owes you a favour, you deserve to know what you are getting.


You get all of the band’s 5 studio albums. I’d say all but one are worth owning…

Max Webster– 4.5/5
High Class In Borrowed Shoes
– 5/5
Mutiny Up My Sleeve
– 4/5
A Million Vacations
– 4/5
Universal Juveniles
– 1.5/5

…and the serviceable live album,

Live Magnetic Air– 3/5.

The 7th disc is the odd inclusion of Kim Mitchell’s self-titled solo debut EP. I say odd because Kim is not like Tom Petty or Alice Cooper who have blurred the lines between their solo and band work. What is on this EP doesn’t sound like Max Webster. Imagine Sting including one of his solo albums in a boxed set for The Police or David Lee Roth putting Crazy From The Heat in a Van Halen one. Ok… but why?

The 8th disc is The Bootleg, a collection of previously unreleased studio and live tracks. It is the gravy of the set and it is a little lumpy. Here’s the breakdown…

Let Go The Line – A+
Recorded live during their reunion show from 2007. Listening to it will have you wanting to hear the entire show.

Oh War– A-
Live, Oshawa, 1979. Anything performed live from High Class In Borrowed Shoes is a good time in my book.

Deep Dive – B
Studio, 1982. Fine song but recorded during the Kim Mitchell EP sessions. Again, to sounds nothing like Max Webster and I have no idea why it is here.

Battle Scar – B
Studio, 1979. Is it weird how I enjoy this version better than the RUSH-ish cover on Universal Juveniles? It feels more natural to me. Well, that’s my lukewarm take.

Walden 5 – A++
Studio, 1979. Now, this is what I wish the entire album could be! Missing prog rock that just needed to be uncovered. I can see why it didn’t make Universal Juveniles as it is too good for that piece of crack.

In The World of Giants – C
Studio, 1979. My only problem with this song is how Kim’s noodling got in the way. Well, they found another version with more noodles. Hazzah.

Better – C-
Studio, 1979. There are some bones of a song here, but meh. Yeah, it is a work in progress, but when you put it on the album, fair game.

Madcap Scene & The Dread-Lock… blah blah blah – D-
Live, Oshawa, 1979. 9 minutes of Webster warbling through some of their weaker songs. I can imagine how being there would be a lot of fun. Just listening to it some 45 years later is kind of a drag. The hidden radio spot at the end is a nice touch, however.

The Bootleg is a nifty ‘Odds & Sods’ c-side collection, but I’m disappointed to see the two exclusive tracks, Hot Spots and Overnight Sensation from the out-of-print Diamonds Diamonds ‘best of’ collection not included. Also, instead of adding the live tracks from ’79 here, they could have expanded upon Live Magnetic Air to make it better than serviceable. Finally, one song from 2007 reunion show is a little cheap. The whole show would have been more fitting. But, this ain’t bad so… The Bootleg is getting a 2.5/5 from me.


As for the packaging, the CDs come in those cardboard sleeves that do give off a cool ‘tiny vinyl’ vibe, but they are not as durable as true jewel cases. The vinyl set comes with a book (written by a complete vomit) and some other items that are not included in the CD set. But, I do like how its compact packaging fits on the shelf within the collection.

The one final bonus with the collection is the remastering of the albums. They sound perfectly fine, but the audio remains flat (on CD at least) when I compare them to the OG vinyl. I’ll admit to being a minor nuance but it is one I can hear.

Overall, I did find The Party to be a great way to get an instant 96% complete Webster collection that will leave most satisfied. For me, there is room for improvement as that 4% left me wanting a little more. So, I kept an eye out for their albums on OG vinyl at thrift stores and record shows over the past five years, and came out on the other side with a complete set. It took some patience, but I paid five dollars or less for most of them. Unless Amazon starts selling this for $40 again, go this route if there is room for vinyl in your collection. You’ll save money, own the essential content, and have the optimal listening experience.



Get your maximum amount of Webster right here:

Max Webster
High Class In Borrowed Shoes
Mutiny Up My Sleeve
A Million Vacations

Live Magnetic Air
Universal Juveniles
Diamonds Diamonds
The Party
(Box Set)


28 thoughts on “[Boxed Set Review] Max Webster | The Party

  1. I would say Kevin absolutely nailed it with this series! By and large I have agreed with just about the whole thing.

    I didn’t know Deep Dive was recorded for the EP, but because the EP was lumped in with this set, perhaps that’s why it was included. I have felt Kim should do a similar set covering his earlier solo years, with a bonus disc of rarities, and wish on I shall.

    I still remember being at Sausagefest and Meat telling me he had the inside scoop. A talented guy he knew was doing some engineering on these remasters and spilled the beans about a year and a half in advance of release.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Mike! I’m trying my best to be fair while expressing my opinion. It’s not always easy, lol

      I don’t feel that Kim’s EP belongs in this set though as his solo career is too far removed from what Max Webster is, IMHO. But, a Kim Mitchell boxed set is overdue.

      That’s cool that you got a scoop! How did Meat know? Is he president of the Max Webster fan club?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah. Not what I wanted to hear. Sounds like he will need a singer.

        I half jokingly offered my services and he told me I’d have to pay for my own studio time! Lol

        Liked by 1 person

  2. That EP is as far as I’m concerned the best EP ever put out! But I know what your saying as it doesn’t kind of fit. Good series, and to comeback and start writing and do deep dive on a box set is impressive.
    Great stuff Sir

    Liked by 1 person

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