Thursday, April 07, 2016

Dave Matthews - Live Trax Volume 14


DMB Live Trax Volume 14

1) Don't Drink The Water
2) Old Dirt Hill (Bring That Beat Back)
3) So Damn Lucky »
4) The Dreaming Tree
5) The Idea of You
6) Corn Bread
7) You Might Die Trying
8) The Space Between
9) Sledgehammer
10) Eh Hee
11) Louisiana Bayou
12) Out of My Hands »
13) Everyday »
14) Ants Marching
15) So Much to Say » Anyone Seen The Bridge? »
16) Too Much
17) Sister
18) Pantala Naga Pampa » Rapunzel
19) Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)

This Live Trax is a somber one.  One look at the album cover and you see Leroi Moore, founding saxophone player of the band who passed a couple of months after this show took place.  The band dedicated this release to him.

Obviously, any fan of the band wants to purchase this.  It's historic.  But I'm going to do my best to treat it as "just another show" for this review.  It's June 2008, which means there's a freshness here that was absent over the previous few years.  But, this show, admittedly, falls short of a lot of that month.  But, even with that said, there are a still a few highlights here worth discussing.

Don't Drink The Water is great as an opener and was finally starting to come into it's own here.  Old Dirt Hill is another tune which came out of the ashes of Stand Up to turn out to be pretty good.  The version here also has a little different outro at the end - the riff which developed into Why I Am.

So Damn Lucky is up next and, is one of the first (if not THE first) to have the extended outro.  Dave is very restrained singing over it and it's really good.  It precedes a fantastic Dreaming Tree.

The show starts slowing down and declining at this point.  I like The Idea of You, but this version has the alternate drumming on it and isn't very good.  The lyrics are pretty well set at least, but the drumming is distracting.  I'm glad that went away.  Corn Bread is next and...well, it's Corn Bread.  It can't be saved.  You Might Die Trying is a bright spot here, but it's a mediocore version.

Next up was a bit of a surprise, the return(-ish?) of The Space Between.  It was played basically by Dave solo.  I didn't mind the song or the full arrangements of it, but there are some folks out there that hated it.  (It's not in my top 50% of the catalog, but it's no Everybody Wake Up.)  Either way, it was played this way a few times for the next few years before it finally came back in full form.

Another surprise, a cover of Peter Gabriel's Sledgehammer, comes next.  This was the only Sledgehammer Leroi got to play on and, of the two that have been officially released to date, I like this one the best.

The show CRAWLS next, with Out of My Hands, Louisiana Bayou, and Everyday leading into Ants Marching.  I don't mean crawls as in it's slow (Louisiana Bayou is an upbeat tempo if nothing else), but that's not a very good run of songs.  Ants is good, but not as good as Live Trax 13.

The main set concludes with swing through So Much to Say >> Too Much.  I like the way Anyone Seen The Bridge developed some pauses for effect here and it plays well on the recording.  I think I'd like it if it popped up occasionally that way every so often (it seems that it has been abandoned recently).  Of course, even with that, the second half of the set really dragged.

The encore is okay.  Sister isn't a great choice, but this is one of the first versions to have Tim in the background filling in the song a little.  I prefer it that way, but that's like saying I prefer my chicken burnt to raw.  Neither is too good.  Rapunzel is nice and would've been a fine set closer, but it's 2008, and Thank You was required to close the show.  The band has fun with it, and it's not as bothersome to me here after Rapunzel than it is after Louisiana Bayou from Live Trax 13, but it's never going to be my favorite encore song.

The mix is sort of boomy on this one.  It definitely sounds like you're hearing it more and more from "in the crowd" on these releases than that of a "studio album recorded live."  I tend to like that in mixes but I know it's not for everyone.  This one is fine for me.

Overall, I have to give this show 2 stars.  I want to give it 3 stars but I'm counting about 5 or 6 tunes which really stand out, and the rest is pretty much "eh."  I want to like this album more than I do, but it hasn't hit me yet.  That's not to say that it couldn't ever happen, but so far this one hasn't connected to me.

But, I'm still marking this as a purchase.  It's Leroi's last show and no fan of the band should be without it.  I suspect it'll likely be my lowest rated purchase in the series.

Live Trax 1: 4/5, purchase
Live Trax 2: 2/5, skip
Live Trax 3: 5/5, purchase
Live Trax 4: 3/5, skip
Live Trax 5: 5/5, purchase
Live Trax 6: 2/5, skip
Live Trax 7: 5/5, purchase
Live Trax 8: 3/5, purchase
Live Trax 9: 0/5, skip
Live Trax 10: 1/5, skip
Live Trax 11: 4/5, purchase
Live Trax 12: 5/5, purchase
Live Trax 13: 4/5, purchase
Live Trax 14: 2/5, purchase

Overall: 3.2/5, 9 purchase, 5 skip
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