The Grateful Dead may be no more, but some of the summer's most
interesting festivals evoke the spirit that seemingly left with Jerry last
summer. The Furthur Festival included former members of the Grateful Dead
performing with their current projects, mingling with each other and
playing a few Dead tunes. Perry Farrell's new Enit Festival promises to be
a rock n' roll rave and then there is H.O.R.D.E. (Horizons Of Rock
Developing Everywhere), the five-year-old festival founded by Blues
Traveler frontman John Popper. Last year, the festival gave us Ziggy
Marley and Black Crowes to go along with Blues Traveler, while this year,
the Dead-like lineup included Lenny Kravitz, Rusted Root and the
mega-popular Dave Matthews Band to go along with Blues Traveler, who this
year decided that they were now big enough to headline the event. The
second stage saw the likes of Super 8, Medeski, Martin & Wood and the
wonderful Ricki Lee Jones. Rusted Root got the festivities going with
their world beats, and Lenny Kravitz almost bought the farm when the
microphone gave him a massive shock 15 seconds into his first song. Dave
Matthews' set was not "Too Much" and then there came the
Sticking mostly to the set from their new, double live CD, Live From
The Fall, Blues Traveler did not disappoint. Their live album was a
natural next step for these performers who consider themselves a live band
One of the aspects I find enjoyable about their live set as compared to
other live albums, is that the audience cheering is not so loud and
prevalent as to distract from the songs. And it seemed that way also at
the festival - the audience let the band play.
Live From The Fall seems not to be so much about the fact that
there was an audience there, as about how Blues Traveler breaks away from
the norm on stage, clearly visible at H.O.R.D.E. The stage is their home
and it energizes them, as they revel in the fun of the live
There are times live, when the songs go on and on and times when the
offering is predominantly instrumental, featuring the recognizable sound
of John Popper's harmonica.
On the 2-CD Live From The Fall, the 18-song, two and a half hours
of music include album staples such as "Run-Around,"
"Hook" and "But Anyway," while also giving the fan a
personal copy of marvelous covers of "Low Rider" and "Imagine",
current favorites on the H.O.R.D.E. circuit.
Probably the best thing that can be said about any band's live record is
that Live From The Fall made me want to run out and buy tickets
to see the band live and since the H.O.R.D.E. performance was basically
Live From The Fall, the thrill of it all can be enjoyed long
after the festival and the bands have packed up and moved on.