The wicked, double-time blues jam "Love and Greed" kicks off this first
"official" live recording from Blues Traveler, and if you've never
experienced the band live, it's a great place to start.
Actually, whether you're a full-fledged blues-head or someone who just
digs the current radio staples "Hook" and "Run-Around", this 2-CD,
three-hour collection is a panoramic snapshot of what the band does best -
play hard, play long, and play live. You'll especially enjoy Live from
the Fall if you're gonna venture out to catch the band at the
H.O.R.D.E. Tour stop at Southwestern College on July 26.
Singer/harmonica player John Popper, guitarist Chan Kinchla, bassist Bob
Sheehan, and drummer Brendan Hill have always been a most generous live
act, never giving a chintzy performance, preferring to leave their fans
breathless from exhaustion rather than waiting for more. A couple of
unreleased tracks are two highlights among many here: the slow groove of
"Regarding Steven" and the epic, rambling excursion of "Closing Down The
Park", narrated ever so eloquently by Popper.
As CD number 1 continues, the lilting delicacy of "100 Years" is followed
by the three-and-a-half-minute blitzkrieg of "Crash Burn" where Popper,
Kinchla, Sheehan and Hill all take "call and response" breaks on their
respective musical implements, Kinchla taking his spot a bit further in a
dazzling workout. He's on a roll now, and carries it over into "Gina".
Spectacular, as is Popper's harp workout on the same tune.
Displaying Blues Traveler's affinity for free-form jamming, "Alone" begins
CD number 2 in a loose but marvelous near-13 minute version that rises and
falls in its intensity, utilizing dynamic expression most any musician
could be envious of.
Popper's known mainly for his hellfire approach to the harp, and a vocal
style that borders on being hysterical. But a track like "Mountains Win
Again" shows a softer side to his emotive gift. Here he sings slowly,
clearly, and fervently, which is sure to be a welcome revelation to
Add a few more B.T. originals, and covers of War's "Low Rider" and John
Lennon's "Imagine", and you've got a fine live recording by any
The best thing about Blues Traveler's live show is that it's totally
unpretentious - kinda like a bunch of really talented kids playing for a
dozen friends in their drummer's mom's garage. And they know how to spread
out and enjoy their songs on stage. Expect the unexpected. If you want
note-for-note versions in a live setting, better wait for that Journey
reunion tour, 'cause you won't get that attitude here.