Thursday, July 21, 2016

Dave Matthews Band - Live Trax Volume 16

T.P. Creech (aka "hubby")

I'm back again with another Live Trax review.  This one is a favorite of mine.

DMB Live Trax Volume 16

1) #41
2) Warehouse
3) One Sweet World
4) Say Goodbye
5) Jimi Thing
6) Sweet Up and Down
7) Typical Situation »
8) Little Thing
9) Grey Street
10) Bartender
11) Crush
12) Drive In Drive Out
13) The Song That Jane Likes
14) JTR
15) Too Much
16) #40
17) Digging a Ditch
18) Two Step

The last three Live Trax in the series (13-15) were all from the summer of 2008.  For this album, the series returns to the summer of 2000 to give us the third release from that tour as well.  This particular album was picked by the fan site  I don't know how they got the right to pick the release nor do I have any idea if they had restrictions on what they could or couldn't pick.

I'm really not one much for the DMB Internet Community (despite a series of blog posts to the contrary).  I'm not one to message on boards, although I do occasionally lurk on them.  I actually prefer the most as I feel more of the discussion is on the music and the releases there than anywhere else.

I digress.

This particular show is unique from the summer 2000 tour as it's the one of the early shows.  Butch Taylor had not yet come on board (he would be there the next night) and the Lovely Ladies, who had been guesting since 1998 sporadically, did not show up for this show either (again, they would be there the next night).  In that sense, it's the last show of the summer 2000 tour to feature the original five members (although Dan Myers did guest on three songs).  In 2001, the very early shows followed the same mold and the last original five show was played.

The release has a much different feel to it than its companion summer 2000 releases, volumes 3 and 11.  The Lillywhite Sessions songs are much earlier in their development and have a really raw feeling to them.  The most recent album, Before These Crowded Streets, also isn't showcased with only Crush making an appearance.  It's very much a fan favorite set list with a few Lillywhite tunes thrown in.

The show actually begins with a small tease of Little Thing as an introduction to #41.  Warehouse has got to be the best second song in the catalog too.  Both performances are fantastic here.  One Sweet World, complete with instrumental introduction, is great as well.  Say Goodbye is always a treat and it doesn't disappoint here.

Jimi Thing features the middle section similar to the 1998 and 1999 versions and it's not a great groove.  It feels too "stop and go" for me - it never really gets going.  However, Leroi is fantastic on it and it finishes fine.  Sweet Up and Down was a new song for the summer and basically disappeared after it was over.  It's popped up occasionally since then but never like these early versions.  The lyrics are complete gibberish but it's a great version.

Typical Situation is fantastic early in the set and transitions into a substantial Little Thing performed solo by Dave.  It's not quite the whole song, but it's close enough.  It's a nice break in the middle of the set.

Grey Street is up next and this particular version is of note as it's the only time (that I know of) during which the song had a story revolving around a male.  However, it's obvious Dave is still figuring out where the song is ultimately going as he transitions later to "she" in the choruses.  The lyrics are horrible - cringe worthy at some points - but the early groove of the song is present, as is a third verse.  It's also the only released version of the song with the original 5 members so it's unique in that sense.

Bartender is really in its infancy here as a full band piece and Dan Myers guests on the outro.  It's not as strong here as it would become later in the summer but it's still a force to be reckoned with here.  Crush is absolutely fantastic with a flute solo as was common in the early days of the song.  Dan Myers also guests here (and JTR later in the set).

I'll skip Drive In Drive Out to offer that The Song That Jane Likes is wonderful here.  This is followed up with an early version of JTR which is very solid.  The show ends with Too Much.  If you have access to the IEM of this show (of which I do not condone - just saying), you can hear Dave indicating how he wants to "Too Much" the audience and get out of here.  It's a funny moment.

The encore is the weak part of this show.  Although #40 is nice, it's a definite tease here and transitions into an early version of Digging a Ditch.  Two Step ends the night.  It's a long version (clocking in at over 15 minutes) but the ending gets boring and drags on way too much.  By the end of the summer, the outros were much more controlled and urgent.  Even still, it's 100 times better here than say, Central Park's Two Step.

The show overall starts really well, is very solid in the middle, but drops off towards the end.  The bass is really out of control on this particular mix (it rattles the windows in my car, and I drive a car with a standard crummy sound system - nothing should really rattle my windows at low volumes).  But, it does sound like you're in the audience listening to it which is nice.  The next few sound this way and it's a distinct change in how the Live Trax albums sound.  It really sort of started on Live Trax 11, got much more pronounced in 14 and 15 before going full blown here in 16.  For the most part, they haven't sounded the same since.  I don't mind the sound.  I wish the bass wasn't so heavy here, but it's certainly not a significant issue.

Once again, this one is a purchase.  It's 4/5 stars and is my second favorite release of this tour.  Even though I give it a slightly lower rating that Live Trax 3, I get into moods where I really want to listen to the original 5 members playing together.  This is a great example of this and about as late of a show that exists where I can do that.  Plus, the sound of the Lillywhite Sessions songs at this point is nice.  Because of all of that, occasionally I'll rank this one higher than Live Trax 3 as a go to for this tour.  Make no mistake, Live Trax 3 is the better album.  But if I'm in the mood, I'd prefer to have this.

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
Live Trax 16: 4/5, purchase (52)

Overall: 3.3/5, 11 purchase, 5 skip
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