Thursday, June 09, 2016

Dave Matthews Band - Live Trax Volume 15

DMB Live Trax Volume 15

1) Dancing Nancies
2) Seek Up
3) Proudest Monkey »
4) Satellite
5) So Damn Lucky
6) Bartender
7) Corn Bread
8) Spoon
9) Eh Hee »
10) Water Into Wine
11) Burning Down The House
12) Louisiana Bayou
13) Anyone Seen the Bridge » Too Much [fake]  » Halloween  »  Water Into Wine [reprise]
14) Out of My Hands
15) Crush
16) Money
17) You Might Die Trying
18) Ants Marching
19) Don't Drink the Water »
20) Two Step

This is one of the most debated Live Trax in the series.  Either you really love it or you just don't see what all the fanfare is about it.  There aren't many inbetween.

When it was originally announced, the artwork made mention of both this night and the following night as well.  Everyone thought it was going to be a huge six disc set.  Of course, it was going to be released along side the new album (Big Whiskey & The GrooGrux King).  That would be two full concerts and a new album all on the same day!  To top it off, these two shows in particular were cited as fans amongst the best of the tour (if not the very best).

Well, although a few songs have been released from night 2, the initial indications about this particular release showcasing both nights did not come to pass.  However, this particular release does feature a few unique selections from this tour not present on any of the previous 2008 releases.

At this point in the tour, Jeff Coffin has really started to come into his own while filling in for Leroi during his injury.  Tragically, within two weeks Leroi would pass away and Jeff would be taking the role full time.

Dancing Nancies and Seek Up are both very strong here.  It's actually the same start as Live Trax 3. The similarites between that album and this one end there, however.

Proudest Monkey, with a fresh guitar solo, is considered by practically everyone to be the definitive version of the song.  I don't really have a favorite version myself, but this one is very good.  Satellite follows, with an extended So Damn Lucky and Bartender up next.  Stunner, there's also a Corn Bread thrown in the mix.

Up next is Spoon, a real rarity.  It was played here for the first time in almost 5 years.  It's rough (it tends to be rough anyway since it's played so infrequently), but it's good for a hardcore fan.  Eh Hee is fairly standard and segues into Water Into Wine.

Burning Down The House is up next and, up to this point, was unreleased by the band.  I've commented before that they started to play this song so much that it sounds like one of their own.  It's definitely an OK cover - nothing more, nothing less.  Louisiana Bayou brings up the energy, but as a song it is still lacking to me.

For those keeping track, the show is starting to get a little middling for me here in the middle.

Out of nowhere, a stop-time (for lack of a better description) Anyone Seen The Bridge segues directly into Halloween.  It's not the best Halloween, but it was starting to be played (it had long been the Holy Grail to catch a concert) and to have it come out of nowhere in the middle of a set is fantastic.  It's still a little jarring to hear.  The only one I've heard that was more jarring was the Everday introduction which abruptly changed into Halloween in Cincinnati also on this tour (it made Warehouse 8, Volume 8 if you're interested).

It also segues into Water Into Wine, which is nicely placed afterwards.

Out of my Hands is a downer for me so I'll skip it.  The Crush, although a monster in length, is not exactly the same as it was earlier in the tour.  It was probably cool to see live but it's my least favorite version of the released 2008 ones.

Money, a Pink Floyd cover, didn't last long in the rotation of cover songs.  It's for the best.  It just doesn't fit.  You Might Die Trying and Ants close out the main set, and there is a fantastic Don't Drink The Water and Two Step encore.

It seems the story on this particular release is the number of rarities played (Spoon, Halloween, Water Into Wine, Out of my Hands) and the venue (Alpine is a HUGE venue for DMB).  To me, the show set itself is okay but is certainly not the best I've ever seen.  I think the release would've been much better had it included both nights.  But, for a hardcore fan like myself, it's nice to have some of the rareties and seques (that Halloween seque is fantastic on the recording).

The sound on this one is one of my least favorites.  I'm not sure what it is that bothers me so sounds boomy.  It's certainly still a mixed live album so it's not terrible, but it's not what I hold up as an example of how I like an album to sound.

I've giving this one a 3 out of 5 stars.  Again, it's decent, and it's got some great songs, but it just never really comes altogether for me.  Perhaps it's just me.  I'd still offer that it's worth a purchase though because of the rareties.

For the overall numbers, it's interesting to me that my average is right around 3 but I've only given 3 of the 15 releases a middle of the road rating.  Regression to the mean, maybe?  Or perhaps the initial criticism of the series as having some really high moments and some really low moments is holding truer than I initally thought.  I'm still at a solid 2:1 ratio of purchase/skip.  I'm definitely a fan.

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
Live Trax 15: 3/5, purchase

Overall: 3.2/5, 10 purchase, 5 skip
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